Pubdate: Sat, 17 Jul 2010
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 Canoe Limited Partnership
Page: 3
Author: Kevin Connor


The first whiff was getting out of the car in the parking lot.

Then it seemed to be on the breath of almost every attendee.

Marijuana filled the air at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre 
Friday as the Treating Yourself Medical Marijuana and Hemp Expo opened.

Although no pot was being sold on site, people with a licence for 
medical marijuana were being encouraged to bring their stash and try 
out a wide variety of vaporizers, which help inhale the smoke.

Admitted pot-head Stephen Hayes was excited to check out the expo.

"I'm really into this kind of stuff. It is interesting to see what is 
here and it is just a fun day," Hayes said. "Smoking should be legal 
because it helps relax you.

"If alcohol is legal then why not weed?"

Organizers say the Expo is about informing the public of the benefits 
of medical cannabis.

"I created this show with one function in mind - education and 
knowledge," said Marco Renda, publisher of the show, which is 
expected to attract up to 30,000 people this weekend.

"There have been other marijuana events in Canada and while they may 
have served a purpose for awareness, none of them have focused solely 
on the people with the most to gain medically from cannabis - the 
patients whose suffering is eased by the responsible use of the plant.

"I don't think anyone denies that some people have a real need for 
the benefits of medical marijuana," Renda said.

Show manager Jim Mahon pointed out pot has been proven to help people 
cope with many illnesses.

"Marijuana has been shown to help combat symptoms and side effects 
from cancer chemotherapy management, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS 
symptomatic management, migraine, multiple sclerosis, pain, severe 
arthritis, as well as spinal cord injury, just to name a few," he said.

"But how many people are aware that different cannabis seeds and 
strains are most effective with certain symptoms and side effects?"

Dean Cavan, one of the vendors at the expo, runs the Medical 
Marijuana Resource Centre.

"We give resources to people in need of medical marijuana. We connect 
people with designated growers, assist people in filling out the 
Health Canada forms for medical marijuana and connect them with 
doctors," Cavan said.

Besides the educational aspect, people attending the show can buy 
seeds, bongs and clothes.

"The Medical Marijuana and Hemp Expo features hundreds of vendors 
from all over the world who specialize in medical use and production 
of high-quality medical marijuana as well as those dedicated to the 
numerous applications of hemp," Mahon said.

"There are also educational seminars and the Ha-Swesh Hemp Clothing 
Fashion Show, as well as a variety of entertainment, including the 
2010 Global Marijuana Music Awards, Howard Dover comedy extravaganza, 
films, bands and more to make the experience educational and entertaining."

The Expo continues Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 
a.m. Cost at the door is $15.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart