Educating at the National Women’s Show

by Al Graham

What happens when you gather many different businesses together that just cater to the women in our lives? Well I can tell you, you get one massive women’s show.

The Toronto National Women Show held each year in November attracts over 450 vendors to the south building of the large Metro Toronto Convention Center. This show provides everything that a woman would want or may want. What they don’t expect is to find the Treating Yourself booth.

At this show the women in our lives could find organic make up to some of the fanciest clothing around. Whether you require a Botox injection, silicone breast implants, clothing or just want some jewellery there was no doubt that the women in your life could find it at this show.

For the members of P.A.C.E such as Sharon and me or the members of MedCannAccess like Theresa, Sheena, Jasmine, Blaine and Mike attending this show helps us to know that there are people, such as mothers and health care professionals that do understand the benefits of cannabis.

Over the weekend several of these mothers came to our booth with their young son or daughter. While there these mothers would explain to their child that cannabis was a medication and that it helps people. The children would have questions that mom would answer and if she didn’t know they would turn to someone in the booth.

The youngsters weren’t alone as many teenage daughters also came out of their cannabis closet with mom which in turn had mom also coming out of hers. Because of what we were doing at the Treating Yourself Booth many peo- ple were no longer hiding their activities from their loved ones.

While people are happy to see us Sharon filled me in on one such lady who wasn’t supportive. Apparently this per- son had just written an article on cannabis and its possi- ble connection to mental health problems. Sharon spoke with this lady for some time but if it takes time to help

someone see things from a different angle or view, then it is time well spent. After this long talk was Sharon able to get this lady to see things differently? She believes she did as the lady left with some educational material a smile and offered Sharon a handshake as a way of saying thank you. That in itself says she was successful to get the lady to open her mind to the fact that cannabis is a medication and not a demon on people.

The number of people that attend this show is huge. There was a two floor line up to get in and there is even a line up to leave, yes leave. We saw people that were walk- ing along and dragging their carrying bags because they were too full. Then there were some that were happy to say “no thanks” to items that were given away by the ven- dors because they just couldn’t carry any more.

The people at the Treating Yourself booth were also into handing out free items to those who came to the booth. People were able to get the latest issue of Treating Yourself as well as our information package that included the

P.A.C.E. brochure and MedCannAccess contact informa- tion. While one area of the show allowed participates to purchase liquor tickets to sample alcohol beverages we were constantly asked. Throughout the weekend many people asked us about free bud samples and some even wanted to provide samples through the Volcano vapour- izer that we had set up in our display.

While we weren’t allowed to provide samples in the vapour bags or otherwise we were able to provide them with the knowledge of knowing that you do not have to smoke cannabis to medicate. The Volcano allowed us to show how vapourizing is an alternative to smoking and then we would point them to our alternative consumption tower that contained some eatables on it. Many people were surprised to see that you could do this but they were also very thankful to know that people could reuse the medication because it wasn’t burnt.

The businesses around us seemed very supportive. We talked with many of them with one of those being the Herbal Magic people. While they call themselves Herbal Magic the Treating Yourself booth was the one to see and ask questions about the magical herb.

Throughout the weekend we didn’t run into any big fights or arguments but there was two occasions were there could have been and this wasn’t even from the show goers but security. Twice I was approached and asked about my cannabis, which I told them was medical and that I was licensed. But both times it didn’t matter to those who com- plained. One of the complaints came from one of the booths near the loading dock. They said that the smell was bothering them but we found it odd that they didn’t com- plain about the emissions that were floating by their booth that were caused by trucks and cars parking at the load- ing dock four floors underground. Then there was the guard who approached me outside near the smoking area. He asked me about things but wasn’t sure how to deal with me. In the end he took the chair I was seated on, so he could put it away thus leaving me with no place to sit unless I wanted to go sit on a bench out of the way.

In the end, no matter how many people question us while we medicate, the people attending this show and the oth- ers that Treating Yourself appears at will always ask us about the truth of cannabis, even when if those in author- ity don’t understand.

P.A.C.E. and MedCannAccess would like to thank Marco and Treating Yourself with the opportunity to educate massive crowds like what we saw at this show. Throughout the weekend we talked with an unknown number of people that are now people that are better edu- cated on cannabis than when they arrived. These people now are sharing their experience of talking to us and who knows, maybe now they are People Advocating Cannabis Education.

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