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California Cannabis Festivals Struggling Under New Rules

According to an East Bay Times report, California’s new cannabis rules are causing difficulties for cannabis festivals.

During the first year of adult-use legalization, promoters had planned to switch away from the loose, medical industry’s system that they had been using (where every attendee had to get or already have a doctor’s recommendation). However, many California jurisdictions have been denying event permits, making what should be an easy switch to a completely legal market much more difficult for event organizers.

California’s new laws limit festivals to fairground venues authorized by the Department of Food and Agriculture. On top of that, they need permission not only from the venue owner or manager but also an annual license from the state and approval from the city or county where the event will be held. These requirements are proving to be too stringent for many festivals.

Approximately 10 fairground venues in California on the state’s list are in cities or counties that permit adult-use cannabis sales. In two of those 10, the local authorities have chosen to disallow cannabis events. That leaves eight venues in all of California where it would be possible to have a cannabis festival. Southern California had no events so far in 2018 and none are planned for the rest of the year. Northern California has only two licensed festivals, one in Sacramento and one, the famed Emerald Cup, in Santa Rosa.

These remaining festivals are working hard to stay compliant with the state’s new rules.

“It’s costing us a lot of money, but it’s going to come back in the long run. We’re going to really be teaching them how it should be done.” — Tim Blake, Emerald Cup Founder, via the East Bay Times

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