It’s déjà vu all over again in the cannabis world as the annual “710” celebration of all things cannabis – Chalice California – appears to be getting chazzed by the Victorville City Council who refuses to issue the permit necessary to allow the show to go on.
Some 45,000 people were expected brave the high desert heat in mid-July to attend the 3-day music and marijuana festival between 7/13-7/15 that promised cannabis consumption and sales to anyone over the age of 21 even without a medical marijuana recommendation.
Headlining acts included Bassnectar, Bone Thugs n’ Harmony, Ludacris, and more… not to mention some of the most sought after cannabis products in the world available for sale at hundreds of vendor booths and tents.
For now at least, the entire thing appears to have gone up in smoke with this latest buzzkill from the anti-weed local authorities, though event organizers vow to find a way over this hurdle.
If this sounds like what happened to High Times just days before their big 4/20 Cannabis Cup – also in San Bernardino County - it’s because it’s pretty much exactly what happened.
The news flies in the face of constant reassurances from the event’s founder, Dougie of Hitman Glass, who boasted that Chalice was to be the first cannabis consumption event legally permitted and pulled off in SoCal.
Even after the public relations disaster that resulted from the High Times fiasco just a couple months ago, the confidence exuded by event organizers led who knows how many people booking flights, hotels, and other accommodations specifically for this event.
In fact, reports say that multiple requests for the required permits were denied by the Victorville City Council, who under Prop64, now has jurisdiction over any temporary cannabis events that happen within their city limits.
Chalice and its supporters fairly argue that last year’s event brought somewhere around $34million into the local economy, including selling out every hotel room within a 50 mile radius at 40% higher rates than average – all with exactly zero incidents of violence (though there were anecdotal reports of people getting way too high in the midday sun).
Even though the city council’s stated main concern is “safety”, those stats apparently do not factor into their decision. A decision, it should be noted, that they are pretty consistent about, however wrong they are. Aside from a very limited and regulated cannabis delivery program, the city of Victorville does not allow any commercial cannabis activity.
So why would Chalice even try to change their minds?
Well, until Prop64 passed and was implemented in California, the only people that cannabis event organizers needed permission from was the owner of the venue that the event was to be held at.
With an average 1-day ticket price of about $110, multiplied by 45,000 in attendance… well, it’s pretty easy to get “permission” with that sort of scratch flying around.
But now, under the new law, these temporary cannabis events must be held at one of just 80 county fair or district agricultural association properties spread up and down California. Out of those 80, only two are located in San Bernardino County – the two that are overseen by local governments that refused to issue permits to High Times and Chalice this year.
Similarly, San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties have expressed their opposition to playing host to such events.
Hooray legal weed …?
Still, Dougie insists that Chalice WILL happen… somewhere.
Tickets are still for sale, venue to be determined.
Technically, Chalice can still hold its event at Victorville’s San Bernardino County Fairgrounds even without the permit – they just would not be able to “allow” the sale or consumption of cannabis at the event itself.
This is exactly how it went down with High Times in April, and according to all reports, there was still a ton of weed being smoked and sold onsite.
Something to consider though, particularly as a vendor at an unsanctioned event like this, is that the Bureau of Cannabis Control takes this licensing/permitting process very seriously and could very well have staff onsite recording who is in compliance and who is not.
Will they slap cuffs on people there? No, probably not. But they are watching. Caveat emptor