City Officials Battle Over Permit of California Cannabis Festival

Musical performers at the Chalice Festival in Victorville, California.

City officials in Victorville, California are attempting to pull the plug on a massive cannabis festival that was scheduled to take place in July. Chalice California was expected to attract up to 45,000 festival-goers with top-of-the-line headliners such as Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Ludacris, Bassnectar and Pharcyde. But its future is now up in the air, without a local permit and less than a month to go.

Victorville city officials have denied multiple requests for permits to host the cannabis festival. Alex Traverso, spokesman for the Bureau of Cannabis Control, said that the bureau’s hands are tied without the permission of local officials.

Staff of the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds said that last year’s event generated $34 million towards the local economy and had no safety “Today, we have a unanimous consensus among our board members that Chalice California, and similar events, while they may possibly run counter to our individual personal moral compass, are safe, well run, professionally produced events that provide a substantial impact to both the Fairgrounds, and our local economy,” San Bernardino County Fairgrounds CEO Geoff Hinds wrote.

Before recreational cannabis was legalized in California with heavy regulations, only venues regulated what type of events took place at event venues. Now, only 80 properties for county fair or district agricultural association can host cannabis events.

Victorville’s High Desert Event Center at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds is owned by the state. But a state permit cannot be granted without a local permit.

It echoes similar troubles that High Times went through, recently losing a permit to allow cannabis consumption, only 48 hours before the scheduled High Times SoCal Cannabis Cup. The event carried on anyways, but attendees had to smoke before or after the event.

Assembly Bill 2020 would give more leniency as to what venues are allowed to host cannabis-related events.

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