|Graphic: Miami For Change|
Police in Pontiac, Michigan say they are concerned about plans to hold what is being called “the largest cannabis/wellness event ever held in the Midwest” at the Silverdome in October.
The First Annual International Cannabis Convention is scheduled for Halloween weekend, October 29-31, according to event organizers Medical Marijuana Inc., reports Zlati Meyer at The Detroit Free Press.
Organizers expect up to 50,000 visitors, and have scheduled entertainers, exhibits, vendors, speakers and classes for the event. Vendor booth space is for sale as of this week.
“My concerns are the law has to be followed,” said Police Chief Val Gross. “It’s still against city ordinance and state law to be in possession of marijuana and sell marijuana. There’s still a city ordinance against possession of drug paraphernalia or selling paraphernalia.”
|Photo: Daniel Mears/The Detroit News|
|Weeds are growing in the unused parking lot of the Pontiac Silverdome. Now, finally, a big, money-generating convention is planned for the economically blighted venue… and the police are COMPLAINING about it?|
Michigan voters in 2008 passed a law legalizing medical marijuana, and it went into effect 15 months ago. But evidently that isn’t long enough for Chief Gross to get the idea.
“We just learned of this two days ago,” Chief Gross said. “Does it cause some concern? You bet it does. You’d think we would have at least been consulted first.”
Hey, Chief, no need to get butt-hurt about it. Let me break it down for you. Medical pot is legal in Michigan, now. So is talking about it and doing business around it — even in large groups, even in the Silverdome.
One thing that probably helped freak out Chief Gross is the postcard-sized announcement for the convention — featuring a giant marijuana plant bursting through the Silverdome roof — that began showing up in local businesses this past week, according to Mike Martindale of The Detroit News. The ad also includes a smiling jack-o-lantern smoking a joint.
Silverdome spokesman John Mozena seemed a lot more of top of things.
“This is a rental deal,” Mozena said. “This is a publicly-traded company that has run other events around the country, holding a trade show for a legal product approved by the state’s voters and regulated by the Michigan Department of Community Health.”
“As with any event at the Silverdome or any other venue, it’s the responsibility of the promoter and any vendors and all attendees to abide by any state, local applicable laws,” Mozena said.
“This isn’t a bunch of pot-smoking hippies getting together, but there might be some, along with people from all walks of life,” said event co-sponsor Edmund Kresty, CEO of Holistic Health and Educational Center in Saline.
“Earlier this year, one of these in San Francisco drew more than 25,000 people, and there wasn’t one incident, injury or arrest,” Kresty said. “We aren’t selling, distributing or trading marijuana.”
“This is an opportunity for people to learn the law, discuss issues and see the latest in equipment,” Kresty said. “Some equipment can be used by people who bring their own medicine, but these will be carefully guarded areas, and people will have to show the proper ID cards to use them.”
Organizers plan to sit down with city officials and police in the near future to discuss all concerns, according to Kresty. Attendees must be at least 18 years old, unless accompanied by their parents, he said.
“We hope to draw 50,000 people over the three days,” Kresty said. “We think it will also be a big revenue generator for area hotels, restaurants and other businesses.”
The Triple Properties Investment Group of Toronto bought the Silverdome, the Detroit Lions’ former home, for $583,000 last November.
“The Superdome is a private entity now,” said clueless Chief Gross, getting the name wrong, “but they still have to follow the guidelines of the law. I’m always concerned about what type of crowd does it bring,” he said, a puzzled look crossing his porcine features. “I don’t know.”
No, I guess you don’t, Chief.