The fight for the right to bong is on. The Colorado Invitational Bong-A-Thon has faced pushback from local authorities in the past, and this year is no different.
On Monday, county commissioners in Montezuma County, Colorado moved to file an injunction to stop the 32nd Annual Bong-A-Thon event after residents vocalized their concerns for public safety at the commission’s meeting. The event, only available to those with tickets, was scheduled to take place on private property in Stoner, Colorado from July 31 to August 2 and includes communal camping with smoking competitions. Now, event organizers say they will have to relocate the celebration to avoid persecution.
“It’s a constant battle between activism and ultimately the authorities,” event organizer Chris Jetter told Cannabis Now. “I’ve been dealing with the cannabis industry since ‘92, and every day is dealing with pushback and negativity. If you have one day with everything going perfectly and smoothly, that’s a rare, rare day.”
Jetter said that Bong-A-Thon had followed all of procedures necessary — securing quotes from insurance companies, meeting sanitation requirements and booking private land. The only thing the event needed from the county was a sound permit for after 10 p.m., but was denied, he said, simply because the event featured cannabis.
Montezuma county commissioners heard complaints from about 30 residents at their meeting on Monday who pressed the council to file an injunction over fears that the event would be disruptive and dangerous.
“I live with my family and children, and I’m concerned about the criminal element of the event,” resident Mike Fitzgerald told the council, according to the Cortez Journal. “I care about property rights, but at the same time you are not allowed to do anything that endangers the neighbors.”
The commissioners voted in favor of authorizing the county attorney to file the injunction 3-0 to applause from the audience, according to the Journal.
However, Jetter said that his event was a private event on private property, and so the county’s actions against his event are unconstitutional, as Colorado’s Amendment 64 legalized marijuana to be regulated like alcohol — not like medical marijuana.
The event has been successfully held in Park County, Colorado for the past five years, but event organizers were told flatly this year to not even submit their permit applications, Jetter said. Following the broken trust displayed in Park County, Bong-A-Thon prepared a few alternative locations for this year’s event, which they now plan to relocate to instead of confronting Montezuma politicians.
“The Bong-A-Thon is about having the best time of your life, so having people drive seven hours just to get harassed is not optimal,” said Jetter. “With that respect, we probably will not be going to Stoner, Colorado.”
Jetter said the Bong-A-Thon will go ahead as scheduled at another location, and ticket holders will be informed five days before the event of the new location.
To purchase tickets to the 32nd Annual Bong-A-Thon, click here.
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