CALIFORNIA: Marijuana culture took center stage on the first day of a high-profile organic cannabis competition at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, a first for the county and perhaps a harbinger of the drug’s eventual outright legalization.
Organizers expected the event Saturday and Sunday to draw 5,000 people daily to toke some of the best marijuana in the world, buy heirloom seeds, listen to music or sit in on panel discussions ranging from plant genetics and breeding to soil types and politics.
For some longtime Sonoma County residents, it was a bit surreal to see the fairgrounds transformed into a venue with cannabis-smoking tents for medical marijuana cardholders, or the Hall of Flowers turned into a showcase for marijuana planting mixes, bud trimmers, compost, glass pipes, vaporizers and hemp clothing.
“This is really pretty amazing. It’s come a heck of a long way,” said Santa Rosa defense attorney Steve Spiegelman, 58, whose practice includes marijuana cases. “It’s moving in a positive direction,” he said of societal attitudes toward marijuana, and its increasingly mainstream role.