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High Times Receives First California Legal Pot Event Permit

High Times California Legal Cannabis Event Permit
A man smokes at the 2014 High Times Cannabis Cup in Los Angeles, before the era of California adult-use regulations.
Photo Taylor Kent for Cannabis Now.

Industry Events

High Times Receives First California Legal Pot Event Permit

After San Bernardino refused to grant High Times a last-minute cannabis event permit for its 420 cup, the organization succeeded in securing a permit from Sacramento to host a cup this weekend, including approval for on-site cannabis consumption.

America’s largest adult-use cannabis market will host its first legal event this weekend when High Times makes its inaugural trip to the state capital Sacramento for Cannabis Cup Central Valley. Following a 6-2 vote by the Sacramento City Council on Tuesday night, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control issued the state’s first-ever cannabis event permit early Wednesday afternoon.

The BCC announced the news on its Facebook page, noting: “This is the result of lots of hard work, collaboration and communication with local officials, Cal Expo and the event organizers. We’re excited to be able to issue this historic first license and we look forward to issuing more temporary cannabis event licenses in the coming months!”

Sacramento’s municipal pot czar, Joe Devlin, said the cup is expected to generate over $200,000 tax revenue for the local government. He told the Sacramento Bee that High Times had developed a “comprehensive security plan” that was approved by the California Highway Patrol and had organized a rideshare program for those attending the festival.

Devlin also noted to the Sacramento Bee that High Times has a “distinguished track record of hosting safe, successful and compliant cannabis events.”

Adam Levin, CEO of High Times, echoed the positive sentiment. “We are excited that the city of Sacramento had the faith in High Times to be the first state legal cannabis event ever,” Levin said, in a message to Cannabis Now, adding that his organization “welcomes the support of other municipalities looking for a best-in-class event operator.”

One of the votes against the permit on Tuesday night came from Councilman Jeff Harris. Harris said he believed the issue of public consumption needed a bigger discussion before he could approve the event permit. Harris represents the district that includes the Cal Expo, which is Sacramento’s county fairground and the venue for the High Times cup this weekend. Under California’s new regulations, the only places in the state you can currently host a legal cannabis event are county fairgrounds and district agricultural associations.

“I don’t think we’re ready for this type of event in Sacramento,” Harris told the council chambers.

“We’ve never had a conversation about adult use in public,” he said. “This is a big conversation to have.”

Despite the reservations of Harris, fellow council member Jay Schenirer saw the potential for $200,000 in tax revenue as too good to pass up. Schenirer noted that, in a perfect world, the debates around this kind of event would have already happened in Sacramento, but he isn’t expecting it for a while.

While this weekend’s Cannabis Cup isn’t expected to be as large as High Times’ annual events in SoCal and the San Francisco Bay Area, it should still be a great turnout. Sacramento County has a population of about 1.5 million people, so organizers are putting attendance estimates at around 15,000.

Last month, the city of San Bernardino, California voted to deny a temporary cannabis event license for the High Times 420 SoCal Cannabis Cup. In the absence of a permit, the cup took place anyway — but without cannabis vendors or approved marijuana consumption — at the city’s NOS Events Center.

The approval of a permit for this Sacramento event proves a victory for everyone trying to host major cannabis events in the near future.

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