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.

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

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.

What 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.


Massachusetts Cannabis Product Guide

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.

Time Performer Stage
3:00pm Opening Welcome Parkman, Charles St.
3:05pm DJ Cakewalk Parkman
3:05pm DJ D Good Charles St.
3:50pm George Armstrong Parkman
3:55pm Kevin Young Parkman
4:00pm Loppside Parkman
4:05pm Dr. Uma Dhanabalan Charles St.
4:10pm DJ Slim Charles St.
4:30pm Martha Sorensen Parkman
4:45pm Unbalanced Parkman
4:45pm Kamani Jefferson Charles St.
4:50pm Kate Phillips Charles St.
4:55pm Greg Joslin Charles St.
5:25pm Beth Waterfall Charles St.
5:30pm Hope Marian Charles St.
5:30pm Shokazoba Parkman
5:35pm Judith Foster Charles St.
5:40pm Morah Charles St.
6:00pm Robbyblaze Parkman
6:05pm Michelle Herman Parkman
6:10pm Kebra Smith-Bolden Charles St.
6:10pm Perry Bailes Parkman
6:15pm Whale Tail Parkman
6:15pm Scott Churchill Charles St.
6:20pm Takiya Anthony-Price Charles St.
6:25pm Millyz Charles St.
6:45pm Ed DeSousa Parkman
6:50pm Adam Sutton Parkman
7:00pm Samson Racioppi Charles St.
7:00pm Doom Lover Parkman
7:05pm Mike Whiter Charles St.
7:10pm Real One / Busy Bee Charles St.

Saturday Schedule

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

Time Performer Stage
12:00pm Opening Parkman
12:00pm Opening (Bill Flynn) Charles St.
12:05pm Tutta Crumbs Parkman
12:05pm Justin James Bridges Charles St.
12:25pm Small Biz Startup Discussion Education Village
12:30pm Michael Maloney Parkman
12:30pm Joe Gilmore Charles St.
12:35pm Claire Walsh Parkman
12:35pm TaShonda Vincent-Lee Charles St.
12:40pm Dan Pomerantz Charles St.
12:45pm Contact Parkman
12:45pm Resonate Charles St.
1:00pm Nora’s Story: Pediatric Patient Rights Discussion Education Village
1:15pm Krystal Lopez Parkman
1:15pm Mike Hsu Charles St.
1:20pm Christian Palmero Parkman
1:20pm Andy Gaus Charles St.
1:25pm Sponsor Merch Giveaway Charles St.
1:25pm Panel: Cannabis in the Media Education Village
1:30pm Panel: Veterans and Cannabis Parkman
1:30pm Luke Bars Charles St.
2:00pm Viondy Claude Merisma Parkman
2:00pm Ed Forchion (NJ Weedman) Charles St.
2:00pm Rachel Foti: Tinctures & Herbal Medicine Education Village
2:05pm Carol-Anne Renee Sabol Parkman
2:05pm Kyle Carrao (elmo) Charles St.
2:10pm Hillary King Parkman
2:10pm Chief S. Samura Charles St.
2:15pm Myster DL Charles St.
2:15pm One Drop Parkman
2:25pm Panel: Jocks & Docs Education Village
2:45pm Brian Essenter Parkman
2:45pm Ebony Knight Charles St.
2:50pm Scott Brodsky Parkman
2:50pm Cara Crabb Burnham Charles St.
2:55pm Mathleen McKinnon Parkman
3:00pm Panel: Patients & Caregivers Education Village
3:00pm Panel: The Business of Cannabis Parkman
3:00pm The Quins Charles St.
3:25pm Panel: How to Grow Cannabis Education Village
3:30pm Grant Ellis Parkman
3:30pm Sean Black Charles St.
3:35pm Crosby Parkman
3:45pm Van Gordon Martin Charles St.
3:45pm Denroy Morgan Parkman
4:00pm Mila Jansen Education Village
4:15pm Big Mike Charles St.
4:20pm Matthew Gordon Parkman
4:25pm Haley Games Parkman
4:25pm Panel: On Extraction Education Village
4:25pm Mendo Dope Charles St.
4:30pm Hybrid Thoughts Parkman
4:55pm Zarailla Bacon Charles St.
5:00pm Bath & Body Essentials w/Krystal Lopez Education Village
5:00pm Danny Danko Charles St.
5:05pm Diane Fornbacher (Lady Bud) Charles St.
5:10pm Steve Bloom Charles St.
5:15pm Yesai Parkman
5:15pm The Rupert Selection Charles St.
5:25pm Panel: Families & Cannabis Education Village
5:45pm Terry Hopper Parkman
5:45pm Theresa Nightingale Charles St.
5:50pm Chris Mueller Parkman
5:50pm Nichole West Charles St.
5:55pm Sponsor Merch Giveaway Charles St.
6:00pm Kate Phillips: Consumer to Connoisseur Education Village
6:00pm Rival Roots Parkman
6:00pm Crooked Coast Charles St.
6:25pm Panel: All About Edibles Education Village
6:45pm Joe Passy Parkman
6:45pm Michael Latulippe Charles St.
6:50pm Eric Bevivino Parkman
6:50pm Laura Boehner Charles St.
6:55pm Ellen Brown Charles St.
6:55pm Kyle “Tuna” Gairhan Parkman
7:00pm The Elovators Charles St.
7:00pm HeartAFiya Parkman
7:00pm Panel: Cannabis Science Education Village

