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First Annual Hempfest Sacramento

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Medical marijuana awareness will reach its peak in Sacramento and Sutter counties this weekend as the Freedom Entertainment Group presents the inaugural Hempfest Sacramento.

The purpose of the event is to “promote awareness and to educate the uneducated on the purposes and benefits of cannabis,” said Kristina Wheeler, event organizer for the festival.

The three-day festival will take place at the Rio Ramaza Marina, RV & Event Park in south Sutter County. The 14-acre marina is complete with an outside dance floor, misting fans and plenty of shade and is known for hosting zydeco music, pirate festivals and Louisiana-style food-and-music-themed events.

The location also offers a two-night-stay campsite for those who wish to camp along the river. The campsite has 75 tent spaces at $30 per night, and each campsite can only accommodate one vehicle.

Wheeler said that she and the other organizers chose the location because of the atmosphere of the marina and the added perk of being right next to the Sacramento River.

Susan Ramon, event coordinator for the marina, said that she didn’t give Hempfest organizers an answer at first.

“I had to kind of check into it,” the 63-year old said. “This is from a person who had no knowledge at all on the subject. I couldn’t make an informed decision.”

After researching information about medical marijuana and the success of past festivals held in other counties, she agreed to hold the festival on the marina’s grounds.

“We wanted to do something fun and educational,” Wheeler said, speaking for the Freedom Entertainment Group. The group organizes large events for clients, but conceived this one on its own, Wheeler said.

Tickets are $20 a day, or $40 for the full weekend. They will be $25 a day or $50 for the weekend if bought at the gate.Attendees can buy the tickets early online or from specified locations on the website.

The festival will host to about 50 vendors, including medical marijuana dispensaries, food and beverages, massage booths, clothing and hemp products, as well as about 13 performers throughout the weekend, including Warren G., Flesh-N-Bone from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Ditch, Normal Bean Band, Selekta Lou, several DJs and others.

Beer and wine will be sold at the festival in a designated area.

Highlights of the weekend will include a 215 Medication Zone – a separate smoking section only open to those who have a cannabis card, a VIP after party open to cannabis card holders, informational booths on the legal protocol behind the medicinal uses of marijuana and growing it at home, as well as cooking demonstrations for alternative methods of self-medicating.

“Some cancer patients can’t smoke or take pills,” Ramon said, “but what a wonderful thing when someone can suck on a lollipop and get a little relief.”

Each day will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 8 p.m. unless attendees have a special wristband. A cannabis card is required to enter the VIP after party. VIP tickets will be on sale at the festival for $50.

For those who don’t have a cannabis card, there will be clinics and doctors available to issue on-site cannabis cards.

Wheeler said that there will be no sales of cannabis or edibles at the event, but those with verified cannabis cards will be allowed to bring their own medicinals as long as they stay in the designated 215 area.

1 Love Wellness Center – one of the many dispensaries attending the event – will be handing out pamphlets concerning the medicinal benefits of cannabis, the kinds of ailments cannabis targets, and informational materials on how to apply for a cannabis card.

“Socially, it’s becoming more accepted, but there are people who are still skeptical, and we hope to be able to inform them. This event will be more educational than anything,” said Ryan Chua, marketing manager for the 1 Love Wellness Center.

“I think some people will be enlightened, and some will be outraged,” Ramon said. What’s most important for the festival, she added, is the containment, legality and accountability.

“We are taking every measure to ensure safety,” Wheeler said, adding that there will be security at the event, though only as a precaution.

Wheeler said they are expecting about 10,000 attendees for the weekend.

Though many are expected, traffic is the only potential problem Ramon said she anticipates. Shuttles will be running up and down Garden Highway, she said, from the nearest hotel to the festival, to eliminate much of the traffic in the area.

The biggest hope for the festival, Wheeler said, “I hope it brings the community together and that people against it get that knowledge before they judge it."

For more information on the inaugural Hempfest Sacramento, visit the website.










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