California: Thousands Gather To Support Marijuana Lifestyle


Photo: Julie R. Johnson/Corning Observer
Ken and Kathy Prather, operators of Tehama Herbal Collective, in Corning, Calif., had a booth and were one of the main sponsors of the World Hemp Expo in Tehama County on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. From left, pictured with the Prathers are Brian Campbell and Ken West.

​Thousands of people gathered in Tehama County, California last weekend to participate in a first-of-its-kind event in the area: The World Hemp Expo.

The Expo, held just south of Red Bluff, drew about 800 people on Friday, and 2,500 on Saturday. Because entrance was free on Sunday, event organizers aren’t certain about attendance figures that day.

Ken and Kathy Prather, operators of the Tehama Herbal Collective (THC) in Corning, were major sponsors of the Expo and had a booth set up, reports Julie R. Johnson of Tri-County Newspapers.
Not just anyone could walk into the Expo and start smoking marijuana, explained Ken Prather.
“People had to check in at a designated booth, show their medical marijuana recommendation and receive a blue wrist band,” Ken said. “Then, if they wanted to smoke, they could go to any of a number of patient sections.”

Photo: Andreas Fuhrmann
Expo organizer Donna Will tends to her plants at her Tehama County home.

​Prather said they were trying to be very careful that nobody was smoking pot around the dozens of small children that were in attendance with their parents.
“If we see it, we ask them to stop,” Prather said.
According to Tehama County Sheriff Clay Parker, very few problems occurred at the Expo.
“I walked through the event several times and we haven’t received any complaints from the neighbors or no other real issues,” the sheriff said.
“There was one case of a man being very high on something and event staff found one of his friends who took him away from the event,” Parker said. “Other than that, the only problem was shoplifting.”
Many attendees camped throughout the event on the 46 acres set aside for the Expo. Vendors offered glass pipes, tattoos, t-shirts, and trinkets.
Other features of the Expo included food, music, and a film festival.
Melissa Bain, a film director and producer from Los Angeles, said she showed the world premiere movie, Strain Hunters: India Expedition. The “Strain Hunters” series is about finding and saving unique varieties of marijuana throughout the world which are being threatened by agricultural and industrial progress.
“Marijuana can help the economy,” Bain said. “This is a peaceful assembly where the truth is being spoken.”
According to Donna Will, organizer of the Expo, she plans on holding the event again next year, somewhere in Tehama County.
“It won’t be right here on this property because we are establishing an herbal garden here,” Will said.