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HempCon attendees split on Proposition 19

Christa Picconotti of Essential Herbal Technologies sells high-end smoking pipes and vaporizers at HempCon 2010 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Sept. 10, 2010.
Christa Picconotti of Essential Herbal Technologies sells high-end smoking pipes and vaporizers at HempCon 2010 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Sept. 10, 2010.
Brian Watt/KPCC

HempCon got underway today at the downtown Los Angeles Convention Center. The medical marijuana expo features more than a hundred vendors of hemp products, fancy pipes and bongs, and in home pot-cultivation systems.

Rick Ori owns Santa Monica-based Hydroponics Group and was showcasing the company's Grow Pod at the event.

"So what Grow Pod is a one stop shop for anybody who wants to grow. If you want to buy a ballast, and a timer and another thing for your air pump and put it all together and you get wires everywhere and it looks disorganized… grow pod takes all the worry, all the fear, all the disorganization, one clean super easy grow, and it’s brand new for this show," said owner Rick Ori.

Proposition 19 would legalize the possession and cultivation of marijuana in California. The measure on November’s ballot was on the minds of a lot of people attending HempCon.

Ori said he supports Prop 19, and he says it would help his 12-year-old business.

"We’re poised to supply the people who want to grow big-time, or the people who want to grow their own at home. And we believe in the grow-at-home market.," Ori said.

"I mean, there’s a lot of people in the South that grow their own tobacco. It’s another product that is highly regulated, but you can grown your own. And marijuana is now one of those things that you can grow your own. I think, for now, we should be happy that we’re allowed to do that, and I think as the things change, we should be discreet how we go forward."

Other HempCon vendors and attendees oppose Prop 19. They believe it would regulate and tax marijuana too much. HempCon continues through Sunday. Attendees must be at least 18 years old. Organizers expect 35,000 people to pass through.