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A sign of changing attitudes towards marijuana, hundreds of revelers in the San Francisco Bay Area spent their Labor Day weekend at the International Cannabis & Hemp Expo--the country's first marijuana street fair.
In addition to vendors selling a variety of paraphernalia and THC-laced chocolate, the event included a space--named "215 Area" after California's legalization measure Proposition 215--where medical marijuana users could openly light up.
It was directly located in front of Oakland's City Hall.
To be sure, Oakland has been at the forefront of marijuana legalization, making it the perfect home to the marijuana street fair.
It was one of the first cities to license dispensaries, make small time possession a low-priority crime, and pass a measure to tax sales and marijuana-related business, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
This may have something to do with the lack of arrests reported over the weekend by Oakland North. As well as reports that city police officers stood around why some festival-goers lit up outside the designated boundaries.
Though marijuana possession is a federal crime, unless it is part of a larger criminal scheme, it is primarily enforced by state and local governments. This is a result of both financial and personnel resources, and differing attitudes towards marijuana in each state.
Though it is a by-product of the Obama Administration's decision not to raid medical marijuana dispensaries, this state-centered approach towards marijuana enforcement is likely to continue well into the future, as more and more states legalize medical use and decriminalize minimal possession.
As a result, we may even start to see the marijuana street fair blossom into more than just a strange California occurrence.