Pubdate: Sat, 05 Nov 2005
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2005 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Mary Agnes Welch


MAYOR Sam Katz says it would be hypocritical to endorse a pot
conference in Winnipeg while also pushing police to crack down on grow
ops and gangs.

"This group more than any other group should know you can't suck and
blow at the same time," said Katz. "And that's what they're asking me
to do."

The Canadian Cannabis Coalition has been shopping around for the
Canadian city best able to host what some organizers say will be the
largest cannabis fair and conference ever held in Canada.

Called CannaFair 2006, it's slated for next fall and could have
attracted as many as 4,000 medical marijuana advocates to Winnipeg.
But organizer Paul Hughes said earlier this week that Katz had
kiboshed Winnipeg's bid because he refused to write a letter of
support for the conference.

But Katz said the Canadian Cannabis Coalition doesn't need his support
to hold a conference in town. The conference would feature speakers,
workshops, a concert and a trade fair with as many as 400 booths.
Exhibitors would include organic pot-growing experts, health and
research firms as well as companies specializing in pot-smoking

Hughes says the conference has nothing to do with organized crime or
gangs and instead is for people who use or grow small amounts of
cannabis for medical reasons.

Meanwhile, yesterday, some coalition members sought to distance
themselves from Hughes.

Tim Meehan, an Ottawa-based marijuana activist, said Hughes had jumped
the gun by announcing that Katz had kiboshed Winnipeg's bid to host
the conference.

Meehan said Vancouver and Toronto have always topped the list as
likely host cities because that's where most of Canada's pot activists
live and where most international flights land.

"Winnipeg was never given any serious consideration, to be honest,
just because of geography," said Meehan. 
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