Visitors to Deering Oaks on Saturday may take in a little more than fresh air. The festival will run from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and is expected to draw 200 to 300 people, but pot smoking will not be allowed.
The park will be the venue for a free medical marijuana rally and festival featuring speakers, music and vendors selling indoor growing equipment.
The Atlantic CannaFEST will run from 1 to 5 p.m. and is expected to draw 200 to 300 people. It will promote medical marijuana and include a high-profile giveaway of pot to low-income patients, to protest the prices at state-sanctioned dispensaries.
So far, city officials, police and parents who use a nearby playground are treating Saturday’s pot rally as just another day in the park.
“It doesn’t bother me any,” said Ashley Van Vliet, 21, of Westbrook, who visited Deering Oaks on Tuesday with her 3-month-old son and 2-year-old daughter.
Maine is no stranger to marijuana festivals. Harry Brown’s Farm has hosted pro-marijuana festivals in Starks since 1991. Last year, the Augusta Civic Center hosted a medical marijuana expo put on by the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, which featured an outdoor tent where registered patients could smoke pot.
There will be no such tent Saturday in Portland, because fire codes don’t allow open flames in tents, said Atlantic CannaFEST’s organizer Charles Wynott, a 48-year-old Portland resident who uses medical marijuana to treat his AIDS symptoms.
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