Sunday Schedule

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

Time Performer Stage
12:00pm Opening Parkman
12:05pm DJ D Good Charles St.
12:05pm Fresh Perspective Parkman
12:35pm Marie Robinson Parkman
12:40pm Sonia Erika Charles St.
12:40pm Kris Burnes Parkman
12:45pm Wordsmith Charles St.
12:45pm Panel: Master Growers Parkman
1:00pm Panel: Veterans & Cannabis Education Village
1:15pm Melissa Bouchard Charles St.
1:15pm Will Luzier Parkman
1:20pm Glenn Lewis Parkman
1:30pm Space Cade7s Charles St.
1:30pm Demo: Reiki Healing Education Village
1:30pm Christina Holmes Parkman
2:00pm Eric Schwartz Charles St.
2:00pm Chris “Dubba” Cote Parkman
2:00pm Panel: Mental Health for Beginners Education Village
2:05pm Michael Maloney Charles St.
2:10pm David Sorgman Parkman
2:10pm Jordan Carlson Charles St.
2:15pm Panel: All About Extraction Parkman
2:15pm Phokus Charles St.
2:30pm How to Set up a Co-Op Education Village
2:45pm Erik Hunter Parkman
2:45pm John (JD) Dvorak Charles St.
2:50pm Sylvia Zelaya Parkman
2:50pm Shaleen Title Charles St.
2:55pm Captain Kirk Parkman
2:55pm Stanley Atkins II Charles St.
3:00pm Party Band Parkman
3:00pm Panel: Social Media for the Cannabis Community Education Village
3:00pm BuddhaFly Charles St.
3:30pm Miyabe Shields Parkman
3:30pm Panel: Cancer Patients & Caregivers Education Village
3:30pm Uncle Stoner (Squash Results) Charles St.
3:35pm Robin Striar Parkman
3:35pm Mila Jansen Charles St.
3:45pm Leon Trout Parkman
3:45pm Higher Education Charles St.
4:00pm Panel: How to Grow Cannabis Education Village
4:15pm Kyle Ricci Parkman
4:20pm Mike Clinton Charles St.
4:20pm Hannah Jane Parkman
4:25pm Addison Demoura Charles St.
4:30pm Danny Danko Education Village
4:30pm MDMA Parkman
4:30pm Over the Bridge Charles St.
5:00pm Panel: Social Justice & Activism Education Village
5:00pm Yong Soo Kim Parkman
5:00pm Brett Cogill Charles St.
5:05pm Wendy Love Edge Charles St.
5:15pm Woke/AJ Reynolds Parkman
5:15pm Joe Sambo Charles St.
5:30pm Demo: Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine Education Village
5:45pm Bobby Nuggz Charles St.
5:50pm MassCann Thank You / Closing Ceremony Charles St.
6:00pm Fortunate Youth Charles St.
6:00pm Panel: Cannabis Is Medicine Education Village
6:30pm John Dvorak on Cannabis Curriculum Education Village
7:00pm Panel: Opiates Education Village
7:30pm Samson Racioppi on Prohibition Then & Now Education Village