No such thing as a big honking cannabis festival without legal troubles. As surely as rain makes you wet and snow makes you cold, a mass party celebrating a controlled substance is going to bring complications from the law.
A few months ago Emerald Cup barred concentrates from its competition, likely because of California’s complicated legal relationship with manufacturing hash oil. The supposedly legit HempCon in Las Vegas resulted in the arrest of several vendors, who were charged with smuggling drugs into Nevada.
High Times’ Cannabis Cups have faced their fair share of legal trouble with cops trying to shut down two stages at last year’s NorCal Cup and even last year’s U.S. Cannabis Cup got slapped with an (unheeded) warning from cops that the festival’s vendors were not allowed to give cannabis samples (basically the entire point of the festival).
So it comes as no big surprise that the 2016 U.S. Cannabis Cup is having its own problems. Due to complications with multiple government organizations in Colorado, High Times has decided to move this year’s festival from Colorado to California.
Though the festival drew 35,000 visitors to its location in Adams County, Colorado last year, the county decided to reject High Times’ festival permit this year, citing safety concerns, according to The Cannabist.
The cup then announced a move to the supposedly more hospitable Pueblo, Colorado, but there too High Times ran into some speed bumps with the local government, and decided to move out of Colorado entirely and head for the West Coast. “Given where we are timewise, we don’t feel confident we can pull together the event with the quality we need,” said High Times chief operating officer Larry Linietsky.
The new location of the U.S. Cannabis Cup will be — no shock to festival goers in Southern California — the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino, and the cup will run from April 15-17.
This might seem like a little bit of overkill for SoCal cannabis enthusiasts, as the event will come just over two months after the massive two weekend High Times SoCal Medical Cannabis Cup, which was also held at the NOS Center in San Bernardino. The same venue was also home to the other big giant cannabis festival in Southern California, Chalice Fest, which took place in NOS last summer. But Chalice has already announced its move to a TBD venue in Southern California for this year’s 7/10.
We’ll see if three weekends of Cannabis Cups in less than three months might start to burn area stoners out, making for a sort of ghost town cup, or if they’ll still show up in droves to hit those free samples.
High Times will still be holding an event in Colorado this year, according to an e-mail from the company obtained by The Cannabist. “… we will be hosting a one-day Colorado Cannabis Cup award show in Denver on April 19th,” the e-mail reads. “There will be 7,500 people in attendance from across the spectrum, consumers, producers and business owners. Cypress Hill, Action Bronson, Cronixx and Parliament Funkadelic will be performing at this event.”
So that will happen, unless some other legal wrench gets thrown into the works, in which case it won’t.