TY Expo & Flame Off

This demonstration/competition “helps to promote the culture because the glass industry is still in its infancy here in Canada.”

While the cannabis plant maybe illegal for some people in our society this Expo allowed everyone a chance to see what is really legal about it. Those who came in the door were able to see over 100 vendors selling everything that could be made from or made to consume the plant.

There was the hemp interactive booth that featured how people would make hemp clothing with the proper machinery or how they made them with knitting needles like that big wool sweater Granma made you but with hemp.  You  could see the many food products that are made for cannabis such as Advance Nutrients or Green Planet.

There was even Homegrown Hydroponics the large retail chain in attendance.

The Glass

While I haven’t mentioned the glass yet I can tell you  it was something that you had to see. The amount of glass products that were on display was out of this world. Not only the amount of it but the artistic designs were leaving many people speechless. When you arrived to the show the first thing you would see was a massive booth for the makers of Pure Glass. This booth had lots of product and

some of the latest hip hop music going as it came equipped with a DJ spinning the tunes. A short distance from them were the RX and PUFF booths; both having a large display of their glass products on hand. Once again RooR  was back and they didn’t disappoint anyone either as they had some fantastic glass products available for people to pur- chase. The one pipe that got them the most attention was their Ray Gun. This pipe, which was shaped like a futur- istic space gun, even came equipped with gasses that changed colour when you touched it. These coloured gas waves could also be seen moving within it while it sat untouched in its special compartment. The list of these companies could go on for a while but the one glass booth that seemed to change things as we know it was 1 of a Kind Glass.

If you think glass is just plain old glass that is shaped into  a tube so someone can just consume cannabis then you’ve got it all wrong. The glass at 1 of a Kind is just that, one   of a kind. The glass products at this booth are different than anything else that you would see at any glass shop. While most pipes can at times be pretty commercial looking the glass at this location was really out of this world.

When you stopped by their booth you would find pipes that looked like aliens to the finest piece of art that you’d want to put on display at an art gallery, never mind to be used to make one feel better. You could find yourself from a Friday the 13th Jason mask pipe to something that looked like it was created to be worn by a character at a bar in a Star Trek movie. There were even pipes that looked like little creatures that you would see in sci- fi movies whether it was a Disney production or one that wasn’t as popular. All you have to do is allow your imag- ination to wander and it was there.

While there was plenty of glass around the really hot glass was at the glass blowing contest. This year for the first time the TY Expo brought in three glass blowing teams from North America to compete in the first ever TY Flame Off. During Friday and Saturday these nine guys put together one of the hottest competitions in glass blowing. With a very long table set up the teams worked together amongst themselves to come up with some of the craziest designs. Through-out the weekend people were able to sit

in an area in front of them and watch how the guys creat- ed their art. Many people could be seen discussing with their friends trying to figure out what these guys were cre- ating and couldn’t wait until seeing the finished product  on display. Marco Renda the Editor and Publisher of Treating Yourself says that this demonstration/competi- tion “helps to promote the culture because the glass indus- try is still in its infancy here in Canada.”

Watching these guys was quite the thing. If your eyes could take staring into the torch flame or if you just took quick glances you would have seen the large flames and extremely red hot glass being twisted into shape. The heat that these competitors would feel not only here but also back home must be intense. Getting close to them allowed a good look at the concentration and effort  that  is required to create these works of art.

Once these guys were all done their work attracted piles  of people to their display. The final products ended up being a miniature CN Tower with a figure climbing it cre- ated by Team 3.

Team 2 made something that looked like a vase but had some multi legged creature attached to it. The winners of this contest went to Team 1 who created themselves quite the pipe. Their piece looked like a robot creature from outer space that came with two fighting flamingo’s that looked like they were up to the job.

Assistance

Glass wasn’t the only thing that was at this Expo as there were many other things to check out while you were here. If you were looking for advice on cannabis medication the Expo offered you many compassion centers  that  you could talk to such as MedCannAccess, C.A.L.M. (Cannabis as Living Medicine) to the Toronto Compassion  Center. You could also talk with the people at CAMCD who are a group of compassion centers from across Canada who have joined together to help set guidelines for the patients and doctors. The Toronto area compassion centers weren’t alone as the Northern Ontario Compassion Center, The London Compassion Club, The Cannabinoid Society and many others were all present. There was no shortage of centers that you could have talked to while you were here.

Speaking of assistance many medicinal people were happy to see the Vapour Lounge back once again this year. The lounge doesn’t allow just anyone to enter it as medicinal need must be proven before getting in. Once inside the lounge the patients found vaporizers such as the Volcano and the Herbal Aire awaiting them. For those who enjoy  a bong they would find the VerDamper and the Roor Bong Vaporizers set up and ready to go. When you can spend hundreds and even over a thousand dollars for some vaporizers it’s nice that people can try them here while also being able to medicate at the show.

