From the over 18 to the over 70, from a postman to an ex-chief constable, from mothers to teachers, from artists to venture capitalists from those living with cancer, to those trying to live with themselves, horticulturists to entrepreneurs, impassioned speakers to cool and groovy musicians. People. Simply people, feeling relaxed, enjoying the atmosphere, the surroundings, the tangible human friendliness and enjoyment. The freedom to let go of that small, but chronic, nagging, insidious feeling that being oneself can lead to trouble.
Did I enjoy the Hemp and Alternative Future Expo this last weekend. Oh yes I did and it moved me......several times.
It moved me because it wasn't expecting any trouble; "Oh, this event is going to be money for old rope, nobody here is going to make any trouble" said one of the security guards as we stood next to the adequately flimsy boundary fence, which I am sure didn't get touched for the whole event, however convenient it might have been, walking from camp site to venue. Respect, you see, goes both ways and when it does - everyone just gets along. It moved me to see how much effort the organisers had made, not only to look after its guests and its attendees, but also its exhibitors. The quality of the refreshments and facilities were excellent
It moved me that the only intervention I saw from security, was to bring one chap, carrying a glass beer bottle, a plastic glass to put his beer in! You see there was a visibly stated "No Glass" rule on the premises. It seems, this rule didn't apply to the hundreds of glass bongs and pipes being utilised. One can only conclude that it's only those who put alcohol in their glass that cannot be trusted. It moved me further to see a few people surreptitiously and rather guiltily carrying different types and strengths of alcohol in their bags, whilst the vast majority of the community chose a different substance to consume without fear of disapproval or, frankly, arrest.
It moved me to hear new stories meet growing and recent friends, meet and make new friends. To be able to help and guide sufferers of many conditions and from all walks of life through the maze of information and misinformation about cannabis as a choice and as a medicine, as a flowering plant and as an oil. To help those in trouble with the law as a result of possessing the medication needed to most effectively manage their symptoms, being able to point them towards another section of our community. To be able to just point to a place where a medical cannabis patient can find information on strains that help them, and to be able to acquire the seed. It moved me that all the stands were helping each other as well as festival goers, sharing with each other, that so many aspects of the hemp and cannabis movement were represented in solidarity.
It moved me to see how the entire industry is coming along. The artistry, the engineering and the manufacturing, the genetics, the technology and the horticulture. It was also pretty cool to be at an event where lighters and rolling papers were cheap :)
Those who stood up to speak moved me. So much reason, so much passion, so much compassion and so much activity. The message is hopeful, it is heartening and the volume is rising.
It moved me that this event was happening and that it was in the UK. I do hope it can happen again next year. I do hope it can get bigger and better, without interference. I hope more people in the UK can see, that all a large and wide population of cannabis consumers and enthusiasts ever seems to be, is a peaceful, accepting and welcoming community.
Thanks to the entire community for a really great weekend. Just what a lovely place to be. So full of beautiful, varied, colourful and friendly people.
Jon Liebling – Political Director of United Patients Alliance
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