CLIO, MI — Thousands of marijuana enthusiasts made their way to Clio Saturday, July 26, to medicate, hear a Grammy-winning musician and bond over their love for the plant.
Auto City Speedway opened its gates on Saturday morning for the Cannabis Cup, High Times magazine’s concert, expo and trade show to celebrate marijuana.
Thousands of users, patients and enthusiasts flocked to Clio on Saturday for the first day of the two-day event. A roster of 150 vendors sold growing equipment, seeds, clothing, equipment to grow the plants, foods and drinks, while those with medical marijuana cards could smoke in designated areas. Attendees had to provide medical marijuana cards to get wristbands that would grant them access to the medical marijuana area.
A seminar tent hosted talks, and on Saturday evening, Grammy-winning artist and producer Wyclef Jean was slated to perform.
Dan Skye, editorial director of High Times magazine, said the first Cannabis Cup was 27 years ago in Amsterdam. In 2010, they brought the event to the United States for the first time. This weekend’s festival is the 17th in the U.S., and the second in Michigan.
Skye, a Flint native and a University of Michigan graduate, said the event is a celebration of the plant, and that politicians in Michigan, and the rest of the country, should push to fully legalize marijuana.
“People are seeing that it’s a beneficial plant, and it’s being normalized,” Skye said, adding that Denver has already brought in $40 million in tax revenue since Colorado legalized it. “The cannabis industry is only expanding. … Michigan really needs something like this. There’s no reason the cannabis industry should have a harness on it. It’s jobs — it’s as simple as that.”
Aside from that, Skye said, it’s a good time.
“Cannabis use is also known for a great party,” he said. “There’s no reason we can’t have fun when we’re medicating.”
Skye expected 5,600 people to attend the event over the weekend.
Barbie Shinevare, who lives by Gun Lake, said she was encouraged to attend the event by her fiancé. He has compassion for people who use marijuana medicinally, including Shinevare herself, who has arthritis and a herniated disk. She said marijuana helps her manage pain and her appetite.
“I wouldn’t have gone in to smoke, because I get anxiety around crowds if I do,” Shinevare said, adding that she isn’t a day-to-day smoker, only using it to medicate. She said that she attended the weekend’s festivities as a “supporter of the cause,” not as a customer.
“I’m just glad they’re doing this for the people that really need it,” she said.
Dewitt resident Jonathon Waccak attended the event with friends. His family members have used marijuana medicinally – -her mother has multiple sclerosis, and her grandmother has fibromyalgia. Both of them use marijuana to treat their diseases, he said.
Wacaak said that he expects marijuana to be fully legalized soon, so that he wanted to attend the Cannabis Cup early.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing to come out here. Medical marijuana is only going to be around for a short time, it’ll be legal in the next couple of years,” he said. “It’s a big step in the movement toward legalization, so I’m happy to be a part of it.”