Treating Yourself Expo 2013 Review

For almost 100 years governments have claimed that cannabis is dangerous and should not be consumed but with today’s technology and research many people are now questioning their claims.

Many of the answers to these concerns could be found during the weekend of May 24-26 at the 4th annual Treating Yourself Expo and FlameOff in Toronto,  Canada.

This one of a kind event is held every year at the Metro Toronto Convention Center in the  heart  of  the city’s downtown.

If you’ve never seen this place you’ll be happy to learn that it is a perfect venue for any event that requires a barrier free location for people with disabilities. While it’s great for the disabled, it’s also great for those who prefer not to drive downtown because of its access to many forms of public transit.

One has to ask themselves, if cannabis is so dangerous that it has to be illegal, then how can there be a show this large, that proves all the benefits of the plant like the Treating Yourself Expo?

Would one hundred and fifty vendors travel from the United States, Europe, Africa and all across Canada for something that is so harmful? I don’t think so and I believe many would agree.

Fortunately for us, today’s world of the internet has increased one’s knowledge of cannabis so that everyone is learning its benefits. Because of this connection, these people were present to promote the health benefits of cannabis as well as their businesses to the thousands of people that were attending the expo.

These are businesses that believe that the law is wrong and that people deserve legal access to this extraordinary plant.

During the four years that Treating Yourself Publisher and Editor Marco Renda has run this show it has done nothing but grow. Every year he makes sure that there are lots of vendors and speakers to educate the masses and while also giving the public the information and the knowledge that they seek.

This year there were the usual compassion centers in attendance but there were also new businesses such as the Cannabinoid Medical Clinic that are getting prepared for when the new Canadian medical marijuana program begins in 2014.

For those who wanted to know more about the legalization of cannabis, there were large advocacy groups such as NORML.ca, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and Dads 4 Marijuana as well  as many other smaller groups that were in attendance.

Also there to talk about cannabis legalization were the Young Liberals of Canada. This young group  worked  very hard to pass their resolution to legalize cannabis at the party’s last policy convention so it was good to see them out explaining and talking to the people about it.

Along with education being available, there were also businesses that provided people with everything from plant nutrients to information on how to grow. Companies such as Advance Nutrients, Green Planet, and Super Natural, to smaller companies such as Better World and Cyclorganic Fertilizer Company were present.

I had a good conversation with Bicky Millin, the company’s Vice President. Bicky was telling me that their product, which is based on NASA technology, relies on dead larvae to feed your plants.

While one may find this strange there was plenty of proof that the Milinator Technology works really well. Retail distribution stores such as Homegrown Hydroponics and Mega Watt where also present.

When you ventured over to the Mega Watt booth you quickly found yourself attracted to the old garden equipped van surrounded by Thunder Vak trimming products within their display.

When it came to glass items, low end pieces could be bought or you could purchase high end products from places such as ROOR, High Society Glass, Borohouse Originals.

If you couldn’t find something in these booths, you could always check out the glass items created by glass blowers from across North America and beyond in the Not Just Marbles area.

Some of the magazine businesses that help to educate the public were also on hand. While you expect Treating Yourself Magazine to be there, others such as Glass. Culture and Cannabis Digest also had booths. The Treating Yourself booth was occupied by P.A.C.E. volunteers Holly, Clarence and Ali who have recently begun getting involved in the cannabis community. Joining them was our friend Julia Rose and her companions Jerry and Jordan, all with the Peter McWilliams Organization.

All six of them handed out TY magazines while Julia talked to people about her friend Peter and members of P.A.C.E. handed out their medicinal links brochure. Cannabis Digest’s publisher and Hempology 101 author Ted Smith, who made his way in from Vancouver, told me he looked forward to a weekend where he could spend time meeting and talking to others from around the world.

This I can verify, as all weekend long I spotted Ted talking to the vendors about his book and Cannabis Digest. Glass Culture is a new adventure for Marco and one that will help showcase “glass art” for people to consume their cannabis with. Not only does it showcase these items but it also branches off onto the many other products that the blowers create such as marbles.

