The world’s largest free Earth Day festival, in San Diego’s Balboa Park, was the site of a Canna Village for the first time on Sunday, April 23. The event featured more than 40 vendors eager to engage with the 60,000 people attending the festivities that celebrate the environment and sustainability.
A dedicated stage for the Canna Village hosted talks by cannabis industry entrepreneurs, as well as musical entertainment. The show’s headliner was reggae artist Pato Banton, famous for his ode to weed “Don’t Sniff Coke.”
During his performance, Banton noticed marijuana enthusiasts handing out buds from huge baggies of ganja and invited them onstage. A free-for-all resulted as a rush of potheads grabbed greedily for the free herb.
Keeping with the theme of Earth Day, the renewable commercial uses of cannabis were also on display. Hemp fabric, apparel and paper were all available for purchase. Even a hemp-based sustainable building material got its day in the sun.
Sergiy Kovalenkov, the founder of building products company Hempire, flew to San Diego from the Ukraine to build a “hemp house” for the Canna Village. The structure was used to demonstrate Hempire Mix, a cannabis-based insulation made by his firm. The product uses hemp and natural lime to create a renewable and versatile insulation that is free of harmful chemicals. Hempire Mix has been used in construction projects across Europe since 2010. Plans are currently being made to construct the first hemp house in California, within one year’s time.
Other vendors and speakers were at the Canna Village to share the benefits of medical marijuana. Dispensaries and manufacturers shared the benefits of cannabinoid therapies, although products containing THC were not permitted to be sold at the event.
Dr. Stuart Titus, PhD, the CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc., saw Earth Day as an opportunity to connect with a community receptive to naturally derived medical treatments. Titus was one of the educational speakers on the event stage, delivering a lecture on the science of cannabinoids. Medical Marijuana, Inc. and its subsidiary, HempMeds, were sponsors of the Canna Village. HempMeds was also one of the festival vendors, offering its hemp-derived CBD products and information about their benefits.
Dion Markgraaff, of investment company General Hemp, organized the Earth Fair Canna Village with the Association of Cannabis Professionals. After years of planning, he was very excited by the success of the event and is already looking ahead to Earth Day 2018.
The long-time marijuana activist envisions a larger village, perhaps by as much as two to three times the size of this year’s. He sees the annual observance of environmental awareness as the perfect forum to spread marijuana’s green message.
“Cannabis is a big part of the solution we need for the planet’s environmental and economic problems,” Markgraaff said.