Wednesday March 21, 2018
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California has always been a frontrunner in cannabis culture, stemming from their efforts to decriminalize and legalize medical marijuana over 20 years ago. This culture has grown over time, culminating in one of the most robust and dynamic places to experience cannabis on the planet – specifically in the form of cannabis events.
Cannabis events in California have become somewhat of a cultural tradition and help the state’s immense population of marijuana consumers get together and celebrate everything the plant has to offer. Historically, these events have been a safe haven for people looking to network with likeminded individuals and consume cannabis in peace.
Unfortunately, the laws set forth by California’s Adult-Use Marijuana Act (AUMA) are placing heavy restrictions on cannabis consumption events, leaving their future status in limbo.
But will the recent legalization of adult-use cannabis and the regulations that come with it hold back California’s relationship with cannabis? There are many groups fighting to make sure that does not happen.
Cannabis Legalization and Marijuana Events
Under AUMA and the new recreational marijuana laws, cannabis events allowing consumption are only permitted to occur in two places: county fairgrounds and district agricultural events. Considering the fact that medical cannabis events have been able to select their own venues in the past (with proper licensing and permits, of course), this certainly limits the appeal of legal cannabis events.
State restrictions also take away the freedom for a local jurisdiction to allow cannabis events in their respective cities.
While cannabis events face a real challenge in the new regulations, there are a couple of bills in the works to rectify the issues at hand: Assembly Bill 2020 and Assembly Bill 2641.
Assembly Bill 2020
Introduced on February 5th, 2018 by Assembly Member Bill Quirk, AB2020 seeks to authorize local jurisdiction event licensees and temporary event permits. Essentially, the passing and implementation of AB2020 would allow local jurisdictions to apply for temporary event licenses so long as they comply with all licensure requirements. From there, cannabis consumption events could take place at any venue the local jurisdiction deems appropriate.
Obviously, the passing of AB2020 would open up California’s cannabis event space even further, which would undoubtedly create a further influx of cannabis tourism to the state. With cannabis events allowed in local jurisdictions, tourists and locals alike would have increased access to enjoying cannabis across the state as well.
Assembly Bill 2641
AB2641 was introduced by Assembly Member Jim Wood on February 15th, 2018. The bill, which closely parallels AB2020, would allow the issuance of temporary event licenses to events and venues approved by a local jurisdiction.
Additionally, the bill would allow the Bureau of Cannabis Control to issue temporary cannabis retailer licenses to licensed cannabis manufacturers or cultivators so that retail sales of cannabis could occur at an event. These licenses would be valid for the duration of the cannabis event for which the temporary license was granted.
AB2641 would also create the opportunity for an influx in cannabis tourism and make cannabis consumption events more widespread across the state. Whether AB2020 and AB2641 are passed or not, they both make a great case for revamping the regulations surrounding legal cannabis to better fit the needs of the people.
As mentioned above, there are several organizations fighting to improve the state of cannabis events, and the cannabis industry as a whole, in California. The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) and Coachella Valley Cannabis Alliance Network (CVCAN) are all contributing resources to make California cannabis better for the people. Even the city of Desert Hot Springs is fighting for cannabis reform.
In fact, the City Manager, Assistant City Manager and City Attorney from Desert Hot Springs were in attendance at the 3rd Annual CCIA Policy Conference in Sacramento in an effort to make some headway. Both the Board President and Executive Director for CVCAN were also in attendance.
It seems that the entire Coachella Valley is “all in” on cannabis, which is great news for the progression of California’s cannabis industry.
CVCAN is also in the midst of creating city-specific advisory councils in the Coachella Valley that will set forth to educate and advise valley cities on cannabis policy on a regular basis. These councils are expected to be involved in the local implementation of both AB2020 and AB2641 if they are approved by the state in the upcoming legislative session.
On top of their efforts to help change the regulations surrounding cannabis events, the CVCAN is also helping advance the legal cannabis industry in the form of organized, non-consumption cannabis events that promote educational and social networking opportunities.
The CVCAN Conference, held April 6th thru 7th in Desert Hot Springs, is set to be one of the hottest events of the year.
Packed full with speakers, vendors and insights into California’s budding cannabis industry, this is one cannabis event you definitely don’t want to miss. Events like the CVCAN Conference are creating a welcoming atmosphere for cannabis enthusiasts and a place for people to learn about and engage in cannabis culture. The CVCAN Conference is setting a precedent for future cannabis events and building up a community of marijuana activists for years to come.
In addition to the challenges with state laws and regulations, cannabis events in California also face another challenge: the people and businesses who oppose cannabis progressive cannabis reform.
Additional Challenges Cannabis Events are Facing
As cannabis legalization continues to take hold in California, it is becoming increasingly easier to identify those who oppose progressive cannabis reform. And while this may come as no surprise to longstanding cannabis supporters, these opponents are doing everything they can to stall the advancement of the marijuana industry.
Despite cannabis being legal in California, the popular music festival Coachella has banned cannabis from its grounds, prompting many people to advocate boycotting the event altogether.
This mainstream opposition to cannabis has opened the door for other cannabis events though, like the CVCAN Conference. As more opposing forces begin to show their true colors, expect to see more pushback from the cannabis industry in the form of events standing up for legalization and the benefits it creates.
At the end of the day, Californians can rest easy knowing there are organizations out there fighting for the progression of cannabis reform. And while current legalization laws may need some refining, we’re confident that over time the regulations will be ironed out and amended to be more inclusive and effective.
Only time will tell where California’s cannabis industry is headed, but we think it’s safe to say that the best progress is yet to come. Be sure to stay tuned for more information on California’s ever-changing cannabis industry and the laws and regulations that govern it!
What do you think about California’s current event laws? Should more access to consumption events be allowed? Comment below!