CANNABIS CULTURE – Toronto played host to the Treating Yourself Medical Marijuana and Hemp Expo last weekend, and Cannabis Culture was there flashing cameras and sparking fat joints.
About 100 booths representing head shops, glass blowers, seed companies, compassion clubs, magazines, clothing companies, paraphernalia manufactures, filmmakers and activist groups set up shop inside the massive Metro Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. The expo was the first of its kind in Canada and featured a line-up of speakers about medical marijuana, live performances by musical acts and the presentation of several documentary films.
Though it wasn’t as busy as many vendors had hoped, thousands flocked from Toronto and beyond to get a taste of Canada’s cannabis culture and puff down in what organizers billed as the “World’s Largest Vapor Room” (a claim some expo-goers took exception to).
Activists from the ‘Free Marc’ Campaign were there representing imprisoned marijuana activist and former CC publisher Marc Emery, who was extradited to the US by the Conservative government for selling marijuana seeds on the Internet and using the money to fund legalization efforts.
Check Cannabis Culture soon for an in-depth first-hand account of the expo with more photos and video coming soon!
Click here to see official videos of the expo from Treating Yourself Magazine
The mainstream press even showed up! Scope the coverage:
Pot expo not just about toking
by Kevin Connor, Toronto Sun
The first whiff was getting out of the car in the parking lot.
Then it seemed to be on the breath of almost every attendee.
Marijuana filled the air at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre Friday as the Treating Yourself Medical Marijuana and Hemp Expo opened.
Although no pot was being sold on site, people with a licence for medical marijuana were being encouraged to bring their stash and try out a wide variety of vaporizers, which help inhale the smoke.
Admitted pot-head Stephen Hayes was excited to check out the expo.
“I’m really into this kind of stuff. It is interesting to see what is here and it is just a fun day,” Hayes said. “Smoking should be legal because it helps relax you.
“If alcohol is legal then why not weed?”
Organizers say the Expo is about informing the public of the benefits of medical cannabis.
“I created this show with one function in mind — education and knowledge,” said Marco Renda, publisher of the show, which is expected to attract up to 30,000 people this weekend.
“There have been other marijuana events in Canada and while they may have served a purpose for awareness, none of them have focused solely on the people with the most to gain medically from cannabis — the patients whose suffering is eased by the responsible use of the plant.
“I don’t think anyone denies that some people have a real need for the benefits of medical marijuana,” Renda said.
Show manager Jim Mahon pointed out pot has been proven to help people cope with many illnesses.
“Marijuana has been shown to help combat symptoms and side effects from cancer chemotherapy management, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS symptomatic management, migraine, multiple sclerosis, pain, severe arthritis, as well as spinal cord injury, just to name a few,” he said.
“But how many people are aware that different cannabis seeds and strains are most effective with certain symptoms and side effects?”
Dean Cavan, one of the vendors at the expo, runs the Medical Marijuana Resource Centre.
“We give resources to people in need of medical marijuana. We connect people with designated growers, assist people in filling out the Health Canada forms for medical marijuana and connect them with doctors,” Cavan said.
Besides the educational aspect, people attending the show can buy seeds, bongs and clothes.
“The Medical Marijuana and Hemp Expo features hundreds of vendors from all over the world who specialize in medical use and production of high-quality medical marijuana as well as those dedicated to the numerous applications of hemp,” Mahon said.
“There are also educational seminars and the Ha-Swesh Hemp Clothing Fashion Show, as well as a variety of entertainment, including the 2010 Global Marijuana Music Awards, Howard Dover comedy extravaganza, films, bands and more to make the experience educational and entertaining.”
The Expo continues Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 a.m. Cost at the door is $15.
– Article from The Toronto Sun on July 16, 2010.
Toronto marijuana expo to tout health benefits
by CBC News
Canada’s first International Medical Marijuana Expo in Toronto hopes to attract people suffering from health problems who are “sick and tired of taking pharmaceutical drugs that have adverse side-effects,” says the event’s organizer.
The event, which is being held in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre this weekend, is labelled as “the first expo promoting the respectable and responsible use of marijuana as medicine.”
The expo’s website says it will feature a number of vendors who are selling products “who specialize in the medicinal use and production of high-quality medical marijuana.”
Marco Renda, who is organizing the expo, said he expects well over 30,000 visitors, including many from the United States and Europe.
Marijuana will not be available at the expo, although registered medical users are welcome to bring cannabis to smoke in a marijuana vaporization room, he said.
Vaporization is a process in which hot air is pushed through a chamber containing marijuana. That air is then pushed into a separate chamber, and then inhaled.
