POT EXPO IS STILL A GO, BUT CONTEST ON HOLD

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The judges for this weekend’s canceled medicinal marijuana contest at the Caregivers Cup will wait until October to decide which Michigan grower produces the best “medicine” for their condition, says Anthony Freed, executive director of the Michigan Marijuana Chamber of Commerce.

A second Caregivers Cup is planned for then — the time of year when the harvest is better — and organizers will better formulate the contest format to avoid legal questions, Freed says.

“I don’t consider having to postpone the main event a failure. I’m doing it so I can make sure everyone can still come and enjoy this great event,” he says.

The judges — people with valid state cards for medicinal marijuana use — are being offered refunds of their $250 judges’ fees, but Freed says those that have been contacted have opted to wait until the October event.

Up to 8,000 people are expected at the three-day event in Ypsilanti this weekend that features seminars and exhibits about legally growing, dispersing and using medicinal marijuana. Tickets are $15 for a day pass, and exhibitors paid $1,000 for their space. Organizers expect to make tens of thousands of dollars and will, in part, use proceeds to fund a hospice center for cancer patients, as well as other events this year. Metro Times is a media sponsor of the event.

Freed announced earlier this week that the marijuana contest would be canceled after Deputy Chief Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor Steve Hiller publicly questioned its legality. Freed asserts that his attorneys and staff believe the contest is legal, but he doesn’t want to push it with Hiller, though the two men have not spoken.

“It just seems like he doesn’t have a full understanding of the law. I believe he is totally wrong,” Freed says.

One of the issues, Freed says, has to do with marijuana that a grower doesn’t sell to his five allowed customers.

“What’s he supposed to do when there’s leftover medicine, throw it away? When there’s people with cancer who can’t afford it? I don’t believe that’s the intent of the law. If it is, there’s some dramatic changes that need to be made to it,” Freed says.

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