Third annual Alaska Hempfest seeks to educate about cannabis

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WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) - The third annual Alaska Hempfest held over the weekend seeks to educate the public about cannabis and its namesake, hemp.

Niki Rapaana, the director of the festival, said they wanted people to see and sample all sorts of cannabis products they may not be familiar with.

The festival also attracted Arthur Keyes, the Alaska Division of Agriculture director, who spoke about the progress in establishing an industrial hemp industry, particularly with interest in gaining permits to start growing.

"They figured they'd get 25 applications, and they had over 200 applications already, so there's a lot more interest in growing hemp than they realized," said Rapaana.

The Alaska Hempfest is an offshoot of the popular Seattle Hempfest, which attracts tens of thousands of people every year and is held near the Seattle waterfront.

"For the past four or five years, we've been working with other communities in other states emulating the concept and the system," said Cyril Bouanna, a board member with Seattle Hempfest.

The Alaska Hempfest is held every year in Wasilla on private property.

Rapaana says their current site is unavailable next year and she is currently negotiating for another space.

The keynote speaker of the festival was four-time Iditarod and Yukon Quest champion Lance Mackey.

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