Events

Sacramento Cannabis Cup abruptly canceled with only weeks to go

SACRAMENTO — Tickets had been on sale for about six weeks, but before Cannabis Cup California could set a music lineup or secure a permit, the half-music festival, half-smoke session has been either postponed or canceled.

It’s not clear yet whether anyone will get a refund.

The marijuana exhibition, originally set for Oct. 27-28 at Cal Expo and sponsored by High Times Magazine, has been scrapped for 2018, Sacramento Chief of Cannabis Policy Joe Devlin told The Bee on Tuesday.

The sudden absence of Cannabis Cup California on High Times’ official website seems to confirm the cancellation of October’s show.

“We have not taken that item before (city) council as of yet,” Devlin said. “I believe we’re going to be taking it sometime before the end of the year.”

The item in question is a permit for cannabis use on-site, a requirement for the legal consumption and sale of marijuana at such an event. The approval of a permit was pulled off the City Council’s law and legislation committee agenda for a Sept. 18 meeting.

The City Council committee won’t meet again until Oct. 23, just four days before the concert had been planned. Devlin said matters relating to Cannabis Cup won’t be on that agenda either.

The event will be tentatively rescheduled for April 2019, the city pot czar said. Marijuana enthusiasts who were planning on attending the “spooktacular” pre-Halloween bash will apparently be out of luck.

October’s event was canceled seemingly without any warning or announcement to potential attendees. An official website for the event that remained up as late as Friday afternoon was defunct as of Tuesday morning. Mentions of Cannabis Cup California can no longer be found on High Times’ website.

The homepage section titled “Upcoming Cannabis Cups” now lists no future exhibitions. Front Gate Tickets gives a “404 error” for the Sacramento event, but no explanation of cancellation.

There’s also no mention of postponement or cancellation on High Times’ official, still-active Facebook and Twitter feeds, which most recently promoted the event on Sept. 29. A Facebook event page remains live for the concert, with more than 7,700 users expressing interest.

Multiple Facebook users have alleged, without evidence, that High Times will not give refunds for the canceled show.

High Times has not responded to multiple requests for comment by The Bee since Friday. A phone number listed on High Times’ website for potential vendors at Cannabis Cup events was not in service as of midday Tuesday.

Tickets, anywhere from $50 to $420, went on sale as soon as the event was announced via social media on Aug. 24. It was billed as a “spooktacular return” to Sacramento.

The Cannabis Cup event in May at Cal Expo became the first legal, permitted event allowing cannabis use in California since recreational use was legalized Jan. 1. The approval passed by a 6-2 vote by Sacramento City Council members just three days before the event. High Times CEO Adam Levin said an error on the company’s part led the on-site consumption permit to be filed just 12 days in advance.

Prior to that event, Devlin told The Bee that May’s Cannabis Cup would generate an estimated $200,000 in tax revenue. He supported High Times as having “a distinguished track record of hosting safe, successful and compliant cannabis events.”

Devlin said Tuesday that May’s event pulled in closer to $60,000 in tax revenue.

“It’s not just about revenue,” Devlin said. “There’s also a conversation to be had around public consumption and where consumption is appropriate. We’re just now as a city beginning to have that conversation. And this is a piece of that conversation.”

This year’s earlier Cannabis Cup show in Sacramento announced its music lineup relatively last-second, two weeks ahead of the performance. Lauryn Hill, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Rick Ross and others performed.

Devlin and a story published by The Bee at the time noted minimal drama inside Cal Expo gates earlier this year.

“There weren’t really any significant issues,” Devlin said. “If the council decides to permit future events, I believe that those events will also go very well.”

A Cannabis Cup without cannabis might sound like a serious drag, but it’s happened before in California, on the most unfortunate of days for weed enthusiasts. A last-minute vote by the San Bernardino City Council rejected a permit allowing marijuana use less than two days before the April 20 Cannabis Cup SoCal event. It proceeded as a music festival without legally permitted marijuana use or pot vendors.

October’s show theoretically could have proceeded as a normal music concert as well, but with no lineup announced, it appears no such show will hit Cal Expo the weekend before Halloween.

©2018 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

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