A representative of an organization that is sponsoring a public meeting ostensibly to educate people about Arizona’s new medical marijuana laws invited me to be a speaker at the event, but only if I paid a fee for the privilege.  I declined.  I am happy to speak for free to large groups about topics on which I am knowledgeable, but I don’t want to be associated with events whose priority is to make money rather than educate.  Speakers should be chosen based on their knowledge, not on whether they pay the sponsor a fee.  The reason speakers pay a fee to speak is because their primary purpose in speaking is to sell themselves and/or their products or services.  I submit that the audience wants speakers whose primary purpose is to educate, not generate business.  Before going to an educational event, ask the sponsor if the speakers are speaking for free or if they are speaking because they paid the sponsor a fee.