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Medical marijuana expo slated in Imlay


Specialty magazine, hydroponics store sponsoring event at Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds set for August 21-22


May 19, 2010
IMLAY CITY — Organizers of an upcoming medical marijuana exposition at the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds hope to dispel concerns among some local residents.

Katie Fontana, editor of Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, which is sponsoring the Aug. 21-22 "Extravaganja," says all state and federal laws will be observed during the event.

That includes limiting use of medical marijuana to authorized patients and caregivers in enclosed environments.

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The second issue of Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine was published in January. The publisher is sponsoring the August event.
"We will have on-site security, including off-duty police officers, to make sure nothing illegal occurs," Fontana says. "There will be no random or open medicating allowed."

A recent "Growers Day" gathering in Attica and the opening of a medical marijuana dispensary in Dryden have heightened awareness of the parameters of new law, which authorizes the drug's use for medically-approved purposes.

In Dryden, the village council is establishing an ordinance to restrict the number of dispensaries allowed. Last Monday, Lapeer Township Board members established a 90-day moratorium on dispensaries.

Michigan residents approved legalizing medical marijuana in November 2008, as 63 percent of the electorate cast votes in favor. Since then, marijuana proponents and those wishing to profit from its legal production and distribution have been adopting an increasingly higher profile.

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Fontana insists there is nothing to fear and suggests that, if anything, the Extravaganja will be a particularly peaceful event.

"These people are often seriously ill and in severe pain," says Fontana. "Some of them are veterans and in wheelchairs. A lot of them say they prefer marijuana to taking pills.

"We've held events with thousands of people without any trouble," she continues. "These are very peaceful people and we intend to follow the law."

Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds Manager Ian Kempf says fair board members deliberated before agreeing to let the group use the facility.

"It was certainly something the board took a long look at," Kempf says. "We make our facility available for all legal purposes, and it's legal.

"We're neither condoning nor condemning it (medical marijuana)," he adds. "We really did not have any grounds to deny them. We do expect the organizers to work closely with law enforcement."

In addition to a medication tent for use by qualified patients and caregivers, Extravaganja will feature educational speakers, growing experts, vendors, food and live music.

The event is being sponsored by Big Daddy's Hydroponics and Big Daddy's Management Group, LLC of Oak Park; the publishers of Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
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