Medical Marijuana Concert at the Wow House Continues Fighting Pot StigmaEXPAND
Photo by Thomas Fleming / One Love Miami Photography

Medical Marijuana Concert at the Wow House Continues Fighting Pot Stigma

Pot is awesome. Recreational weed is a giggly good time. However, for millions of people, marijuana can be a life-transforming wonder drug.

The founder of the annual Medical Marijuana Concert, who's known simply as Flash, has known this fact for a long time. “We’ve gone from being a fringe issue to being much more mainstream,” Flash says over the phone. “The points of why medical marijuana arevalid never changed. If anything, the science just continues to prove it. We were right 20 years ago, and we’re right now because it’s helping people.”

The time distinction is important to Flash, not only because has he been fighting to get the good word out for two decades, but also because on September 22, his all-day medical marijuana fest will celebrate its 20th anniversary.

The day will include an eclectic group of local bands such as Inner Circle, Telekinetic Walrus, SunGhosts, Rhythm Flow, and Kuyayky. This unique event will include the work of visual artists, spoken-word performers, and guest speakers ranging from politicians such as Florida state Rep. David Richardson and South Miami Vice Mayor Walter Harris to experts in the field such as Dr. Jeffrey Kamlet, an addiction specialist; and Karen Goldstein, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) of Florida.

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Although it might seem as if the battle over medical marijuana is won, there has been prodigious pushback from cities and counties across Florida. The negative perception of medical marijuana is deeply ingrained in the psyche of American society.

“The notion that medical marijuana is new is wrong because they were using it back in the '30s,” Flash explains. “It got blackballed, essentially, and became this pariah of social ills versus the truth of what it’s really all about. Marijuana was not made illegal because of fear of harm; it was made illegal because of industrial hemp.”

Medical Marijuana Concert at the Wow House Continues Fighting Pot StigmaEXPAND
Photo by Thomas Fleming / One Love Miami Photography

Flash speaks with the calm demeanor of a man who has waited with great patience for his cause to be taken seriously. Moreover, his end goals need to be implemented the right way: responsibly.

“Fortunately, there’s an industry now that can support the movement,” he says. "There are professional advocates that are working on ways to make it more accessible, build up the market, build up the public trust is some respects, and change some of the propaganda from the last 80 years. Medical marijuana still requires more hoops to go through than pretty much any other medicine... It still needs to be a lot more accessible in a lot of different ways.”

Those wanting to party, rock out, and educate themselves about medical marijuana would do well to attend. The crux of this event, Flash points out, is not political. There will be information booths and friendly folks registering voters.

Ultimately, if there is one thing Flash hopes attendees take away from this experience, it’s the idea that business and pleasure can work in unison. “When they attend the medical marijuana concert, they can help make a difference in changing the laws, and they can have a good time doing it," he says. "We’re here for the community, so let’s have some fun doing something positive.”

20th-Annual Medical Marijuana Concert. 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, September 22, at the Wow House, 3100 NW Seventh Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $25 via eventbrite.com.

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