The 2014 Farm Bill signed into law by former President Barack Obama redefined hemp as a crop distinct from marijuana, with a carefully-written provision that gave states the authority to legalize hemp themselves.

For the inaugural Alaska Hemp Festival that Niki Raapana organized in rural Alaska several years ago, she remembers public outcry was so intense that sponsors and planned venues repeatedly dropped the event after people complained.

That continued last year, she says, when four different venues abruptly cancelled on her.

Rumors spread that the Alaska Hemp Festival would not be happening, though in the end she finally secured a spot at a venue in Wasilla, the state’s sixth most populous city. 

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Amy Martyn ~