Nation's First Marijuana Street Fair Coming to Oakland

The nation's first open-air marijuana street festival is coming to Oakland this weekend

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    Oakland's reputation as the nation's most cannabis-friendly city is safe. Now, and forever, especially after the once-gritty city hosts what is touted as America's first marijuana street fair.

    The International Cannabis and Hemp Expo will grace downtown Oakland for two days beginning Saturday at noon, according to reports. Once held at the Cow Palace, organizers decided to move the event to Oakland over a key dispute: officials at the state-owned arena in Daly City balked at the idea of open-air cannabis consumption, something festival-goers will be able to do right in the open in Oakland.

    Right in front of City Hall.

    The festival will also feature an eclectic mix of speakers, music and info booths, but it's the medical cannabis patient smoking area in front of City Hall that's bound to draw the most attention. People inside the so-called "215 area" -- for 1996's Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana in California, the first state in the union to recognize the plant's medicinal value -- will be able to smoke, vaporize or otherwise ingest cannabis to their heart's delight. Though no marijuana will be for sale.

    The area bounded by Broadway, Clay Street, 14th Street and 16th Street, including Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of City Hall will all be roped off, and only paying adults will be allowed inside. Tickets start at $20. Organizers expect at least 20,000 people, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.