09/05/2011 09:19 pm ET | Updated Nov 05, 2011

International Cannabis And Hemp Expo: America's First Marijuana Street Fair Lights Up Oakland (PHOTOS)

Marijuana aficionados from across the country descended upon five blocks of downtown Oakland Labor Day weekend to celebrate America's first cannabis-themed open air street festival.

In addition to live performances and booths touting everything from paraphernalia to THC-laced chocolate bananas, the International Cannabis & Hemp Expo featured a designated area where card-carrying medical patients could openly smoke weed--right outside Oakland's City Hall.

"Patients need an opportunity to take their medicine," festival chief Kim Cue told the Associated Press.

Individuals with a medical marijuana card can legally consume cannabis in California under Proposition 215, which has been in effect since 1996. Though the drug remains illegal under federal law, according to the blog Oakland North, law enforcement at the expo was few and far between:

Even city police officers kept their distance, poised peaceably—and, according to one officer, indifferently—on the outskirts of the festival. Within the event, hired security did little more than give directions and check wristbands at entrances.

"I was a child of the 60s," 64-year-old Maryfrancis Wasson, who traveled from Sugar Land, Texas, to attend the event, told Oakland North. "This reminds me of what we used to do back then in parks--except we didn’t advertise."

Take a look at images and video from the event below:


All photographs by David Rosales.