Letter to the Editor

Commercial speech

Dear Editor,

We are writing with our concerns about the request by the organizers of Hempfest (the oddly named “Freedom Rally”) for three days of what amounts to (unlawful) smoking and naked commercial activity on Boston Common, covered in a thin veneer of free speech.

Over the last several years, this event has already increased in duration from one day to two days.  For its duration, it is taking up the entire Common (because of the large crowds) and making it unusable by families or anyone with sensitivity to smoke or blasting music.  If this were truly a free speech event, one day would be sufficient.  But the fact is that the organizers of this event sell their permitted space on the Common to vendors and have sought the extra days to make more money for their organization, the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, Inc.  This is, at best, commercial speech, and therefore subject to far more limits than their nominal message that marijuana should be freely available (which it now is in Massachusetts).

Please to not allow this event to expand further than the two days it already has.  If you give it another day, this will push off local schools that use the Common on Fridays, families and dog owners that use the Common during the weekend, only to put more money in the pocket of a narrow special interest organization.

Beacon Hill Civic Association

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