Just in time for 420, the city of San Bernardino, California has voted to deny a Temporary Cannabis Event license for the High Times 420 SoCal Cannabis Cup, which is scheduled to take place at the city’s NOS Events Center this weekend.
High Times CEO Adam Levin took the news in stride; High Times is still formulating an official public response, but in an exclusive statement to Cannabis Now, Levin focused on the future.
“The new regulations of the cannabis world provide new hurdles to overcome,” he said. “High Times looks forward to continuing to pioneer this new world and work with the state and municipalities to put on legal events around the world.”
Levin added that the event will still take place, with all scheduled food options and musical guests but no cannabis.
The denial came down through a unanimous vote by the San Bernardino City Council after a quasi-judicial hearing that saw council members raise concerns about the legality of permitting an event three days beforehand when state law calls for at least 60 days between the event and the application for a permit. Ultimately the council decided that, even if they did approve the event, it would still be in violation of state law.
The motion to deny the permit was made by San Bernardino Council Member John Valdivia and seconded by Council Member Virginia Marquez — it passed 6-0.
Marquez expressed frustration that the permit was being requested so close to the event date.
“I feel like my hands are tied on this because it’s being shoved down our throats at the very last minute and I don’t like that,” she said. “Why are you coming to us three days before the event?”
Why Was The High Times 420 SoCal Cannabis Cup Denied A Permit?
A representative from High Times apologized for the late filing and said confusion about the new process led the company to handle the filing through the Bureau of Cannabis Control at the state level before approaching the city. They also assumed that their previous relationship with the NOS Center would more or less ensure permit approval.
That was ultimately not the case; the entire council agreed that the permit would violate state law.
Council Member Bessine L. Richard said she and the rest of the council want to work with these kinds of events, but that given the circumstances they simply could not approve the permit.
“In the game of dominoes, not all money is good money,” Richard said. “This is money for the city, but it isn’t good money… [High Times’] has attorneys and they need to keep up with the law.”
Details are still emerging, but when asked how law enforcement would address the situation, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said the department would definitely have a presence.
“Undoubtedly we’re still going to have to staff it and police it, because there are people coming to town.”
Deputy City Attorney Steven Graham said the city would only shut the event down as a last resort, but the option is still on the table.
“I can tell you that shutting down the event would be the most drastic step the city would take because of the user impact it would have on the attendees of the event who bought tickets in good faith, on the police department which would use significant manpower and the city which would likely then be engaged in costly litigation to follow,” Graham said. “It’s not to say it’s something we wouldn’t be prepared to do, but it’s a final resort.”
TELL US, would you attend a Cannabis Cup that did not have cannabis consumption or sales?