When I talked to the booth helpers, Fourtwenty Deb and Tammy, about the reaction to the magazine they both agreed that it had been tremendous.

Deb told me afterwards that throughout the weekend she broke every nail on her fingers handing away the free copies. This year visitors included some of our international travelling friends such as Arjan and Franco from Greenhouse as well as Luke from Paradise Seeds, returning to attend
the Expo. Martin and Lazlo from ROOR Germany were back but this year they brought along a seed company called ROOR Seeds.

Da Vinci, the popular portable vaporizer manufacturer, informed me on Sunday that they had sold out and were down to only a proto type and a show unit. Presently, this unit is one of the best ones available for herb along with the affordable Magic Flight Launch Box. Julie Chiariello, the Sales and Marketing Director of Magic Flight, a company based out of San Diego California was telling me how excited they were to be here in Canada and how pleased they were with the show’s turn out.

During our conversation Julie mentioned that Magic Flight has a compassion program where they donate cosmetically flawed units to medical users. To find out more about this program you can contact her through the company’s website.

Not all of the new vendors travelled from afar and not all of them were cannabis related. This would be the case with show sponsor and local vendors Phil and Jacquie Richardson, owners of Dunnette Landing Cottage and Campground on Rice Lake.

The two of them were joined by their friendly and knowledgeable staff; Dawn Windle, Bruce Maclauclin, and Sean Marcon. While cottages and campgrounds may seem odd at a cannabis show it’s not when it’s a medicinal cannabis friendly resort.

Their location near Cobourg, Ontario, Canada is just east of the city of Toronto. It offers great fishing and a waterway that never seems to end. While at this cottage resort, a medical cannabis user can enjoy some camping and other activities without the concern of being hassled or needing to hide their medicine due to concerns of being evicted. During the weekend the company held a draw for a week away at the resort which included a boat and motor for the stay. Afterwards Jacquie informed me that “the draw was made by one of their permanent campers, and we are excited to say that the winner is Vince Peck.” She went on to say that “we have contacted him, and he is excited about his forthcoming stay here”.

When I asked her how the response has been since the show, she reported that “the response at the show and since has been overwhelming! Our Facebook page as been extremely active with many people from the canna community, and beyond! “ Also new this year and not cannabis related was Jacob from Utopia Therapy.

Fourtwenty Deb and I had met Jacob while participating in the Toronto National Women’s Show as he had a booth beside us. When he saw us promoting the Expo that weekend he decided that he’d look into it and after doing so, he chose to get himself a booth.

He mentioned to Fourtwenty Deb after the expo that he was very happy to attend Canada’s only medical marijuana show and looks forward to coming back next year. Getting non-cannabis vendors that represent alternative
therapy is something that Marco has talked about over the years.

It was also good to see that others have joined Deborah from The Massage Lady, who has participated at the Expo for the last three years and keeps coming back. Her booth was busy all weekend long and its vendors like her and others that are allowing the event to open up to people outside of the cannabis business community.

The Expo had guest speakers such as Dr. William Courtney from California who spoke about the benefits of juicing raw cannabis. Dr. Courtney also talked to everyone about the plants regular medicinal benefits and how important it was to consume the raw plant material in order to get everything out of it.

Many people only know about the smoking of cannabis and that you can get high from it. Dr. Courtney has discovered that humans can consume the plant raw, through a juicing process, and in doing so receive different medicinal benefit without the euphoric high. Consuming cannabis without heat changes the effect it has on someone. For example heating THC can change its medical benefits, as it goes from being helpful as an anti-spasmodic medicine to becoming one that can help as an anti-epileptic.

Dr. Courtney’s wife Kristen also took the stage where she talked about how her husband’s research has benefited her in the past to its benefits of today. While she talked about this she also touched on the fear of knowing that at anytime the US government could walk into their home and take their young children away from them. With tears appearing and a crackle in her voice she spoke of the devastation that her family would go through when and if the DEA shows up at their door.

