Michigan Medical Marijuana Conference coming to Ann Arbor this weekend
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
Things are going to get a little hazy on the west side of Ann Arbor this weekend.
It may not have the instant name recognition of the Hash Bash in AnnArbor, but The Michigan Medical Marijuana Report is bringing the fifth Michigan Medical Marijuana Conference to the Clarion Hotel on Jackson Avenue in Ann Arbor.
The magazine has held one conference in Grand Rapids and is planning an event in Traverse City in September, but is returning to Ann Arbor for the third time.
“Ann Arbor is one of the bigger medical marijuana communities in the state,” editor and conference director Ed Gorski said.
“There always seems to be demand to know what’s new with the laws and what is upcoming. People want to stay ahead of the curve.”
The annual conference involves a combination of speakers, panel discussions and classes for medical marijuana growers and activists. The event kicks off Friday night with a panel that includes State Representative Mike Callton (R-Nashville) and Michigan Medical Marijuana Report owner Ben Horner.
The panel will discuss current medical marijuana legislation and “marijuana impact on society.” Last fall, citizens in Washington and Colorado voted that marijuana should be legalized, adding to the traction that the movement has been gaining over the past few years.
Gorski said that Saturday at the conference is more geared towards growers. The event is free to the public, but a $25 fee is required to participate in full day of activities.
“There are classes throughout the day and then we bring all the teachers together at the end and have a panel where you can ask them questions,” he said. “Then after that we have the cooking class.”
Throughout the conference, a vendor hall will be open to the public and will include displays from local dispensaries and a variety of other ganja-centric companies and organizations.
“A big part of the conference is all of the vendors who come,” he said.
“Marijuana Inc. will have a booth. they are the only marijuana company listed on a stock exchange. There is also a trimming company, a number of non-profit booths and live music to keep everyone entertained.”
In addition to the booths, doctors will be on hand at the hotel diagnosing patients and issuing medical marijuana certifications for $69.
“They mostly diagnose for chronic pain, that’s kind of the average,” Gorski said.
“We do see a lot of that, but you see illnesses from every end of the spectrum. We have people come in with multiple sclerosis and cancer. Our doctors deal with all varieties of sick people.”
The final event of the conference on Sunday is the declaration of the second annual Caregiver Cup awards, given to the best marijuana strains in four different categories. According to an entry form, the strains are judged on cannibinoid percentage, medical potency, flavor and appearance.
“The last cup we had 147 entries, so it’s quite a long process to determine the winner,” Gorski said.
Gorski said that about 500 people attended each of the past two Ann Arbor conferences, and he’s expecting about that many people again this year.
Ben Freed covers business for AnnArbor.com. You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2