Mo regulations, mo problems. As cannabis laws have gotten more sophisticated and complex in recent years, there has been the dawning of a new phenomenon: weedless weed fests. These are heavily-publicized events, often with popular or popularish music performers, that are sold on the idea of celebrating all things cannabis, but which doesn’t technically allow its partitioners to smoke (or vape or whatever).
Just this year we had a cannabis-less Cannabis Cup and a hash-less 7/10 Festival.
But organizers of cannabis fests have found another solution to the problem, one with more of a no-fucks-given kind of attitude: if they can’t get the permits, they’ll just take the fines. Case in point: Alaska Hempfest’s third annual celebration in Wasilla last month.
The Alaska Marijuana Control Board (AMCO) recently notified Alaska Hempfest that it is under investigation and will likely face fines for allowing public consumption of cannabis.
Nordica Friedrich, communication and music director for Alaska Hempfest, told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that this year’s event was held on private property, and offered an enclosed tent where those 21 and over were free to use cannabis. The only products openly sold at the event were CBD and hemp-based.
And yet of the reported 1,500 attendees at the event, it seems there among them some undercover AMCO representatives taking photographs of illicit behavior.
Friedrich has said that she followed the spirit of the law, supplying a cannabis tent much like a state fair might have a sectioned off beer tent. “Alaskans voted to regulate cannabis like alcohol,” she said.
But Friedrich could not be all that surprised. After all AMCO pulled the same shit earlier this year with the Cannabis Classic in Anchorage. They went in, took pictures, investigated, and then fined the event $20,000, which was later reduced to just $5,000. With judges paying $350 a head and attendees likely paying an entry fee, that $5,000 should be a negligible loss for a large, well-run festival.
If a festival went in with the strategy to just take the loss from a fine and move on, it might not be the dumbest thing in the world.
AMCO has not yet determine what amount of fine it is going to seek against Alaska Hempfest.
Photo via Flickr user WeedPornDaily