Following the Courtney’s on Saturday was Hempologist John Dvorak, who has been studying Cannabis Hemp and its prohibition for over 20 years. The information on him stated that his website, Hempology.Org “is full of articles and images documenting Hemp’s rich past and his Cannabis Curriculum is an effort to encourage more research into the numerous beneficial aspects of Cannabis Hemp while also documenting the devastating effects that its prohibition has on society.”

Saturday brought Dr. Paul Hornby to the stage, a man who comes every year to talk about the advances in cannabis medicine and the work that he has done and continues to do. According to the information supplied to
those listening to him, they learned that for the past 12 years his laboratory “has focused primarily on cannabis medicine and in that time we have been astounded time and time again at the profound efficacy and apparent safety of the plant.”

Also speaking on Saturday was Joy Davies, a Director of the BC Chapter for Canadian Medical Cannabis Partner, which is a “non-profit organization of volunteer patients and caregivers who have been lobbying our provincial
government to strike a task force to set parameters for a provincial medical cannabis program under Section 56 of the CDSA (Controlled Drugs & Substance Act)”.

Also joining Dr. Hornby and Ms. Davies was BC lawyer John Conroy who rounded up Saturday’s speakers. If you don’t know about John Conroy, he is one of the lawyers who fought before the Supreme Court of Canada to legalize cannabis back in 2003.

While it has been 10 years since that challenge, he is still involved in fighting for our cannabis rights.

Those who were present during his talk learned that he is presently “the lawyer working with The Coalition Against Repeal. The Coalition is seeking information for the prosecution or resolution of the claims against Health Canada. If the action for injunction from The Federal Supreme Court of Canada is resolved by way of judgment, they will move forth with a constitutional challenge.

If unsuccessful and Health Canada is able to introduce the MMPR in full force, they plan to file for Class Action at the applicable time.” The seminar stage was also used to announce some very deserving awards.

This year Marco presented Sundays speaker Julia Rose, of the Peter McWilliams Organization, with an Angel Activist Award for her tireless efforts to tell Peter’s story. Even as a non-consuming person Julia has seen the many benefits of the cannabis plant and want to keep Peter’s work alive. Peter who was a poet and an author who once had a book appear on the New York Times Best Sellers Book List passed away in June of 2000.

Also winning an award on this weekend was Michael D Jensen. Michael, who was presented this award by Michael (Puffdog) Thomas, was picked by the Dad’s 4 Marijuana advocacy group as their Humanitarian Award winner. Michael was presented this award for the effect and thetime that he puts in helping other patients and for the advocacy work he has done and continues to do.

When the VIP Judges arrived they were greeted with a TY Expo VIP Bag which contained nineteen Med-Tainers, each containing a different cannabis strain to be judged. These air tight containers will hold your buds for you while keeping them fresh and dry. Another important thing about them is that they come with a built in grinder and special TY logo on them. These new tools were a hot item as every time I went passed their booth, John Berfelo, the Med-Tainer rep was always busy.

Also within the bag were a TY Expo and FlameOff t-shirt along with special pins for people to add to their collection. These pins were for the businesses connected to Treating Yourself such as Vape on the Lake, Glass Culture Magazine, Not Just Marbles, the TY Expo, and Treating Yourself Magazine. On top of these items, the judges also found themselves with a weekend pass, dinner for both Friday and Saturday night as well as musical performances by Mob Barley and the Wailers and Canada’s number one canna-rock group, The Killin Time Band.

While not part of the VIP package who picked them up were greeted with hugs and good karma by the booth workers, Dianne and Paul. This led to announcements being made on Sunday, to let the VIP’s know that they had to hand in their judging forms and to get their second round of free hugs.

The location for Friday’s dinner was the Fountain Blu Hall on Prince’s Boulevard within the Canadian National Exhibition grounds. When we arrived the tables were set and the band was just arriving. While people gathered together and found themselves a spot to sit, servers were coming around and offering everyone appetizers.

