Pubdate: Sat, 30 Aug 2014
Source: Daily Press, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 Sun Media
Author: Jeff Labine
Page: A3


Hempfest Lands in Moonbeam This Weekend

MOONBEAM - The organizer of a pro-marijuana festival believes the 
drug should remain out of politician hands.

Organizers for Hempfest Canada announced that the 16th annual 
celebration would not be held in Sault Ste. Marie, where it has 
called home for the past few years, but instead in Moonbeam. The main 
goal of Hempfest, which takes place this weekend, is to educate the 
public on the proper use of medical marijuana.

Robert Neron, the organizer of the event, explained he decided to 
move the event for financial reasons. It would be cheaper for him to 
host it in Moonbeam because he owns the hall where the event will be 
held. If it was held in Sault Ste. Marie, Neron said he would have to 
rent and that would cost at least $20,000.

The festival comes during a time when the debate around marijuana has 
been reignited.

Each of the three main federal political parties have taken a stance 
on the drug. The Conservatives, who brought in tougher penalties back 
in 2012, have said they would consider allowing police to issue fines 
for those caught with small amounts.

The Liberals are proposing legalizing pot then regulate and tax it 
similar to alcohol and tobacco, whereas the NDP would like to see it 

These discussions follow the legalization of pot in Washington and 
Colorado back in 2012, the same day that the Conservative's crime 
omnibus bill passed. The two states made it legal for recreational 
use and also to sell it.

Neron said it was interesting to see both announcements come out 
because they were on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

He remained cautious about Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's promises 
to legalize pot and said he's not the politician to promise it.

"It's is just a front for his political campaign," he said. "Medical 
marijuana and medicine in general shouldn't be part of a political 
movement. You shouldn't use people's medicine to promote your 
political campaign. 'If you vote for me I'll legalize weed.' Why 
don't you just legalize weed and let us judge if you are a good prime 
minister or not. I'm not a fan of any minister who uses my medicine 
to promote his political party."

Neron pointed out that those who want to attend Hempfest must sign a 
waiver. He said he's not expecting as big of a crowd as previous 
years since pot has become more readily available and people can host 
their own festivals.

Neron added he hopes that people will be responsible when they attend 
and have fun.

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