“Vaporization is a way of using cannabis in a healthier mode because there’s no combustion,” said Renda, who is a registered grower of marijuana. He is also a registered user of the drug, which he uses to mitigate symptoms of hepatitis C.
“We’re not trying to promote: ‘Come down to the convention centre and get stoned.’ This isn’t what it’s all about. This is about educating yourself on the benefits of cannabis as medicine.”
More action from government urged
The medical use of marijuana is permitted in Canada, although there’s a lengthy process involved to obtain the drug from Health Canada.
People who want to use marijuana legitimately must submit a detailed application for authorization and include two photos. Their doctor must also fill out a medical form that spells out why the applicant’s medical condition satisfies the conditions for an authorization.
Depending on the nature and severity of the illness, the doctor will be asked to spell out that conventional therapies failed or were medically inappropriate.
Renda also hopes to boost awareness about medical marijuana.
“Less than two per cent of the licensed cannabis card holders in Canada actually buy the medicine from the government,” he said, adding that many users get the drug from so-called compassion clubs. He said government investment in the growth of medical marijuana is inadequate.
“There’s only one strain that Health Canada is providing,” said Renda, adding there are over 1,600 different strains of marijuana.
“There isn’t one pill in the pharmacies — so how can one strain of cannabis help with all these various ailments? It can’t. It needs to be treated as a proper herbal medicine.”
As of June 2009, there are just over 4,000 registered medical marijuana users in the country.
– Article from CBC News on July 16, 2010.
Toronto marijuana expo to tout health benefits
by Raveena Aulakh, Toronto Star
There were loud oohs, aahs and congratulatory hugs as people — some young, some old, a few in wheelchairs — went around dozens of kiosks at the first Medical Marijuana and Hemp Expo at the Metro Convention Centre on Friday.
There was literature, there were documentaries and there was even marijuana-themed art and clothing. But no marijuana.
“It wasn’t the only thing I came here for,” said a sheepish Megan Walker, a 22-year-old baker in Yorkville. “I just wanted to see what a pot expo would be like.”
“There’ll be lots of inquisitive people here this weekend,” said Marco Renda, publisher of Treating Yourself, an alternative medicine journal, and organizer of the expo. “That’s what we want and we’ll gladly answer all questions.”
The expo, touted as the first of its kind in Canada, is to educate and inform people about the medicinal use of marijuana. The expo also hopes to attract people suffering from health problems “who don’t want to take pharmaceutical drugs that have adverse side-effects,” Renta said. “They have all the opinions, all the information they need here.”
The expo includes vendors from all over the world, well-known speakers from Canada and the United States but its biggest attraction: a 4,600-square foot ‘‘Vapor Room’’ that patients can use to ease their pain.
Vaporization is a process where hot air is pushed through a chamber containing marijuana. That air is then pushed into a separate chamber and then inhaled.
It’s healthier because there’s no combustion.
“It’s good to talk to people who are in the same condition . . . few people understand that we need marijuana,” said Ben Fudge, who lives in Oshawa, Ont., as he took a deep puff from what looks likes a gigantic cellophane balloon in the ‘‘Vapor Room.’’
He broke his hip and femur as a child when a truck ran over him. The pain is still acute, he said, but “at least I don’t have to take painkillers that made me lazy. I’ve lost 45 pounds and I’m happier.”
There were about two dozen people in the “Vapor Room” — some were standing by vaporizers, inhaling marijuana, which they’d supplied themselves, while others sat quietly in a corner talking.
It was where most people wanted to be but couldn’t. Only those registered with Health Canada for marijuana use could enter. Three burly security guards were checking their registration. One guard stayed inside the room.
Milly Stevenson, a 19-year-old York University student, was heartbroken because she couldn’t get inside. “I wanted to see what the lounge was about because everything else is so neat.”
She was still glad she came to the expo. “I have a friend who uses it to ease pain from an accident and I thought it was an excuse. I’ve seen enough to understand it works.”
The medicinal use of marijuana is allowed in Canada but it has always been a bone of contention.
Users say it’s a long process to obtain marijuana from Health Canada — it usually takes weeks to get it in the mail.
Another way to legally obtain marijuana is to get a license and grow it yourself.
Meanwhile, Renda, who aims to make it an annual event, said it wasn’t easy to put the expo together. He worked on the concept for months and then worked even harder to secure the prestigious venue.
“I had to prove its legitimacy. Basically, I had to convince them this is not a stoner event. They checked other events I organized and were finally convinced,” he said. “I’m glad . . . because this is just one of many.”
– Article from Toronto Star on July 16, 2010.