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Did local media get ‘smoked’ at Oakland hemp expo?

Monday, September 12, 2011

imageWhether or not you thought Oakland’s International Cannabis and Hemp Expo over Labor Day weekend was a good idea—the Oakland Tribune editorial board thinks not—one does have to question why, despite allowing it in front of City Hall, city officials did what they could to dissuade news coverage. And why, as the Tribune suggests, local media outlets pretty much rolled over for them. An excerpt:

Oakland officials worked with festival organizers to set up zones where individuals with medical marijuana cards could smoke pot in public -- without fear of arrest. City Hall was a designated "215 area" -- a reference to Proposition 215, which legalized marijuana for personal medical use.

People who had valid medical cannabis cards were allowed to smoke, vaporize and ingest marijuana -- incredibly right in front of City Hall.

For those who did not have cards, no problem. Street vendors sold 50 percent off cannabis cards and trailers offered on-the-spot medical exams enabling people to become instantly legal and join in the festivities.

People traveled from far and wide to experience their own personal Woodstock.

City officials, however, apparently didn't want any permanent evidence of people smoking pot with City Hall as a backdrop. They banned media photographers and videographers from taking images of the tokers in front of the building.

News organizations should not have allowed City Hall to get away with such blatant censorship.

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