Pubdate: Sun, 14 Jun 2009
Source: Los Angeles Daily News (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Newspaper Group
Author: Bob Strauss, Staff Writer
Cited: THC Expo
Bookmark: (Marijuana - California)


It wasn't the highest old time you could imagine at the inaugural THC 
Expo held at the Los Angeles Convention Center this weekend.

But even though actual consumption of marijuana was strictly 
forbidden at the two-day trade show, the capacity crowd seemed to 
enjoy the contact high of checking out booths full of everything from 
hemp-oil massage lotions to Marley Brand Jamaican coffee to brochures 
from groups like Law Enforcement Against Prohibition - active and 
retired cops who want to, well, legalize everything.

"We're gonna do this constantly," said West Hills-based Expo 
co-producer Todd McCormick, a legalization advocate who says 
marijuana helped him survive a cancer-ridden childhood of severe 
chemotherapy side effects.

"It took 11 months of work and a lot of money and organization, but 
I'm really happy with how all this is working out. We're real pleased 
with the phenomenal turnout."

Bail bondsmen, hawkers of very scary-looking hydroponic growth 
accelerator devices and women in gold bikinis packed the convention 
hall floor. An over-18-only area had seed packets, many 
representatives of Amsterdam-based businesses and a whole alley of 
bongs and other smoking paraphernalia that, at retail stores 
throughout California if not at this particular venue, must legally 
be sold "for tobacco use only."

Even at a place like Daddy's Pipe and Collective, a Sherman Oaks 
smoke shop that recently added a medical marijuana dispensary.

"We carry everything from small little glass pipes to 24-inch bongs 
and percolator chambers," said Daddy's manager Adam Powers. "We also 
give free doctor referrals and have free deals when you sign up as a 
new patient."

Delta 9 is the Sun Valley-based glass company that makes many of the 
elaborate pipes sold at Daddy's; a smoked gray water job with a 
detailed etching of Jimi Hendrix was a particularly impressive work.

"We specialize, pretty much, in glass water tubes," explained Dennis 
Belloso, a Delta 9 sales rep. "We do our own sand-blasting, our own 
frosting, and we like to make our designs a little more deep-etched 
than anybody else, so you can not only see it, you can feel it."

Chatsworth resident Ashley Gold, 22, was visiting the Expo with a 
bunch of her girlfriends and enjoying its general good vibes.

"I'm very much interested in the subject matter," she said. "We're 
just here to check out what everybody has to offer. It is a great 
turnout. There are a lot of people and a lot of nice people too, 
surprisingly. We're about to go over to the other convention; it 
might be a little bit different there."

The "other convention" was the EroticaLA porn show held at the same 
time in the hall right next door. It's no coincidence that McCormick 
and his co-producer, Brian Roberts, scheduled their show on the same weekend.

But not everybody was mellow about a pro-hemp convention taking place 
at a city-run facility.

"Our biggest issue with the THC Expo is that their Web site 
encouraged kids of all ages to attend," said Paul Howarth, CEO of A 
Better Tomorrow Treatment Center, a Murrieta rehab facility. "I'm 
embarrassed for the city of Los Angeles, that our city is hosting such a show."

Howarth asked City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo to shut down the 
convention for that reason. The City Attorney's Office declined to do so. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake