Cannabis Lovers Unite in Gainesville
It was time to light up and relax at the Hemp Fest in Gainesville's Bo Diddley Plaza. This is the second time in 10 years the event has returned to Gainesville, but before that police had some trouble with the cannabis lovers. GPD Sergeant Tscharna Senn says "there was chaos, and no one was listening to any direction of the police and so it was a pretty big deal back in 1994."
The big deal was a "doobie toss," when Dennis "Murli" Watkins threw marijuana joints into the crowd. So, no tossing this year. Instead, supporters of arts, crafts and anything involving hemp or cannabis danced and sold their wares.
The atmosphere was definitely one of family and friends, while Watkins even set up a living room on the lawn. But the main focus was, of course, on cannabis and its users' rights.
Jodie James of the Cannabis Action Network was on hand to tell people more about the different uses of hemp.
"Not every drug is ever going to be good for everyone," she says. "But we make choices in a free society and at this point, we can't arrest everybody so we know we can't arrest our way out of this problem."
Jodie, herself, isn't shy about her smoking.
"I have been known to use cannabis, absolutely," she says with a smile. "And I'm proud of my use. I'm not much of a drinker, don't like the way it makes me feel. It tends to make me a little depressed. Cannabis on the other hand, acts as a sedative when I need something to help me relax and I've been known to use it recreationally."
Inside her tent, you'll find an array of plans for cannabis and how it can be used in construction, medicine and, yes, recreationally. She says the next move for the Cannabis Action Network will be at the state's capitol, where they hope to convince lawmakers to legalize the drug. But at the festival, they celebrated the ultimate high of freedom.
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