Whatever your personal views on marijuana, there is no disputing that a majority of California voters decided both medicinal and recreational use of the drug should be legal.
That is the law of the Golden State now and it is very unlikely that will change anytime soon, if ever.
There is a state Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), which is responsible for “regulating commercial cannabis licenses for retailers, distributors, microbusinesses, testing laboratories, and temporary cannabis events.”
When it comes to the latter, the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville have successfully held several cannabis events in the past few years, including the popular Chalice California Festival.
The City Council of Victorville has never been fond of such events, and has said so over the years. Despite that, the events went on as the city cannot directly control what events are held at the Fairgrounds, which fall under the jurisdiction of the state via its Department of Food and Agriculture (fairs and expositions branch).
However, this year the BCC asked festival organizers to provide with their permit applications written approval from the local jurisdiction where the event will be held. This approval is now required to enable any cannabis-themed event to proceed at full capacity — to authorize onsite cannabis sales and consumption by persons 21 or older.
The majority of Victorville’s City Council members don’t want to provide such a letter. The Council majority is not interested in letting anyone sell cannabis within Victorville, whether or not they have jurisdiction over the fairgrounds.
If the Council had come to that decision after discussing the matter at one or more of its meetings, we’d probably be OK with that. But neither Fair CEO Geoff Hinds nor Chalice officials have ever been able to make their case in Council Chambers. Although Councilman Jim Cox and Councilwoman Blanca Gomez supported putting such an informational discussion on the Council agenda, Councilmen Jim Kennedy and Eric Negrete and Mayor Gloria Garcia voted against it.
This is perplexing at best. Chalice California has successfully held three previous events at the Fairgrounds, attracting thousands of visitors to the Victor Valley. The economic impact of these events has been in the millions of dollars, with hotels alone reaping a huge benefit. Yet Victorville’s spokeswoman told Johnson the city doubts the accuracy of those figures and also fears for the safety of its residents.
Had the Council engaged in a full-fledged discussion of the pros and cons of Chalice at one of its meetings, we’d give Kennedy, Negrete and Garcia the benefit of the doubt. As it is now, some wonder if Negrete, Kennedy and Garcia voted against putting Chalice on a Council agenda simply because they’ll vote against virtually anything Gomez favors.
Victorville is struggling with severe financial issues, and the Fairgrounds isn’t exactly flush with cash, either. One would think the Council would at least hear out the folks who could continue to bring a nice infusion of business and revenue to the region. As it stands now, look for Chalice California to find a new home next year far outside the Victor Valley.
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