Activism

If you don’t need assistance with getting a license but would rather assist people to help educate others then there was plenty of that here. Marco likes to make sure that the activist and or advocate in us also gets heard. With this in mind each year he sets up an Activism Alley where these groups can get together to promote them- selves and what they have been doing. This would include the NORML Woman’s Alliance with Kelly Coulter and Loretta Clark along with Paul Lewin and Kevin Benson from NORML Canada. The group lead by former law enforcement known as L.E.A.P or Law Enforcement Against Prohibition were also present. Former enforce- ment personal now advocates against prohibition William Vandergraaf and Alison Myrden were two of the people present. The advocates from British Columbia were also present as the Free Marc Emery group, POT-TV and Jacob Hunter of Whyprohibition all had booths for the show. While some people look at activism as people going out to rallies or getting involved in a local group this year’s activism brought in some political tones to it. Back this year once again was Dana Larsen and Nicole Sequin of

eNDProhibition but new this year was Daven Valentin of the Young Liberals. These two grassroots groups work with the mainstream political parties in order to help them shape their policies. While the countries cannabis policy is not what we prefer it’s  great to know that these two groups are present to get feedback from the people. Once they compile everyone’s ideas and thoughts they’ll be able to take them back to their respective parties. Since the Expo has come and gone I have now received an inquiry from the Young Green’s as they look forward to joining these other grassroots political parties at next year’s Expo.

Retail Vending

Besides glass what else was available at the TY Expo. That’s easy, everything to do with cannabis. If you needed some swanky bag to carry your latest bong or pipe in you could have found one at places such as Flight Distribution, Kushh or Kustom Kulture. Then there were the people over at KDK Distributing that had everything from a pipe that lights in the wind to the latest oil vapor- izer. On Sunday I stopped by the Head2Head Shop from Regina, Saskatchewan and struck up a conversation with its founder, Tim Selinski. Tim was telling me that he was sold out of everything and the only things he had left was a few business cards and flyers.

If you were looking for the latest strains of cannabis seeds to hit the market then this would be the place to get them. The companies that were present were almost endless. The big named guys such as Arjan, Olaf and Franco from Greenhouse were present as was Simon from Serious Seeds. Located near these two was their buddy from Paradise Seeds, Luke who was just around the corner from Royal Queen Seeds. The people from Medical Marijuana Seed Wholesale were also present as were Medicinal Cannabis Genetics. This was the first time MCG had a booth at the Expo but not the first time we have seen them. The first two years saw this company going home with five medicinal cup awards so it is good to see that they have now gotten their product available for other medical consumers.

If you are into art Georgiatoons, one of TY’s cartoonist was present as well was Noah’s Herbaria. While Georgia creates her cartoons through her creative tools and imag- ination, Imran creates his from dead cannabis plants and leaves. Not only were his art pieces created from cannabis plants but the plants were created by those who many loved on the TY forums, Swampy and Tank. If you found walking around the Expo hard on your back or feet, or maybe you have a hard time being up for long periods of time, the first thing you may think of is “I need a massage”. It just happens that you could receive a mas- sage at the show because for the second year in a row the people from The Massage Lady were present. While mas- saging may not connect directly to cannabis it does connect to the sick and injured.

Massage is an alternative medical route, like cannabis, and this booth is something that show goers don’t expect but do appreciate.

Social Media

This year more than ever the use of Social Media was present. Jeremiah Vandermeer of Pot- TV was present as was Mik Mann and Matt Mernaugh. These guys and others kept the Expo live streaming the whole time that they were present. At their booth you could see them doing interviews with many of the advocates that were present or you’d spot them walking around with their laptop showing everyone online what was happening. There were many times where they were spotted either in the Vapour Lounge or outside in the smoking area as they got the message out to those who couldn’t attend. Besides live streaming the Twitterverse was put into action as

many of the people attending the show were sending out messages to their followers as they informed them of this weekend long event. Cell phones were everywhere and people could be heard phoning friends or seen text mes- saging people.

It didn’t end there because as each day passed and people went home or back to their rooms, many of them would start to post their pictures on Facebook. These pictures would spread from one friend to the next as the word spread across the internet as to what was happening in Toronto. The events production crew got into the act as well as they were busy posting highlights on YouTube when each day ended.

Speakers

Besides walking around and seeing what the vendors have for sale or seeing the latest bongs being created, you could also take in a talk from some of the speakers in our fami- ly. This would include Dr. William Courtney and his wife Kristen who flew in from California with their two young children. While the doctor talked about the plants medic- inal values Kristen talked to everyone about her experi- ences with using raw juiced cannabis.

