California Cannabis Festivals Face Obstacles Under New State Regulations
Marijuana-themed festivals have been attracting a growing number of attendees, this became more evident after California legalized the recreational use of Marijuana. Currently, there are more than 100,000 people attending festivals like the Emerald cup in Santa Rosa, Seattle Hempfest and the Chalice Festival in Victorville which has been postponed with no reschedule date due to disagreements with the city council.
The fate of these festivals remains to be known. The industry, technology and policies are rapidly changing. A perfect example of this is the recent marijuana laws implemented on July 1st 2018. These laws created regulations for packaging, purchase limits, marijuana themed festivals and other aspects of the booming cannabis industry. You can learn more about the July 1st regulations in this article, “CALIFORNIA MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES SLASHED PRICES BEFORE JULY REGULATIONS”
Thanks to the new regulations targeting cannabis-themed festivals, event organizers are facing major obstacles. California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control charged with regulating cannabis in the state, requires that event organizers obtain:
- A cannabis event organizer license
- Written approval from the local jurisdiction
- And a temporary cannabis event license.
Event Organizer License and Permit
Unlike other jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana, California is one of the few that do offers these opportunities for event organizers to acquire a license and hold their festival according to regulations. But it is some of these regulations that event organizers find prohibitive.
Cannabis can be consumed and sold at licensed events. Attendees will have to be over 21 years of age and can only buy one ounce of marijuana at the event. Vendors must be licensed to sell cannabis products and have all products labeled indicating the amount of THC each product has.
This is different from cannabis events held before the new regulations, where only patients seeking medicinal marijuana were allowed into areas where the products were sold. Cultivators, manufacturers and distributors will not be permitted to sell cannabis products at these festivals. Vendors will be allowed to offer products for sale according to the new regulations. Consumption and sale of tobacco and alcohol are also not allowed at any of these events.
Fees and Licenses
The fees event organizers have to pay can be categorized as:
- Application Fees
The event organizer’s license and temporary cannabis event license are both $1,000 when you apply. Each application has to be accompanied by a detailed illustration showing the event as well as providing a complete list of vendors 5 days before the event.
Additionally, event organizers have to pay annual license fees depending on the number of events they plan to hold. Between 1 to 10 events, organizers have to pay $5,000 and $10,000 if the number of events exceeds more than 10.
Despite all these regulations, most event organizers feel that venue rules present the biggest obstacle to cannabis festivals. First, the events can only be held in 80 county fairs and district agricultural association locations. While the rules do not expressly state that events can only be held at county fairs and agricultural association properties, the temporary event organizer license application only lists these properties as the only possible cannabis festival venues.
The other obstacle is that events must be approved by the local authority. This means that, even if you have a license, you’ll still need to get your city to authorize the event. Some events scheduled for later this year have been canceled by cities. Early in the year, the San Diego Del Mar officials rejected the Good Life Festival scheeduled for September 2018.
To address the issue with the venue, some proponents of cannabis festivals are pushing for Assembly 2020. This bill will compel states to authorize cannabis events in a venue that has already been granted approval in the past.
There are a good number of festivals that are currently being created and promoted for 2019. These events range from Cannabis Wedding Expos to the High Times Cannabis Cup and everything in between. One source you can visit for an up to date list of cannabis festivals, fairs and events is at Cannabexchange.com. Check it out, view their events and share your thoughts or experiences at these events if you’ve been to one in the past. Then come visit us for your next online order so you can skip the lines when you come to our shop.