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First-ever Mid-South Hemp Festival held in Tennessee aims to educate about medical marijuana & its benefits

Image Source : seattleweekly

First ever Mid-South Hemp Fest was organized at Overton Park on Saturday. The festival started at 10 a.m. lasting till 5 p.m., it hosted vendors or retailers selling or even promoting all sorts of hemp derived products like CBD infused foods and drinks, CBD Oil, hemp flower and cannabis smoking utensils.

The event was planned out by Lee Otts of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) Memphis Chapter, he said the event was envisioned to be on a much smaller scale, however, it outperformed their expectations and bloomed into one of the largest cannabis events ever held in several states. The increasing interest and participation by people in the event made their curiosity and acceptance quite evident indicating their urge for legal CBD in Tennessee.

A few decriminalization efforts have been stalled in the past few years, the recent being a push in the Tennessee legislature for legal hemp derived marijuana in 2018. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis), a Tennessee Rep. proposed a bill to take away felony charges for the possession of marijuana if present less than an ounce failed on April 10.

Otts said, “You shouldn’t be locking people up for a plant.” He further added that minorities who possess cannabis are four times more likely to be arrested than non-minorities with the same statistical usage which is not right.

A 2014 bill was passed in Tennessee which allowed hemp derived cannabinoid with lesser levels of THC than 0.3% for possession. THC is an inflammatory compound found in marijuana plants which is responsible for the high that users get while smoking weed. It is a harmful substance which can cause mental disorders, hallucinations and trigger seizures as well.

CBD on the other hand, is a chemical found in marijuana plants which can be significantly used for medical purposes as it is an anti-inflammatory and non-psychoactive component used to treat people with epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, reduce pain, swelling, inflammation, anxiety and improve sleep patterns.

The drug became legal in 2014 in Tennessee for oils to be infused in edibles.Otts said that he injured his neck a few years back, so he wants the state to open up new and better ways of treatment for patients for a faster recovery.

With a recent indictment of 60 medical professionals throughout the nation in a federal opioid crackdown including a few in Memphis, Otts said that he hopes for people to learn and assimilate the concept of medical marijuana and that they can rely on the drug for their treatment.

“They (doctors pushing opioids) are the ones that want to control the medical marijuana bills,” Otts said.

Arkansas recently legalized marijuana for medical use, with dispensaries set to open in the month of May. Otts commented that the acceptance of medical marijuana is growing in the Southern state which seems quite promising.

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A vendor at Hemp Fest, Ryan Rush of Rush Hemp Farms in Maryville, Tennessee gave away about 500 bottles of CBD oil and hemp flowers to the visitors of the festival. He said that his aim was to reach out to the lower income group of people and give them CBD as a gift for their medical issues that they might have.

The bottles are 1,000 mg of CBD oil, with each costing about $100 retail summing up to about $50,000 in products he gifted away at the event. Rush said that his ultimate motto is to serve and cater effective CBD oil to people who can’t afford it.

“We’re not selling anything,” Rush said, he believes in the power of the drug and how revolutionary it possibly could be for the people. He says they are just trying to get this plant back into the conversation with as many people as they can by giving away products.

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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