By R.J. Villa
This month the City of Toronto, Canada will be hosting the 2nd Annual Treating Yourself Expo. Canadaâ€™s annual alternative medicine expo is June 3rd â€“ 5th and will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The Treating Yourself Expo offers three days of education and networking, along with a more hands on look at various products for cultivation, utensils and seeds offered within the industry. The expo will feature hundreds of vendors from all over the world who specialize in the medicinal use and production of high-quality medical marijuana. Patients, professionals, distributors, and manufacturers from the hemp, medicinal marijuana, and alternative medicine industries from North America and Europe will be at the expo educating, exhibiting, demonstrating, lecturing, selling and showcasing their products to an expected crowd of over 20,000 throughout the weekend.
â€œWell, last year, our first expo received approx. 8,300 attendees,â€ comments Marco Renda, founder and publisher of Treating Yourself â€“ The Alternative Medicine Journal. â€œThis year weÂ have already more than doubled our advance ticket sales from last year. We alsoÂ have a lot more vendors.â€
The expo will also host the 2011 Global Marijuana Music Awards with live entertainment from Los Marijuanos, The Andy Salge Project, DJ Slim, Northern Lights and Rich Hardesty. In addition to vendors and advertisers, Treating Yourself will be hosting a series of seminars and workshops on subjects like activism, alternative medicine, cooking, cultivation, hemp, medical marijuana, nutrition, safety, security and more. Confirmed guest speakers include Dr. Robert Melamede (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs), Dr. Juan Sanchez â€“ Ramos (University of South Florida), Dr. William Courtney, Dr. Paul Hornby, Mary Lynn Mathre, Irvin Rosenfeld, Michael Krawitz and Tali Clavijo. The expo will also host a feature area where Treating Yourself cartoon artists Ivan Art, Happy Hippie and Joshua Boulet will be exhibiting their artistic talents.
Returning this year will be the Seed Company Indica Cup, Seed Company Sativa Cup, and the Private Grower and Compassion Club Cup. Two new competitions include Best Booth and Best Glass. All attendees will be given a vote for Best Booth and Glass; however, only VIP judges will be voting on the Private Grower and Compassion Club Cup, and only VIP guests will be voting on the Seed Company Cups.
This year the expo will offer a facility-approved 4,000 square foot vapor lounge to accommodate medical marijuana patients, allowing them to medicate on site as needed in a very relaxed and secure environment. The expo will provide De Verdamper, HerbalAire, and Volcano vaporizers to name a few. Even more makes and models will be available, so patients can zero in on the vaporizer most suited to their needs. No selling or distribution of medication will be permitted, but patients are encouraged to bring their own cannabis.â€¨â€¨â€œWell, it took a lot to get this pulled off,â€ adds Renda. â€œSmoking is not allowed in any public place in Canada, but I stressed to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre management that patients need to be able to medicate while attending the expo. I suggested that they allow me to have a vapor lounge. Nobody thought that I could pull it off, especially in a building that is owned by the Province of Ontarioâ€™s Government as well as the City of Toronto.â€ â€¨â€¨Consuming medical cannabis within the doors of a government and city-owned convention center may seem bold, but all appropriate channels were navigated in order to get the vapor lounge approved and legal.
â€œWe had to get approval from the fire marshal,â€ mentions Renda. â€œLast year we had a private security firm manning the door, but they were overly strict as to who was a valid patient due to the fact that the entrance was at street level.Â This year the vapor lounge is on the same floor as the vendors and we will have patients manning the door to make sure that more patients are allowed into the lounge. What we here at Treating Yourself consider a valid patient is someone who is of legal age and chooses to use marijuana as their medicine. In the vapor lounge, patients will be able to try various vaporizers for free. They will of course have to provide their own bud. The best memory (of last yearâ€™s expo) was seeing all these undercover police attend the expo and leave everyone alone. Nobody was harassed or arrested for using marijuana. The only thing that the undercover police were interested in was the sale and distribution of marijuana as that is still ILLEGAL here in Canada. Patients have to either grow their own, assign someone to grow the meds for them, or purchase their meds from the federal government.â€
The expo came to be through the efforts of Renda, founder and publisher of Treating Yourself, The Alternative Medicine Journal. Treating Yourself is a patient-written publication for patients. Its aim is to educate, inform and provide patients with information and access to reliable and safe products. â€¨â€¨â€œTreating Yourself is in its 6th year,â€ says Renda. â€œWe started out as a quarterly, but we now publish six times per year. I launched our first issue at the High Times Cannabis Cup in November of 2005 and we haven’t looked back since. To tell you the truth, the folks at High Times laughed at me when I first launched Treating Yourself, saying they weren’t worried about me asÂ I wasn’t competition. They don’t think that way today, that’s for sure.â€
Its mission is to build awareness, educate, generate interest and provide our readers (which include medical marijuana and alternative medicine users, members of the hemp community, their caregivers and all professionals) with conscientious, ethical, and reliable information to assist them with the management of their wide and varying medical needs.
Treating Yourself has now become a worldwide distributed magazine, tagging readers as far away as Australia, France, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, Russia, and Spain, just to name a few. For those who cannot obtain a print copy of the publication, they post every issue for free download on their website. The articles and interviews with Eddy Lepp, Jack Herer and Joe Rogan in some of the back issues are not to be missed. Renda admits that when he first started publishing, he realized he had a good challenge to get the journal off the ground.
â€œTo tell you the truth, I had no clue as to what I would be able to accomplish as I had no publishing background and I didn’t even get past grade nine. I failed English. I guess you can tell with all the errors in the earlier days of theÂ magazine. Today, we have a retired newspaper editor helping out with the copy editing.â€
Renda is very grateful for the support that helped Treating Yourself in its early days.
â€œI would also like to give a shout-out to my parents as they have been instrumental with all their support and contributions.â€
For more information on the Treating Yourself Expo or the Treating Yourself publication, please visit www.treatingyourself.com â€¨â€¨The Treating Yourself Expo is open to everyone over 16. Anyone under the age of 16 will need to bring a legal guardian to enter.
1 day pass $15 â€¨2 day pass $20â€¨3 day pass is $25â€¨â€¨VIP Judge Pass is $350 and there are limited in availability
Expo Hours:â€¨Friday 10Am â€“ 8PMâ€¨Saturday 10Am â€“ 8PMâ€¨Sunday 10 Am â€“ 6PM
Metro Toronto Convention Centre â€¨255 Front Street Westâ€¨Toronto, ON M5V 2X7, Canadaâ€¨St. Andrew Stationâ€¨(416) 585-8000