Enjoy Lauryn Hill, because Sacramento’s marijuana music festival may not have marijuana

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Portrait of American pop and rhythm & blues musician Lauryn Hill, New York, New York, 1998. (Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images)

A music and marijuana festival planned for this weekend at Cal Expo may be missing the marijuana.

After weeks of disagreement, officials with the city of Sacramento and organizers of the planned Cannabis Cup Central Valley still lack an agreement over whether marijuana consumption will be allowed.

Time is running out: the festival is scheduled to start Friday night.

The City Council was supposed to vote last week on temporary licenses for events allowing marijuana sales and consumption at Cal Expo. But that vote was delayed after it became clear the licenses lacked support.

The City Council is now scheduled to vote on a license for Cannabis Cup at its meeting Tuesday.

It is unclear whether there are enough votes this time around. Councilman Jeff Harris, who represents Cal Expo and residential neighborhoods along the American River Parkway, met with event organizers Monday but declined to say how he intends to vote.

“You’ll know (Tuesday) night,” he said. “I’ll certainly be leading the conversation. I feel that it was appropriate to at least have it heard by the council.”

The state began to allow temporary permits for cannabis events at county fairgrounds starting on Jan. 1. But before receiving a state license, event organizers “must have written approval from the local jurisdiction in which the event is taking place,” according to a Sacramento city staff report.

City officials wrote they anticipate “one or more (cannabis) events could take place at Cal Expo in the future.”

Cannabis Cup is run by High Times, a leading marijuana publication. Adam Levin, CEO of High Times, said in a written statement the company is “working closely with local and state officials to ensure another safe, successful, and compliant event consistent with new laws governing public events.”

“High Times has a four-decade history of bringing people together peaceably in this region while ensuring the host communities and local businesses benefit from it,” Levin said, adding the event would generate “significant local revenue.”

Councilwoman Angelique Ashby said she was eager to discuss the debate with Harris and would support his decision. However, she said she “would feel very uncomfortable supporting the event at Cal Expo in isolation prior to the council having a more robust dialogue about how we’re going to handle marijuana permits on a broader scale.”

This would not be the first time Cannabis Cup has run into trouble with a local government in California.

The festival was denied a marijuana permit in San Bernardino for its event on April 20 – a national marijuana holiday – after years of operating a medical-marijuana expo there before recreational use became legal. The music festival proceeded as planned.

A Cannabis Cup festival is also scheduled for Sonoma County in June.

The musical lineup for the Sacramento concert includes acclaimed hip hop artist Lauryn Hill, along with Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Rich The Kid, Cypress Hill, Rick Ross and Ludacris. And, according to the High Times website, “there will be no shortage of weed or fun activities.”

Tickets for the festival range from $50 for a one-day pass to $420 for a “super VIP” pass that comes with a meet and greet with the musical performers, “complimentary munchies” and access to tented VIP area with a smoking area, according to the event website.

By: Ryan Lillis, Sacramento Bee

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