Ever wondered what the Seattle Hempfest is all about? Why not attend a festival personally. You'll find it's an annual event, much like any large community festival, held on the Seattle waterfront. It attracts thousands of people every year, who either come as advocates of legalizing cannabis, or simply to find out what all the fuss is about.
On closer inspection, you'll find "bongs" and "hippy" clothes for sale, delicious food, and the chance to sign up for a consultation with a licensed cannabis practitioner. Your interest may stray to the "Everything Hemp" stall, or mosey over to the lady selling natural healing creams made from cannabis.
"This is the first time I've been allowed to sell since the festivals began," says Aimee Warner, whose hempseed and cannabis flower botanicals are helping people all over the state. "But it isn't legal to sell otherwise, so it can only be bought from Washington State access points, and with a medical marijuana card."
Eventually your nose will take over, and the smell of weed wafting through the air, will be either exhilarating or nauseating, depending on your point of view. However, if it is the latter, please don't go, you won't like it.
Kirkland, Washington, has voted to allow recreational marijuana businesses, providing they are at least 1,000 feet from any public service where children are allowed. Not all cities have allowed this.
Digital presence consultant, Patrick Welch, who attended the Seattle Hempfest, gives his point of view. "This has been a long time coming," he says. "Economically and medically cannabis has a lot to offer."
Marijuana as a medicine.
According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and CNN's chief medical correspondent, marijuana doesn't have a high potential for abuse, and is medically legitimate. After travelling around the world interviewing medical experts, patients, cannabis growers and medical leaders, he came to the conclusion that classifying the plant as a class one illicit drug is unsettling. "It's not because of sound science," he says. "But because of it's absence, that marijuana was classified as a schedule one substance." If you are interested in learning more of Dr. Sanjay's findings, you can watch his program "Weed."
Medical marijuana card holders say that cannabis alleviates pain, increases appetite, relaxes the body, heightens the senses, and causes a feeling of comfort. According to the researchers at Harvard University, THC can reduce lung tumors by fifty percent. It helps diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's by limiting neurological damage, and can stimulate appetite in patients with eating troubles. Pain is often diminished after consumption of marijuana.
It can't be denied that there is potential for abuse. If cannabis is taken too frequently and in large quantities, it slows brain development, causes high anxiety, depression, paranoia, and fast heart rate. There is sadly a negative side to every good thing. Parents worry that it is a "gateway" drug, that teenagers are using it as a pathway to other more dangerous substances. This is true of an addictive personality, and will always remain troublesome and worrying.
The most important part of educating our children, is to tell them the truth. Let them know that you see both sides and want them to be safe. Once they realise that you are not sitting in judgement, teenagers are more likely to open up. Talk to them about other drugs, and always keep communication open.
Marijuana has the potential to be one of the world's most helpful medications, but as with any medication, it must be used properly and with care.