CA: Thousands Expected To Light Up At Sacramento Cannabis Event

Photo Credit: Richard Vogel

Music and marijuana — that’s in the mix for this Friday and Saturday’s High Times Cannabis Cup at Cal Expo. Some 15,000 people are expected to attend the festival that includes musical artists Lauryn Hill, Ludacris, Gucci Mane and more.

But before you light up, you better have a designated driver.

“Driving under the influence of cannabis is the same thing as driving under the influence of alcohol,” California Highway Patrol spokesperson Mike Zerfas said. “We’d like to encourage the public to use ride sharing if it is available.”

The Cannabis Cup will also be sharing Cal Expo with a statewide volleyball tournament, which will host some 2,000 girls between 11 and 14 years old. The tournament will begin Saturday

In a statement to KCRA 3, Cal Expo indicated it can accommodate both crowds.

“The two events are more than 1,000 feet away, which is in compliance with state law that requires 1,000 feet between events and schools,” Cal Expo Deputy General Manager Margaret Moore said.

The festival is being promoted by High Times and consultant Jason Kinney.

“They are clearly vastly geographically separated events. Separate parking, separate entrances, very clear age verification,” he said. “There is no public visibility of the cannabis event from the rest of the Cal Expo space.”

As for the volleyball players, the organizers said they booked the tournament at Cal Expo years before the pot laws changed in California.

In a statement, Tom Donaghy, chief operating officer of the Northern California Volleyball Association said, “We have been assured that the two events will not be in close proximity and heightened security will make sure that we remain a smoke-free zone.”

That security will come from the Cal Expo police, along with two private security firms.

“This event will be a model of how it can work and work well,” Sacramento Cannabis Policy and Enforcement Officer Joe Devlin said.

Devlin will be on scene this weekend, monitoring sales and marijuana use — and making sure that everyone complies with state law that restrict personal possession to 1 ounce of pot and up to 8 grams of concentrate.

The Cannabis Cup is likely to be a profitable event for Sacramento, thanks to the city’s 4 percent business operations tax.

“There could be as much as $200,000 in tax revenue generated from this single, two-day event,” Devlin said.

The Sacramento City Council voted 6-2 on Tuesday night in favor of allowing onsite cannabis sales and consumption for the one-time event.

Council member Jeff Harris, who represents the Cal Expo area, voted no. He believes the city had “jumped the gun” by voting yes.

Harris said he wanted more time to have a full policy discussion before moving forward.