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California marijuana street fair fuels debate over legalization

The International Cannabis & Hemp Expo outside Oakland City Hall this weekend includes a spot where medical marijuana cardholders can light up – another round in the fight over legalization.

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In this Oct. 2010 photo, Susan Recht smokes a marijuana cigarette at the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Clinic. Supporters of legalizing recreational marijuana will try to win over California voters again next year, after the secretary of state's office in July cleared them to begin circulating ballot petitions.

Eric Risberg/AP/File

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Standing outside a medical marijuana dispensary in southern California, Lucy Baldwin muses on one of the great social and political debates here.

“I thought the threat of marijuana acceptance in California was over with the defeat of Prop. 19, but now it seems to be back,” says the single mother of two teens. “I think it’s a bad idea for grownups to be modeling behavior that is ultimately very detrimental to youth. It leads them in the wrong direction.”

Morgan Fox, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, holds an opposite opinion.

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“When we stop blowing it out of proportion as a society and learn to deal with this commonly used substance in a calm and reasonable manner, we see that the sky does not fall and life goes on as before,” he says.

The two comments frame a debate that is being fueled by the International Cannabis & Hemp Expo outside Oakland City Hall this weekend – a five-block street fair including music, booths, hundreds of vendors, and a designated area where medical marijuana cardholders can light up weed.

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