Once all had arrived dinner was served which consisted of pasta and salad, burgers and crab cakes, as well as oriental food. Once everyone had eaten and the food was removed, Mob Barely and the Railers took to the stage. In the past only VIP’s were involved in this but this year tickets could be bought for the entertainment part of the evening. The band played every Bob Marley hit that you could think of.

During their performance of No Woman No Cry a staff worker, who was not part of the band, walked into the room and joined them on stage. Saturday night’s dinner brought the VIP’s to the Mob Club on College St in the city where they were once again served dinner and some entertainment. But on this night we were entertained by The Killin Time Band and a couple of their friends.

Joining them on this night were a saxophone player as well as a man on the bongos. Tammy, Deb, Clarence and I had a perfect spot up on a balcony in order to see the band while we enjoyed our dinner. The group rolled out many of their hits such as Three Day Weekend, Killin Time, and Doesn’t Make Sense along with some of their new tunes while the place filled with a cloud of dry ice.

Last year Marco introduced the TYFlameOff glass blowing contest to the Expo and this year he brought it back with a bang. Last year the glass blowing was held in a corner while this year it was the main attraction across the back of the hall. Compared to last year the contest location was much larger which provided more room for the contestants and their fellow glass blowers.

Also new was the addition of three large TV monitors set up around the seating area allowing show goers a close up view of the action. The teams were also formed different this year. Instead of just having three teams, Marco changed things up to have three teams each representing the country in which they reside, Team Canada, Team Japan, and Team USA. Many of those who attended stood by or watched from the seating area as the teams worked their magic.

A few other changes this year include the addition of Greg Andruszczenko who came all the way from Holland to be the musical DJ for the glass blowing area as well Ben Burton who was the MC for the contest. Having Ben there allowed those watching to learn what the artists were doing. Watching is one thing but listening to how something is being created is another.

Another change this year was that Marco had some of the top glass artists from North America set up an area named after his new store, Not Just Marbles, which allowed them to showcase and sell their products. Every morning of the show this location was a magnet, people would head straight to this area to admire and purchase products made by Dave Strobel, Zach Jorgenson, Mike Gong, Gateson Recko and many other glass artists.

Once the TYFlameOff glass blowing competition was complete, the team’s final products were put on display for everyone to see.

The team known as “The Canadian EH Team” sponsored by Liquid Chrome of Barrie, Ontario placed third with their “Skeleton Bird” pipe. The GLASSCRAFT sponsored USA team finished second for their design of the “Emerald Castle” from the Wizard of Oz. This piece even included the red ruby slippers that the wicked witch was wearing when the house landed. Coming in first place was the team from Japan sponsored by MADE. These guys created a piece called “Donchan” that featured a drinking cup for dabbing that had internal artwork that was out of this world. They also created a dab tray and a dabbing tool to go along with it.

Along with the awards for the advocates and the glass blowing there were also awards for the vendors who took part in the Expo. Once again the crew from Advance Nutrients went home the happy winners with their double deck platform set up that doubled as a meeting place or a location where people could get a view from above.

The company also holds a matching number contest that allows those attending the show a chance at winning a thousand dollars worth of nutrient products. For their efforts, Marco announced that they would be getting a free booth for next year’s show.

The VIP’s were involved in the TY Medicinal Cup which is a contest of cannabis growers and seed companies vying for the best cannabis available. The VIP judges tested and evaluated strains that were supplied by private growers and from compassion clubs across Canada. Congratulations go out to both the Urban Grower (Chemo Kush and Blue Cheese) as well as to Imedicate (Chocolope, Kosher Kush) for being multiple winners in this contest. When it comes to the seed company cups, a number of specialty picked judges joined Marco at a location to determine the winners. During the process, judges test different company’s strains for things such as smell, appearance, burn ability, as well as its medicinal benefits.

