The first international Hemp fair is coming to the Czech Republic from the 17th-19th of this month. ‘Cannabizz Hemp Fair 2010’ is a three day celebration of all things hemp-related and will be the first of its kind in this country.
The international Hemp Fair is taking place nine months after the interim Czech government led by Prime Minister Jan Fischer decided to further decriminalize the cultivation and possession of marijuana in the Czech Republic. The law took effect from the 1st of January 2010 and since that date citizens of the Czech Republic have been able to legally cultivate up to five marijuana plants or have five marijuana cigarettes on their person without fear of criminal repercussions. Recent reports carried out by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction stated that 22% of Czechs between the age of 16 and 34 smoke cannabis at least once a year (that percentage is higher than any other EU country). It’s also interesting to note that Czechs are the leaders of the continent when it comes to the old pivo consumption: according to the recent report, the average Czech consumes 320 pints of beer annually. These statistics paint a pretty liberal picture of the Czech Republic as do the recent decriminalization laws. But how has the decriminalization affected the average Czech? Has there been any effect on the Czech economy?
The Cannabizz event will also be representing the fast-growing business that is the production of industrial hemp. Hemp is the natural fibre product taken from the cannabis plant. It can grow almost anywhere and requires no pesticides or fertiliser for healthy growth. The plant is beneficial for both for the soil and the atmosphere. Cultivation of hemp for industrial reasons has taken place for thousands of years. We are able to produce: clothing, rope, medicinal products, cosmetics, food, oils, fuel, paper and even fishing bait from the fibre. It’s one of the earliest known domesticated plants, as well as being the fastest growing, hemp farmers are able to produce up to 25 tonnes of dry matter per 2.5 acres per year.
Hemp has had a long and productive history. Shards of hemp were found in pottery dating back to the Stone Age. Historians say that the British Empire was built on hemp. Literally, the sails, the rope and the sailors uniforms all contained hemp. The American declaration of independence was signed on hemp paper and apparently George Washington was a hemp farmer. When eaten in the seed form, hemp can provide the correct balance of amino and fatty acids conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Some favour the milk (created by soaking and grinding the seeds, in a similar process to soya milk production) which can be used as a non-dairy supplement with tea and used in cooking and baking. Hemp’s health benefits are beginning to get the attention of the mainstream media. Jail-bird/home-maker Martha Stewart recently spoke about the health and nutritional advantages of hemp-seed foods. With such a cast-iron endorsement it won’t be long before the middle classes of America consume it in their hundreds of thousands.
The Cannabizz International Hemp Fair taking place this weekend in the enormous converted factory that is Karlin Exhibition Hall will be a meeting of the top hemp-related companies in Europe. I managed to get some time with Jiří Tomaško, the man behind the Czech Republic’s first hemp fair to get a little background information on the event and its organiser. Jiří has been working for just under a year with his dedicated team to organise the event. He is a well-travelled young man who got his inspiration for the event from his experiences around the world. He feels that this is the right time for the fair and he says he’s expecting around 10,000 hemp enthusiasts to attend the three day fair.
I was surprised by Jiří’s views on the recent change in legislation. He didn’t feel that the change had made a huge difference to the average Czech. His opinion was that far from being something new, the updated laws have simply clarified an existing legislative grey area by determining the exact amount one can legally possess.
Jiří and his small but hard-working team are looking forward to welcoming all manner of international businesses to the event. Everything from medicinal oil to seed and fertiliser producers, clothing brands and grow shops will be represented.
Jiří said that there has been a steady rise in the number of grow shops in the city. These ‘head shops’ are dedicated to marijuana paraphernalia and cultivation. In these shops you can buy everything from hydroponic lights to rolling papers. Jiří informed me there will be about 20 grow shops represented at the fair this weekend selling all types of goods. He was quick to point out that the individuals who frequent these stores are not always the stereotypical marijuana smoker. Health enthusiasts are equally likely to spend their hard-earned cash in their local grow-shop. It has been proven that hemp has medicinal properties and many use it regularly in oil or seed form.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy a lecture from Canadian hemp-enthusiast and local hero, Rick Simpson. Rick gained first-hand experience of the medicinal benefits of cannabis whilst recovering from a head-injury and went on to produce and promote hemp-oil to other sufferers. He gained Freedom Fighter status recently by escaping almost charge-free from a high-profile court battle after his non-profit cannabis crop was discovered by police at his home. He is passionate about the subject and believes that hemp oil can be used as a cure for a huge range of ailments, even cancer.
I will definitely be attending the fair and I´m really looking forward to see the hemp boom in full effect. Jiří seems like a very passionate character, promoting a healthy cause to a new market. He was quick to point out that the fair wouldn´t be possible without the assistance of his dedicated team.
For more information about the event or to buy your tickets, check www.cannabizz.cz
You can also follow Prague Cannabis blog: http://smokinginprague.weebly.com/
Have a safe and happy hemp fair.
GIVE AWAY: If you are interested in attending Hemp Fair this weekend, send us an email to email@example.com. First 6 of you get 2 tickets each.
NOTE: The tickets were already given away. Thanks!