The way that California currently experiences cannabis events is over. The state Bureau of Cannabis Control decided to regulate cannabis events with licenses. Each application is a non-refundable $1,000, and the event license is a $5,000 expense that covers up to 10 events a year.
This means all of our industry’s high dining events, local/secret seshes, pop-ups and basically any cannabis event you’ve ever been to that wasn’t at a fairgrounds will now be illegal. The new law states that in order to obtain a cannabis event state permit, you must first acquire local authorization for an event. Additionally, public cannabis events attempting to get licensed or permitted will only be allowed to take place at a fairgrounds or a location in association with the Department of Agriculture. Additionally, no alcohol will be allowed at cannabis events.
The new law threatens to put a myriad of events at risk for being shut down or being fined for breaking the law. Many of the small event organizers don’t have the kind of funds required to pay the license fee or to even book a fairground location. Personally, the reason I started The Best of Edibles List Awards was because I didn’t want to go to another cannabis event at a far away fairground 40 plus minutes from Los Angeles.
High Times, HempCon, Chalice Cup and High Life Festival that take place in San Bernardino or Victorville will most likely be able to get licensed and continue business as usual. However, another downside for event organizers and consumers is that only cannabis retailers will be able to vend at licensed cannabis events. Manufacturers, cultivators and distributors will not be able to have booths at these events anymore unless they have a dispensary license or delivery service license.
This ultimately defeats the purpose of having an event where the consumers get to meet the makers of the brands and see all the new products available. That means 90% of the booths that used to be at the cannabis events will not be allowed to vend and there goes all the revenue that made the event possible. As a consumer, would you want to go to an event that was nothing but dispensary booths? You could just go to the dispensaries. Traditionally, it’s not even the retailers who get booths at cannabis events. It’s the chance for manufacturers to connect with their market.
It is yet another way the regulations are pushing out the “little guy.” We can still submit our comments to the BCC to let them know some cannabis events aren’t 20,000-50,000 people turnouts. Some people don’t want to go to events like that. It is oddly reminiscent of Colorado banning all cannabis consumption events.
We can only hope that the lawmakers will change their regulatory structure for cannabis events to allow micro events to take place that want to be legal and permitted. The laws are most certainly not going to stop small consumption networking events or pop-ups. As an event organizer myself, I predict that these new laws will just create a black market and drive the events underground.
B. Le Grand