UPDATE (4:25 p.m. 2/28): TMZ is reporting that organizers have told them that the Cannabis Cup will not be allowing cannabis into the conference.
Original post: Federal authorities are threatening to shut down a giant marijuana festival planned for later this week in Nevada, according to a report Monday night.
The Reno Gazette-Journal, in an exclusive report, says that U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden sent a letter to the Moapa Paiute Tribe, which plans to host the 2017 High Times Las Vegas Cannabis Cup starting March 4. Bogden’s letter “reminds” the tribe that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and that the festival would be in violation of that law.
The letter informs the tribe that the Department of Justice does not share the broad interpretation of many when it comes to the so-called Cole Memorandum. The 2011 memorandum from then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole instructed U.S. Attorneys to consider local law when weighing marijuana enforcement — a suggestion that many took to mean that the federal government was deprioritizing anti-cannabis efforts.
Bogden’s letter calls that lax attitude “an incorrect interpretation of the Department’s position on this issue,” according to the Gazette-Journal. Tribal chairman Darren Daboda told the paper that he was working with the U.S. Attorney’s office on resolving the issue.
The report comes less than a week after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that states legalizing recreational marijuana could expect to see “greater enforcement” of federal laws on pot, even as he signaled President Donald Trump’s support for medical marijuana. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Monday that the Department of Justice would try to adopt “responsible policies” on cannabis, while saying that he believed there was “more violence around marijuana” than most people would think.
The Cannabis Cup offers seminars on growing, an edibles competition, a pro-legalization rally pavilion, informational panels, a vape pen clinic, performances from Ludacris and others, and more. Nevadans voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016, though licensing for recreational business sales is not expected until later this year.
Similar Cannabis Cups are planned for later this year in California, Oregon, Michigan, Rhode Island and Jamaica. There was no immediate word on whether federal officials had expressed similar objections to those events. The Las Vegas event is 21 and only; ticketholders are encouraged to bring medical marijuana cards if they have them.
A tribal official told the Gazette-Journal that he was not sure if cannabis would actually be allowed on site at the Cannabis Cup this weekend, saying “we’re working on (that) right now.”
Read the full article at RGJ.com.