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POSTED: 7:35 am EST October 30, 2005
UPDATED: 7:37 am EST October 30, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO -- The first-ever "Wonders of Cannabis Festival and Exhibition" is drawing thousands of people to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

It's organized by marijuana activist Ed Rosenthal, who says he wants to underscore what he sees as the public's right to use pot.

According to Rosenthal, 750,000 Americans were arrested last year for marijuana offenses. He calls that "a waste of money, a waste of lives and a waste of psyche." He says cannabis has lots of uses for humans and "should be celebrated."

The event, which concludes Sunday, features medical and legal consultants, cooking demonstrations and a joint rolling competition.

Speakers include comedian Tommy Chong, of "Cheech and Chong" fame. He spent nine months in prison on a marijuana-related conspiracy conviction.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 
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