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Boston Freedom Rally: 2018 Schedule & Insider’s Guide

Published on September 13, 2018 · Last updated July 28, 2020

As a freshman at BU years ago, I remember my surprise as I strolled through my first Boston Freedom Rally (aka Hempfest) on Boston Common. I’d assumed Massachusetts was still the puritanical state known for burning at the stake those who enjoyed revelry. How wrong I was.

Hosted by MassCann, the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, the annual festival is a chance for Northeasterners to celebrate, motivate, and express a little outrage together. Hempfest is a great event whether you’re looking for music and entertainment, education, industry networking, or just want to browse the offerings from more than 200 onsite vendors.

Here’s the full schedule with some Leafly-curated highlights.New Deals Weekly at Mayflower Medicinals

Know Before You Go

When: Friday, Sept. 14, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 15, 12 noon to 8 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 16, 12 noon to 6 p.m.

Where: Hempfest takes place on Boston Common. Follow signage and look for volunteers in vests. Closest MBTA stop is Park Street (Red Line), Boylston (Green Line), or Downtown Crossing (Orange Line). Ridesharing is always a decent bet, but avoid rush hour if you want to arrive at a certain time.

Cost: Free

Age limit: None

The Elovaters take the Charles St. stage Sat, 7 p.m.

Weather forecast: Post-hurricane Boston weather, ranging between 60 and 80 degrees. Pack an umbrella or rain jacket. It’s New England.

Ticket required: None

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Can I bring my own food & bev? Sure, but Massachusetts has open container laws. Don’t drink in public! Otherwise bring food, sunscreen, water, hat, comfortable shoes, all the usual. Pro tip: Bring a blanket. You’re going to want to stretch out.

What about afterparties? They do exist and are plentiful. Check on Facebook and Instagram. Follow @masscannorg on Insta, @MassCann on Twitter, and @bostonfreedomrally on Facebook.

Can I buy cannabis at Hempfest? No. And Massachusetts’ adult-use retail stores are still not open. If you’re a registered Massachusetts medical marijuana patient, there are a number of great dispensaries nearby, though, and some are running specials this week. No out-of-state cards, though, sorry.We've Got the Northeast CoveredWhat medical dispensaries are near the event? Patriot Care is a great downtown bet, as is Mayflower Medicinals in Allston. If you build in a little extra time to get to NETA in Brookline, you’ll find a truly great selection. Sira Naturals in Cambridge or Somerville, and Healthy Pharms Cambridge also offer excellent products in Metro Boston. Note: Event organizers do not condone on-site consumption, so take care of business before arriving at the park.

Pro tip: Go online. It’s a busy weekend, cannabis-wise. Browse the menu online, order through Leafly Pickup, and breeze through the dispensary. Pickup is now available at Patriot Care Boston, Mayflower Medicinals in Allston, and Healthy Pharms in Cambridge.

Any strain recommendations?

Click for more about the strain. (Elysse Feigneblatt/Leafly)

Of course. Last month our cannabis expert Dante Jordan suggested stocking up on Orange Cookies for Seattle’s Hempfest. “It’s going to provide a heavy-hitting high that also gives you a little boost of ‘I need to get outside’ energy,” he said. “It leaves you stoned for hours, so you can leave the house without worrying about when you’re going to smoke again. This is great for Hempfest since you have to get stoned before getting there, and you aren’t quite sure how long it’ll be until you leave.”

What if the crowd’s a little much for me? Last month our strain editor Bailey Rahn recommended something high in CBD. “Hempfest can be a very overstimulating environment, especially for people who have never been or don’t smoke tons and tons of weed,” she said. Calm your head with high-CBD classics like ACDC or Harlequin, or look into a new high-CBD strain, CBD Lilly.
Roll one up, pass it ’round: Fortunate Youth caps the party, 6pm Sunday.

Getting There

Where do I park the car? If you’ve ever been in Boston, you know better than to drive downtown. DUIs and OUIs are equally discouraged and punished in Massachusetts. The method of intoxication is unimportant, and intoxicated driving is a garbage thing to do. Parking at the Boston Common will run you $28 for 3-10 hours. Street parking is short term and guaranteed to be unavailable. If you’re driving in:

  • Park at Alewife or Braintree on the Red Line and take the train in.
  • Bikeshare or rideshare.
  • Walk on a balmy fall day with the fall foliage unfurling on the Common.

