The University of Rhode Island chapter of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, in partnership with WRIU 90.3 FM, will hold their 15th annual Hempfest music festival on April 26.

The festival will take place on the Quadrangle from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and is free to the public. Live music from eight national and local acts will be featured and between acts, speakers will educate the audience on cannabis legislation and hemp production, among other topics. 

“It’s always a fun time of year because we’re beginning to wind down and it’s right before finals, so people are looking to hang out on the quad and relax,” URI SSDP Chapter President Eric Casey said. “It’s great to have such quality music going on and such a lively event.”

The bands to be featured at this year’s Hempfest include The Tymes, Trails, Little Foot, Vudu Sister, Ravi Shavi, Spiritual Rez, Gym Shorts and Last Good Tooth.  Among this year’s speakers will be Jared Moffat, the creator of Regulate Rhode Island and John Dvorak from Cannabis Curriculum. 

In addition to live music and speakers, Hempfest will feature a variety of different vendors and activities for patrons to participate in, including a glass blowing exhibition. Hempfest T-shirts will also be available, the proceeds of which will help fund SSDP activities.

“I think a large majority of the student body supports what we are doing and [they can show their support] by coming out and being there and helping us by buying T-shirts and supporting our cause,” Casey said. 

In past years, Hempfest has attracted a sizeable following from fans of cannabis culture. It is not unlikely to see students and adults alike smoking marijuana out of various receptacles, from bongs to blunts to gas masks on the quad, an act which is illegal in Rhode Island. According to Casey, URI SSDP recognizes the activities Hempfest attracts but does not promote them. 

“Our official policy is that we neither condone or condemn [smoking marijuana on the quad]” Casey said. “We offer no legal protection for anybody and have no official agreement with the URI Police. In years past, they have been cooperative and sensible in their enforcement; we have no guarantee from them or any other law enforcement in the area. Generally, people are free to express themselves in any way they deem fit.”