California is pot-friendly, but public mass consumption of cannabis is still a feat -- especially when it's on state property. That is partially why it took years for the International Hemp & Cannabis Exposition to take off, but the reported 15,000 pot enthusiasts who gathered at the Cow Palace this weekend didn't seem to mind the delay.
"This is the best pot show I've been to ... better than HempFest in Seattle," was a common sentiment. Those with medical Marijuana recommendations were allowed to medicate to heart's content at designated outdoor smoking area, with cannabis dispensaries handing out hits from 10-foot long vaporizer bags all weekend long and a full-service hash bar kept smoking until 6 p.m. Sunday in the VIP area.
Holders of a $300 VIP ticket received a sampler package of buds competing for the Connoisseur's Cup title, and other expo vendors offered free samples of tonics, tinctures and edibles. "People be getting too high," one observed after an older patient briefly passed out at the hash bar (he was okay, and Daly City police had no reports of incidents Monday).
Perhaps so, but with the sun shining, not a single peace officer in sight, and a nearly inexhaustible supply of highest-grade THC products on hand, why not? A peaceful scene ensued: Tattooed gentlemen in hip-hop attire shared blunts with gray-haired women in hemp clothing and posed for photos with the wheelchair-bound botanist famous for crafting "that granddaddy purple".
Chris Roberts Pot demigod Tom Ammiano was large and in charge at this weekend's expo
Ancient long-bearded hippies graciously accepted buds from teen-aged growers as conversations were struck and bonds forged over the simple common attribute of cannabis consumption.
On the other side of the Cow Palace, activism trumped alteration of senses as a troop of legalization movement luminaries took to the speakers podium to rally the troops. Oaksterdam University's Richard Lee, chief author of and driving force behind the Tax Cannabis 2010 ballot measure, told expo attendees that legalization will only be won by a hard-fought campaign that will stretch far beyond any bills or ballot measures currently on the horizon.