Once You’re There

Cool to light up? Technically, no. It is legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis in Massachusetts. It is not legal to consume in public, and Boston Common is as public as it gets. No legal sales are allowed at Hempfest, and the Boston PD is not as groovy and understanding as the cops who hand out Doritos at Seattle’s Hempfest.

I’m suddenly hungry. Go figure. Is there food nearby? You bet. May I humbly recommend the apple pie served in a giant baking dish at the South Street Diner? If you’re feeling more refined, the North End, just a 15-minute walk from the Common, offers some of the best Italian fare on this coast. Grab slices at Ernesto’s, or try sitting down at Antico Forno. For the most popular dim sum in Boston, head to Gourmet Dumpling House in Chinatown. You’ll have better luck at odd hours: This place has a line snaking out the door for a reason.

Friday Schedule

Chief Rocker Busy Bee gets the party started with “Smoke On,” feat. Real One, Friday at 7:10 p.m.

3:00pmOpening WelcomeParkman, Charles St.
3:05pmDJ CakewalkParkman
3:05pmDJ D GoodCharles St.
3:50pmGeorge ArmstrongParkman
3:55pmKevin YoungParkman
4:05pmDr. Uma DhanabalanCharles St.
4:10pmDJ SlimCharles St.
4:30pmMartha SorensenParkman
4:45pm Kamani JeffersonCharles St.
4:50pmKate PhillipsCharles St.
4:55pmGreg JoslinCharles St.
5:25pmBeth WaterfallCharles St.
5:30pmHope MarianCharles St.
5:35pmJudith FosterCharles St.
5:40pmMorahCharles St.
6:05pmMichelle HermanParkman
6:10pmKebra Smith-BoldenCharles St.
6:10pmPerry BailesParkman
6:15pmWhale TailParkman
6:15pmScott ChurchillCharles St.
6:20pmTakiya Anthony-PriceCharles St.
6:25pmMillyzCharles St.
6:45pmEd DeSousaParkman
6:50pmAdam SuttonParkman
7:00pmSamson RacioppiCharles St.
7:00pmDoom LoverParkman
7:05pmMike WhiterCharles St.
7:10pmReal One / Busy BeeCharles St.

Saturday Schedule

NJ Weedman, aka Ed Forchion, the boldest cannabis activist in the Garden State, speaks Saturday at 2 p.m.

12:00pmOpening (Bill Flynn)Charles St.
12:05pmTutta Crumbs Parkman
12:05pmJustin James BridgesCharles St.
12:25pmSmall Biz Startup DiscussionEducation Village
12:30pmMichael MaloneyParkman
12:30pmJoe GilmoreCharles St.
12:35pmClaire WalshParkman
12:35pmTaShonda Vincent-LeeCharles St.
12:40pmDan PomerantzCharles St.
12:45pmResonateCharles St.
1:00pmNora's Story: Pediatric Patient Rights DiscussionEducation Village
1:15pmKrystal LopezParkman
1:15pmMike HsuCharles St.
1:20pmChristian PalmeroParkman
1:20pmAndy GausCharles St.
1:25pmSponsor Merch GiveawayCharles St.
1:25pmPanel: Cannabis in the MediaEducation Village
1:30pmPanel: Veterans and CannabisParkman
1:30pmLuke BarsCharles St.
2:00pmViondy Claude MerismaParkman
2:00pmEd Forchion (NJ Weedman)Charles St.
2:00pmRachel Foti: Tinctures & Herbal MedicineEducation Village
2:05pmCarol-Anne Renee SabolParkman
2:05pmKyle Carrao (elmo)Charles St.
2:10pmHillary KingParkman
2:10pmChief S. SamuraCharles St.
2:15pmMyster DLCharles St.
2:15pmOne DropParkman
2:25pmPanel: Jocks & DocsEducation Village
2:45pmBrian EssenterParkman
2:45pmEbony KnightCharles St.
2:50pmScott BrodskyParkman
2:50pmCara Crabb BurnhamCharles St.
2:55pmMathleen McKinnonParkman
3:00pmPanel: Patients & CaregiversEducation Village
3:00pmPanel: The Business of CannabisParkman
3:00pmThe QuinsCharles St.
3:25pmPanel: How to Grow CannabisEducation Village
3:30pmGrant EllisParkman
3:30pmSean BlackCharles St.
3:45pmVan Gordon MartinCharles St.
3:45pmDenroy MorganParkman
4:00pmMila JansenEducation Village
4:15pmBig MikeCharles St.
4:20pmMatthew GordonParkman
4:25pmHaley GamesParkman
4:25pmPanel: On ExtractionEducation Village
4:25pmMendo DopeCharles St.
4:30pmHybrid ThoughtsParkman
4:55pmZarailla BaconCharles St.
5:00pmBath & Body Essentials w/Krystal LopezEducation Village
5:00pmDanny DankoCharles St.
5:05pmDiane Fornbacher (Lady Bud)Charles St.
5:10pmSteve BloomCharles St.
5:15pmThe Rupert SelectionCharles St.
5:25pmPanel: Families & CannabisEducation Village
5:45pmTerry HopperParkman
5:45pmTheresa NightingaleCharles St.
5:50pmChris MuellerParkman
5:50pmNichole WestCharles St.
5:55pmSponsor Merch GiveawayCharles St.
6:00pmKate Phillips: Consumer to ConnoisseurEducation Village
6:00pmRival RootsParkman
6:00pmCrooked CoastCharles St.
6:25pmPanel: All About EdiblesEducation Village
6:45pmJoe PassyParkman
6:45pmMichael LatulippeCharles St.
6:50pmEric BevivinoParkman
6:50pmLaura BoehnerCharles St.
6:55pmEllen BrownCharles St.
6:55pmKyle "Tuna" GairhanParkman
7:00pmThe ElovatorsCharles St.
7:00pmPanel: Cannabis ScienceEducation Village