The ladies from the NORML Womens Alliance also spoke to those in attendance. One at a time each of them got up and talked about their situation and how prohibition has affected their lives and their family’s lives. This is a group of dedicated ladies who are fighting to repeal cannabis prohibition as the ladies did before them when alcohol was prohibited. Jody Emery got up and spoke with this group as well as on her own. During her talk she spoke about her husband, Marc Emery, and his ongoing situa- tion in the US jail system.

Also speaking on this weekend was BC lawyer John Conroy who spoke about the laws around cannabis and the new mandatory minimums. Mr. Conroy made sure to point out that as a defence attorney that it’s not in his best economic interests to fight against these laws, as it is his job to defend people against laws. But he knows that these laws do not work so he speaks out. Also speaking was Dr Darryl Hudson who spoke about the molecular biology and the genetics of cannabis. Back for a third year was Dr. Paul Hornby who discussed the plant and certain compo- nents that people are just learning about today.

This year the Expo did not have any music as it has had  in the past. While there were some issues with loud music I think Julia Rose might be onto something. She was here to talk about Peter McWilliams, an advocate who passed away while fighting for his rights for cannabis, but it just happens that she brought along a guitar and did an acoustic set that many people stopped and enjoyed. While it could be heard outside the stage it wasn’t so loud that the vendors couldn’t talk to the people at their booths.

The one thing that many people did comment about was the new set up of the stage area. In the past the stage could not be seen from the vending area but this year the organ- izers lowered the walls to about thirty inches which allowed for people who were walking by to catch a look  as to what is happening on stage. This not only got them to look but it also brought them into the seating. When it came to the awards show at the end of the event these

lowered walls allowed many people to watch it as they wouldn’t have fit into the lecture area to catch it.

The past two years the VIP dinners at the Expo have changed and this year was no different. Instead of going for a boat cruise or eating at the Conference Center, this year we went to the Amsterdam Brewery. When people arrived after the show closed on the Friday and Saturday, purchasers of the VIP tickets were treated to a dinner that included a variety of Asian noodles, chicken and Italian pasta dishes, salads as well as American burgers, crab and salmon cakes. Before dinner and while you were busy eat- ing these items servers were constantly coming around and offering small snack foods such as brochette or small beef or chicken pieces cooked up on a stick. If you arrived early you could go to a station that had plenty of fruit and vegetables prepared for people to munch on.

Summary

The Expo was enjoyed by the many people that came and went throughout the three days of the event. While many people took physical things home with them everyone who attended went home better educated on the value of cannabis. The attendance this year appears to be way up from previous years as the aisles have never been so busy in the first two Expo’s. When you watch the Highlights of Day One at the Expo you will hear Marco say “this is a viable industry where the government is potentially losing millions if not billions of dollars in tax revenue”. Unfortunately the government seems to be content with allowing organized crime to receive this money instead of the taxpayers of our country.

For a lot of the volunteers it was a time to meet some acquaintances from the years before. Many of our inter- national friends now recognize and greet us like regular friends and just like family.

When things ended many of us said our good-byes and said that we’d see each other all again next year. Many of us will go home with memories of this event such as young Zack Prentice. For years now Zack has been studying the strains that Greenhouse Seeds offer and who has only read about Franco, Arjan and Olaf in the magazines or online. For him to actually meet them and work with them at this Expo was something that he’d never dreamed off and something he’ll never forget. For others like Amy Anderson of Green Tree Hydroponics, who had only planned on being at the Expo for a few hours but ended  up staying for all three days. She went on to tell me that the Expo allowed her to make all kinds  of  connections and ideas on how to make her business grow. For Debra Hunter a person who hadn’t planned on attending and only did after winning the tickets in a draw said to us“ I would like to thank you and the people involved for one   of the best times I’ve ever had. My son, friend and I went to the Expo today and were amazed and very impressed
by the Expo.

We sat for a while and listened to speakers and visited every booth there. We loved the glass blowing and purchased several pieces. Came home with the knowledge and resources I need. Spoke to several people about getting help and thanks to the people at P.A.C.E. and Treating Yourself Magazine  I have  the  resources  to go for- ward. We had so much fun meeting and talking to so many people that were so positive that you got high just from that. Once again I would like to thank you for the wonderful day, next year I will plan on spending the weekend.”

All weekend long we saw advocates and just regular people hugging each other or people giving greeting and good bye kisses. We saw many people like Debra that came with members of her family. We also saw babies being pushed by mom or dad all throughout the weekend. In the end it proves that Sly and his family were correct when they sang “its a family affair, its a family affair”.

Marco says “this is a viable industry where the government is potentially losing millions if not billions of dollars in tax revenue”

As Marco says “See you all Next Year!!!!!”

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