The UCSB chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) will try to bring peace, love and harmony to Storke Plaza today, as it hosts its second annual “Cannabis Carnival.”
The carnival is part of the second annual Cannabis Awareness Week, where the club intends on informing UCSB students and the general public about cannabis and its qualities, said Lauren Vazquez, co-chair of NORML. The carnival will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and events will include a hemp fashion show, a hookah lounge, a table tennis tournament, a famous smoker look-alike contest and skateboard ramps.
Vazquez, a fourth-year law and society major, said one of the event’s aims is to increase tolerance toward cannabis users.
“We hope those who come to the Cannabis Carnival will learn that potheads are people, too,” Vazquez said. “People who deserve the freedom to choose to use a substance that is safer than aspirin.”
According to NORML’s website, the organization will be selling cotton candy, and other activities include a drum circle, games such as “Pin the Tail on [Former Attorney General] John Ashcroft” and bobbing for apple pies. Vazquez said a raffle will be held, with prizes such as custom glass tobacco pipes and T-shirts, as well as some “great stoner accessories.” Live music will also be a part of the day’s events, with local reggae band Irations playing at noon.
An autographed copy of cannabis author Jack Herer’s book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, will also be a prize for the raffle, Vazquez said. Second-year computer engineering major and NORML member Ethan Kravitz said the book is a coveted prize.
“It’s the best book about hemp and cannabis ever,” Kravitz said.
Aside from activities and games, NORML will be presenting informational displays about its campaign topics, ranging from medical marijuana to the United States’ “War on Drugs.” Although NORML will celebrate cannabis culture, such as the use of hemp, Vazquez said the organization’s endorsement is not necessarily taboo.
“The only cannabis at the carnival will be hemp,” said Vazquez, who is also an honors student. “Hemp cannot get you stoned. We are celebrating cannabis culture while respecting the laws of our community. Advocating legal change is different than promoting pot smoking.”
Kravitz said the Cannabis Carnival will also serve an educational purpose.
“There will be a live demonstration on how to roll a joint,” Kravitz said. “Lots of people requested that at the joint rolling contest.”
The 30 members of the cannabis club came up with the idea to host a carnival, Vazquez said. Every member will be contributing to the event in some way to help throughout the day, and no outside help was needed to make the Cannabis Carnival possible, she said.
“This is an annual NORML event,” Vazquez said. “We worked hard to support this event ourselves without requesting any A.S. funds.”
Kravitz said everybody should have a good time at the Cannabis Carnival.
“It’s a little of everything,” he said. “It’s a celebration for smokers, it’s an educational experience and it’s something that anyone can have fun at.”