Her Royal Highness was planned to be a groundbreaking and unique educational cannabis-related event held aboard The Queen Mary, docked outside of Long Beach, California and sponsored by Orange County NORML. But on Tuesday, March 27, Lori Voss, Business License Inspector II with the City Department of Financial Management and Business Licenses, sent an email to Orange County NORML stating the event would be cancelled, and the reasons for which it was cancelled are being disputed by Orange County NORML.
Voss’ email to Orange County NORML stated, “In the City of Long Beach, CBD and CBD-infused products may only be sold by a dispensary licensed by the City and the State of California.” While The Queen Mary initially approved of the CBD-only event, the City of Long Beach pulled the plug at the last minute, leaving several event employees wondering what to do next. Orange County NORML members did their homework to ensure that the Her Royal Highness event fell within the legal parameters of Long Beach municipal law and the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s Special Events Licenses by only allowing hemp-derived CBD sales on board the ship and excluding any companies that sold THC.
“Our event was not a consumption event and was purely educational and featured a great musical lineup,” Kandice Hawes, executive director of Orange County NORML told CULTURE. “We met with the ship on several occasions and were covered under their general events license with the city. In the last couple weeks Lori Voss has become obsessed with our event and was watching our social media sites and just recently contacted us stating that we could not have any CBD products aboard the ship due to city municipal code, which is completely untrue.” This all happened despite the fact that you can find hemp-derived CBD products at Walmart or at times, Target.
“Several people who we contacted involved in local politics stated that Lori Voss was most likely directed from someone higher up in the City who did not want to see a cannabis education event happen in the city,” Hawes added. Hawes pointed out that a few weeks ago there was a reggae concert held aboard the ship and people were smoking inside, setting off smoke detectors. There was also a Weedmaps event there several years ago that caused a lot of problems. “The city is condemning and punishing us for the actions of two previous unrelated events even though we made it clear this was an educational event,” she said.
If you live near Long Beach, and care about cannabis-related events, take action. Don’t let city lawmakers censor free speech or dictate which events can take place, when they follow the rules. “We need people to show up at the next Long Beach City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 3 at 5pm and support us or speak on the issue,” Hawes said. “We have recently been notified the City cited a hemp merchant for selling hemp products in the city.”