Pubdate: Fri, 18 Apr 2008
Source: Argonaut, The (ID Edu)
Copyright: 2008 University of Idaho Argonaut
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Marijuana)


A Moscow tradition since 1996, Hempfest is filled with characters, 
music, booths, art and speakers.

The theme for this year's Hempfest is "Dispel the myths - Fact and Fiction."

 From 10 a.m. to dusk, the 12th Annual Moscow Hempfest will provide 
access to hemp education and advocacy, live music, food and a variety 
of vendors.

Vendors come from across the Northwest selling hemp-related products, 
such as clothing, jewelry, lotions and soaps.

"Vendors offer more than just glass art," said Arlene Falcon, 
Hempfest organizer and owner of Tye Dye Everything in Moscow. "We 
have moved all the glass art to the back of the park, making it a 
more family-friendly environment."

However, the highlight of this year's Hempfest is the speakers.

"We are looking to focus on the speakers and the issues this year," 
Falcon said.

One of this year's speakers is Adam Assenberg, an advocate of medical 
marijuana working to dispel myths and spread the facts.

"We hope to get the information out to the public," Falcon said. 
"People seem to think industrial Hemp, Medical marijuana, and 
marijuana are all the same."

On Jan. 25, 1985, working as a security guard at a company in 
Riverside, Calif., Assenberg stopped men who were attempting to steal 
dynamite to use in an elementary school bombing.

However, Assenberg was unaware of the man behind him who would strike 
him with a bat, throw him over a bridge and leave him to die.

Assenberg fell 15 feet onto boulders, breaking nine vertebrae in his 
back. "I was told I would never walk again," Assenberg said. "It took 
me about seven years to walk again."

It wouldn't be until 10 years after the incident when Assenberg would 
try marijuana for the first time in his life.

Daily treatments of 500 milligrams of oral morphine and 60 milligrams 
of Percocet alone would not relieve Assenberg's pain.

After enduring over 30 convulsions and seizures on a daily basis, 
Assenberg's stance on marijuana changed.

"My body would actually leave the ground from pain and I would black 
out," he said.

After a friend offered him some marijuana, Assenberg has been an 
advocate and user of the treatment ever since.

"It was a godsend," Assenberg said.

Marijauna is the only thing left that will work for Assenberg.

"If standard medicine fails, what's left?" he said.

Assenberg said patients who feel they are at the end of the road 
should consider medical marijuana.

"I took a steak knife to my heart four times," he said. "No one 
should have to go through the pain I've been through . That's why I 
turned around to fight for this cause."

After fighting for the right to smoke marijuana in his home, 
Assenberg is now fighting for the national legalization of medical marijuana.

"I've been getting a lot of support," he said.

Assenberg also works to dispel myths about marijuana as a drug.

He said children and teenagers know there are lies about marijuana 
and may assume the things said about other drugs, such as heroin, are 
also lies and will try them.

"If my child wanted a cigarette or alcohol, I would much rather they 
smoked a joint than kill themselves off with man-made chemicals," 
Assenberg said.

Assenberg is a DJ and host of "Marijuana - Fact or Fiction" on 92.5 
FM, KRFC Radio Free Moscow. His radio show runs from 2 to 4 p.m. on 
Wednesday and 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday.

May third, Assenberg will join a Medical Marijuana March from East 
City Park to City Hall.

Nearly three-fourths of Americans middle age and older support 
legalizing marijuana for medical use, according to a poll taken for 
AARP in 2004.

12 states have legalized the medical use of marijuana since 1996.

After legal battles in Hailey, Idaho, for more than three years, 
pro-marijuana advocate Ryan Davidson, chairman of Liberty Lobby of 
Idaho, has successfully complied with requirements and put his 
initiatives before the voters.

With success in November on initiatives to legalize medical use of 
marijuana, to legalize industrial use of hemp and to make enforcement 
of marijuana laws the lowest priority for the Hailey Police 
Department, Davidson now looks to Moscow.

Davidson, as well as conservative Rep. Tom Trail of the Idaho House 
of Representatives, will speak at this year's Hempfest.

"Ryan is working with us on legislation for Moscow as well," Falcon said. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake