Sacramento City Council: Major Issues Surround October’s Cannabis Cup

SACRAMENTO -- Last May’s Cannabis Cup event at Cal Expo was viewed as a success by the sponsor, High Times, the publisher of the pro-cannabis magazine.

Some 15,000 people, who were able to buy and use pot at the event, attended that weekend.

The event was made possible by a last-minute permit approved by the City Council suspending local marijuana ordinances. But October’s event does not have a special permit, even though tickets are being sold at $50 to $420.

"They really should have come to us and talked to us about it before they advertised it and before they put themselves and some profits on the line," said Sacramento City Councilman Jeff Harris.

A process to approve such events was pulled from a city’s Law and Legislative Committee last week by Harris. He says there are major issues the city has yet to work out should medical cannabis be sold at events like the Cannabis Cup. Currently, it’s not allowed without a waiver.

More broadly, it needs to be determined if marijuana use should be allowed in public places.

"You cannot smoke marijuana in public places in Sacramento," Harris said. "You can’t smoke it in parks, you can’t smoke it while you're walking on the street."

But the Cannabis Cup caused no major security or law enforcement issues.

Still, Harris said High Times didn’t deliver on promises in exchange for their special permit in May. Attendance was supposed to be limited to how much pot people could use and attendees were supposed to be searched so they didn’t leave the event with more than the legal amount that can be possessed -- one ounce.

"And they weren’t able to produce on that either," Harris said.

In addition, $60,000 in profit sharing for the city wasn’t paid until the date the hearing was to be held and $100,000 promised to a local leadership group still hasn’t been paid.

"Fool me once, it’s your fault. Fool me twice, it’s mine," Harris said.

Despite those concerns, Harris said the greater issue is developing a broader marijuana use policy for the city, one that he wants to consider carefully without regard to any timeline.

"We can’t let these people who want to make money push our policy," Harris said.

Harris said there is time to develop a procedure for such events before the event on the weekend of Oct. 27.

It’s important to note that earlier this year a High Times event in San Bernardino was denied a local permit to sell and allow use on site. It went on with those restrictions.

High Times did not return FOX40's request for comment.