Story by Mary Otte
This twelve hour awards ceremony, conference, and trade show was a welcome and refreshing event as Oregon medical marijuana patients still reel at the failure of Measure 33 this last election season. The panels and speakers were informative and interesting, the crowd was in high spirits, and the guest speakers were not only wonderful; they are our heroes in the forefront of marijuana reform.
An ounce of prevention…
A recurring theme in panel discussions and presentations was best summed up by Todd Dalotto’s reiteration of the phrase, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, literally.” Todd is the president and founder of The Compassion Center in Eugene, Oregon; a medical marijuana center solely funded by patient fees. Todd spoke about maintaining a healthy garden free from pests, molds and contaminants, sharing with us a killer organic remedy for these annoyances called Mold-Off Foliar Spray.**
Damon, “The Garden Guy,” talked about the prevention of having the patient/caregiver relationship being taken advantage of. Damon is one of the key players in Oregon Green Free and developed a caregiver certification program which includes a seventy-five question grow test, requires in-depth site information, and goes over each party’s financial and legal responsibilities.
Kilos of cure
Two of the most inspiring speakers of the night are also heroes and kind friends. If you’re feeling down, they cure what ails ya with their dedication and determination alone: Jack Herer and Eddy Lepp.
Jack was looking remarkably well. I noted more than one set of misty eyes as the Hemperor told us how cannabis/hemp can save the world and asked us to continue to spread the word to our children and our peers. As the holiday season approaches, I suggest picking up Jack’s “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” for the education of a loved one.
Eddy told us of how his personal and infamous activism has him facing life in prison. On August 18th the D.E.A. came to Eddy’s Medicinal Gardens and cut down 32,524 medical marijuana plants in various stages of growth.
Patients, friends, and family all help to rebuild and Eddy’s attitude of calmly marching forth is infectious. His activism also earned him the “Freedom Fighter of the Year” award from High Times. In fact, Eddy had flown in from receiving the award in Amsterdam the previous day, spent countless hours in a heartless border check, hopped in his green limo (affectionately called ‘the lime-o’), and hauled on up to Oregon to share in the festivities. When I spoke with him afterwords, he said that it was an event well worth the effort to get there, stating that he only wished that 150,000 people could have attended instead of the 150 that were able to make it.
Jack and Eddy sent me the following email upon their return home:
“On behalf of myself and Mr. Jack Herer I would like to thank you for inviting us and thanks to Chris from Emerald Hemp for helping to sponsor our trip. It was a wonderful event the forums talks and speakers were all very good and full of information. It was done very tastefully and at a great location. We hope to see this event grow to rival the Seattle hemp fest. Thanks for having us we look forward to seeing you next year.
Love and Peace,
Drum roll, please.
Following the vendors and speakers, advocates and activists, were the banquet dinner and the moment all caregivers and patients alike were waiting for: the awards ceremony. Although one of my personal favorite strains, Catalyst, was not amongst the winners, it was a terrific line-up.
In third place was Clifford Spenser with Strawberry Cough, in second was Joe Meirs with his much-loved AK-47, and finally, in first was Stephen and Debra Tomlinson with White Widow. In the hashish category, Damon Josephy took the prize; he was the only hashish entrant.
Overall, it was a fantastic event. I must admit that I enjoyed some of the time I spent in hotel rooms just as much as the OMCA itself, but that is an entirely different article.