Sunday Schedule

Sunday’s going to be a positive day with Christina Holmes performing at 1:30 p.m.

12:05pmDJ D GoodCharles St.
12:05pmFresh PerspectiveParkman
12:35pm Marie RobinsonParkman
12:40pmSonia ErikaCharles St.
12:40pmKris BurnesParkman
12:45pmWordsmithCharles St.
12:45pm Panel: Master GrowersParkman
1:00pmPanel: Veterans & CannabisEducation Village
1:15pmMelissa BouchardCharles St.
1:15pm Will LuzierParkman
1:20pm Glenn LewisParkman
1:30pmSpace Cade7sCharles St.
1:30pmDemo: Reiki HealingEducation Village
1:30pmChristina HolmesParkman
2:00pmEric Schwartz Charles St.
2:00pmChris "Dubba" CoteParkman
2:00pmPanel: Mental Health for BeginnersEducation Village
2:05pmMichael MaloneyCharles St.
2:10pmDavid SorgmanParkman
2:10pmJordan CarlsonCharles St.
2:15pmPanel: All About ExtractionParkman
2:15pmPhokusCharles St.
2:30pmHow to Set up a Co-OpEducation Village
2:45pmErik HunterParkman
2:45pmJohn (JD) DvorakCharles St.
2:50pmSylvia ZelayaParkman
2:50pmShaleen TitleCharles St.
2:55pmCaptain KirkParkman
2:55pmStanley Atkins IICharles St.
3:00pmParty BandParkman
3:00pmPanel: Social Media for the Cannabis CommunityEducation Village
3:00pmBuddhaFlyCharles St.
3:30pmMiyabe ShieldsParkman
3:30pmPanel: Cancer Patients & CaregiversEducation Village
3:30pmUncle Stoner (Squash Results)Charles St.
3:35pmRobin StriarParkman
3:35pmMila JansenCharles St.
3:45pm Leon TroutParkman
3:45pmHigher EducationCharles St.
4:00pmPanel: How to Grow CannabisEducation Village
4:15pmKyle RicciParkman
4:20pmMike ClintonCharles St.
4:20pmHannah JaneParkman
4:25pmAddison DemouraCharles St.
4:30pmDanny DankoEducation Village
4:30pmOver the BridgeCharles St.
5:00pmPanel: Social Justice & ActivismEducation Village
5:00pmYong Soo KimParkman
5:00pmBrett CogillCharles St.
5:05pmWendy Love EdgeCharles St.
5:15pmWoke/AJ ReynoldsParkman
5:15pmJoe SamboCharles St.
5:30pmDemo: Traditional Chinese Herbal MedicineEducation Village
5:45pmBobby NuggzCharles St.
5:50pmMassCann Thank You / Closing CeremonyCharles St.
6:00pmFortunate YouthCharles St.
6:00pmPanel: Cannabis Is MedicineEducation Village
6:30pmJohn Dvorak on Cannabis CurriculumEducation Village
7:00pmPanel: OpiatesEducation Village
7:30pmSamson Racioppi on Prohibition Then & NowEducation Village

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Chaya Rusk
Chaya Rusk
Chaya Rusk is a writer focusing on chronic illness, public health, and policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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