Marijuana celebrated at National Cannabis Festival

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thousands of people spent Saturday afternoon at the RFK Festival Grounds for what was billed as the first ever National Cannabis Festival.

The event was part celebration and part education as organizers wanted to commemorate the victories of marijuana legalization in Washington, D.C. and across the country.

“We’re at a time when we can really focus on D.C. It’s almost a blueprint for other metropolitan areas,” said Caroline Phillips, Co-Founder, National Cannabis Festival.

Along with live music and vendors, the festival featured an education pavilion featuring discussions about continuing efforts to legalize marijuana.

“I think there’s a good chance that federal prohibition as we know it, will be over by 2020,” said one of the panelists.

Some attendees said they came to the festival, hoping to learn how to advance the issue in their own state.

“D.C., Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania. You know, we’re surrounded, and Virginia. We’re surrounded by the movement and West Virginia needs to get on board,” said Clai Lashley, a West Virginia resident.

In D.C., it is legal to grow up to six marijuana plants, possess up to two ounces, and consume marijuana on private property. However, it cannot be sold or consumed/smoked on public space. This past week, D.C. council passed a permanent ban on private marijuana clubs.

Phillips called it a setback, but hopes events like this festival will show naysayers a different side of the cannabis community.

“We can have a wonderful gathering. That we can talk about policy and have education sessions and we can listen to music. I think it’s about normalizing cannabis for people.”