Isla Vista residents were encouraged to become “hemp-wise” this weekend as several reggae bands, botanists and clothing designers took their posts at the ninth annual Santa Barbara Hemp Festival in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park.
Over 1,000 students attended the event Saturday afternoon to peruse through hemp-based clothing, check out growing and smoking devices and listen to the bands on stage. Hempwise owner and event co-sponsor Al Espino said the hemp festival teaches I.V. residents about hemp and its variety of uses.
“The purpose of the festival is to educate people about the many uses of cannabis hemp,” Espino said. “The main focus is the industrial use of hemp, but also the less well-known uses that are also important.”
Hemp clothing vendors set up shop on the west end of the park, displaying hemp-composite and full-hemp clothing at several booths. Jungmaven Hempwear partial owner and clothing designer Ian Sobeck said he brought his clothing line to the Hemp Festival in an effort to broaden his business.
“We’re in a lot of hemp stores, but we’re trying to break into many different markets,” Sobeck said. “We’re definitely eco-conscious. We use hemp and cotton blends.”
Picking up a shirt from a neighboring display, first-year film & media studies major Tony Ung said he was impressed by the vendor’s use of natural materials.
“These shirts are cool,” Ung said. “I’m pretty stoked. This shirt is like 70 percent bamboo. It’s pretty gnarly.”
The event also featured items for those with a botanical interest. Hydroponic indoor growing devices – a cultivation system that utilizes mineral nutrient solutions instead of soil – were marketed. A few booths down, another station offered a portable vaporizer. Volatizer President and CEO Danny Greenstreet said that for the steep price of $499, the product really delivers.
“It was tested by both the [Food and Drug Administration] and the [Drug Enforcement Agency] at Harvard,” Greenstreet said. “They vaporized it and in all three tests, all that was missing from the original compound was the THC. It was the most pure extraction they’d ever seen.”
Greenstreet said he was so confident in his device that he has brought it with him into many conspicuous places without incident.
“I personally use this in restaurants and movie theaters,” Greenstreet said. “There’s no smoke, no odor. It’s a medical device and we supply directly to hospitals.”
Over in the amphitheatre, several people were dancing with hula hoops to the sound of the reggae headliners on stage. The line-up included Batch, Ras Attitude and the Zioners as well as other local reggae bands. Undeclared first-year Melissa Uriva said she enjoyed watching her fellow students let go of their inhibitions.
“It’s amazing that people from the crowd can just go and express themselves,” Uriva said. “It’s a great festival. I bought two bags; one is all hemp and I’m really into hemp, the texture looks so natural.”