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Learn about cannabis

Skeptics of decriminalizing marijuana are especially welcome at a symposium that will be held at SLO Veterans' Hall.



PURPOSEFUL :  Organizers of the symposium invite Central Coast residents to learn more about the medical relief cannabis provides and also why marijuana use should be decriminalized. - LOGO COURTESY OF RICHARD DONALD
  • PURPOSEFUL : Organizers of the symposium invite Central Coast residents to learn more about the medical relief cannabis provides and also why marijuana use should be decriminalized.
Richard Donald, who belongs to a local medical cannabis cooperative, is host of the second annual Central Coast Cannabis Symposium, which will take place on Saturday, July 18 at the SLO Veterans’ Hall. It’s an event intended not only to support patients who use the drug legitimately under prevailing California regulations, but also to advocate for passage of Proposition 19, the initiative to decriminalize personal use of marijuana that will be on the November 2 ballot.

“The discrimination suffered by medical cannabis patients is very real, and more prevalent here than in most other areas of our state,” Donald said. “So much so that many patients in our county are extremely hesitant to voice their views or ask for aid or information. We wanted to provide an event where these people can meet to receive mutual support, and get education regarding medical cannabis that could potentially keep them out of trouble.”

If Proposition 19 passes in November, it will allow adults 21 years and older to possess, cultivate, or transport cannabis for personal use, and enable local governments to regulate and tax its commercial production and sale. Donald is a proponent. “For responsible adult recreational users, I feel cannabis should be taxed to relieve our state’s massive debt,” he said, “and fund local programs that may otherwise have been cut, such as drama and music programs at the local high schools.”

Skeptics of decriminalizing marijuana are especially welcome. “I would encourage anyone who has interest in what will happen after the November elections to attend, especially anyone who opposes legal reform. Many who oppose cannabis decriminalization do so because they don’t think it will benefit their local community and the way of life they enjoy,” Donald reflected. “I respect those views, but hope with a little more information they may also see how legal reform can save millions in court costs, lessen the burden of the state debt, provide needed tax revenue for local public programs, and in this time of cutbacks and economic hardship even help preserve that way of life they enjoy.”

The symposium will feature such speakers as horticulturalist Kyle Kushman; local defense attorney llan Funke-Bilu; Jeff Studdard, a former deputy sheriff; and Charles Lynch, the former owner of Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers Dispensary in Morro Bay.

There will be information booths, indoor and outdoor horticulture displays, vendors, a “medibles” and concentrate demonstration, a holistic health panel, a THC genetics display, and representatives from medical cannabis collectives. No consumption, distribution, or sales of cannabis will be tolerated at the event. You must be 18 or older to attend.

Though the symposium has serious objectives, it’s designed to be fun. Expect good food, live music, engaging discussions, and humor but above all, attend with an open mind.

   The SLO Veterans’ Hall is located at 801 Grand Avenue. Doors will open at 10 a.m. for the symposium, which concludes at 5 p.m. There will be an after-party and barbeque from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Tickets cost $35 in advance or $45 at the door and are available at A & D Unlimited at 7425 El Camino Real in Atascadero, Up-N-Smoke at 209 North Broadway in Orcutt, Up “in” Smoke at 911 Grand Avenue in Grover Beach and at The Sub, located at 295 Higuera Street in SLO. For more information see

Fast facts

Following several health setbacks after her double lung transplant at Stanford University Hospital, Holly Navolt is back home with her family. A fundraising effort is still under way for her continued medical needs. A donations account has been set up through the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, a nonprofit foundation. See Call Amber Pinon at 489-9574 for more information about supporting Holly

An introduction to cross-country running for students entering the 7th and 8th grades will be held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Aug. 16 through 27 from 4 to 5 p.m. at Lila Keiser Park n Morro Bay. The cost is $45 for Morro Bay residents or $49 for nonresidents. For more information contact the Morro Bay Recreation and Parks Department at 772-6278 or register online at

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Intern Dylan Baumann compiled Strokes & Plugs this week. Send your business and nonprofit news to [email protected].

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