They go through this testing in order to determine who has the best indica and sativa genetics available on the market today. The big winners over the weekend were Med Man Genetics who took home three (Pain Killer, Rockstar West, Coast Diesel) of the six cups available to the seed companies. Also winning on this day were Dinefem (Blue Widow), The CBD Crew (Skunk Haze), Paradise Seeds (White Berry) and J Green of Male Man Seeds (Super Lemon Haze). A big congratulation goes out to all those who won and a big thank you to all who competed in the cup.

The weekend wouldn‘t be complete without a visit to the world’s largest Vapor Lounge. While it was popular, it wasn’t accessible to everyone unless you were a patient who could prove their need. This year, the lounge featured familiar units from Volcano, Herbal Aire, Ver Damper and ROOR with the latter two being bong designed units. Volunteers Jo-Anne and Paul were always busy helping patients with the Volcano and distributing the spare parts that the manufacturer had sent along.

There were a few new things within the lounge for the patients to test out. This would include the budder dabbing unit that can be attached to the Ver Damper and the Herbal Aire being able to be hooked up to a bong, thus allowing the vapors to be water filtered and cooled before being inhaled. Not allows those attending the show a chance at winning a thousand dollars worth of nutrient products. For their efforts, Marco announced that they would be getting a free booth for next year’s show. The VIP’s were involved in the TY Medicinal Cup which is a contest of cannabis growers and seed companies vying for the best cannabis available.

The VIP judges tested and evaluated strains that were supplied by private growers and from compassion clubs across Canada. Congratulations go out to both the Urban Grower (Chemo Kush and Blue Cheese) as well as to Imedicate (Chocolope, Kosher Kush) for being multiple winners in this contest. When it comes to the seed company cups, a number of specialty picked judges joined Marco at a location to determine the winners. During the process, judges test different company’s strains for things such as smell, appearance, burn ability, as well as its medicinal benefits.

They go through this testing in order to determine who has the best indica and sativa genetics available on the market today. The big winners over the weekend were Med Man Genetics who took home three (Pain Killer, Rockstar West, Coast Diesel) of the six cups available to the seed companies. Also winning on this day were Dinefem (Blue Widow), The CBD Crew (Skunk Haze), Paradise Seeds (White Berry) and J Green of Male Man Seeds (Super Lemon Haze). A big congratulation goes out to all those who won and a big thank you to all who competed in the cup.

The weekend wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the world’s largest Vapor Lounge. While it was popular, it wasn’t accessible to everyone unless you were a patient who could prove their need. This year, the lounge featured familiar units from Volcano, Herbal Aire, Ver Damper and ROOR with the latter two being bong designed units. Volunteers Jo-Anne and Paul were always busy helping patients with the Volcano and distributing the spare parts that the manufacturer had sent along. There were a few new things within the lounge for the patients to test out.

This would include the budder dabbing unit that can be attached to the Ver Damper and the Herbal Aire being able to be hooked up to a bong, thus allowing the vapors to be water filtered and cooled before being inhaled.

Not only were new ways of using a vaporizer present but a new table was also added in this area where patients were able to test out the newest item available, the electric nail, a dabbing station.

Each and every day that the Expo was held, it broke attendance records as people want to learn something that those in authority have kept from them. Not only was attendance up but it was also announced Sunday morning that over a dozen new vendors have committed to participating in next year’s show.

This not only shows that things are getting better but the event on a whole is maturing and becoming more main stream, a stream that the cannabis consumer knows is slowing happening. Everyone knows how important this event has become to the cannabis community.

It’s a location that allows educated and uneducated people to learn more about this plant, it’s an event that allows people to network and set plans in place for the next year and it’s where you meet the people you only get to write to on Facebook or other social media platforms.

Because of this and for many other reasons a big thank you goes out to Marco and everyone who was involved in making this year’s expo a reality. This includes everyone from the vendors, the volunteers, the glass blowers, the security staff who were hired to keep everything safe and Jim Mahon whose staff at International Trade Show Services keeps things going before and well after the show has ended.

But a big special thank you has to go to all those people who attended the show to see what it has to offer to them because without those who want to learn, the show would not continue. Thank you, one and all.

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