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Hemp Fest Prompts Rules Overhaul

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Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
The proposed World Hemp Expo Extravaganja, and future festivals, are now in the hands of Tehama County Planning Director George Robson.

County supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a massive overhaul to the county's 1970 policy regarding festivals not staged at the Tehama District Fairground. The existing policy, written in response to Woodstock, could have been deemed unconstitutional if challenged, officials said. But with most major county events held at the fairgrounds, the policy was forgotten until medical marijuana advocate and patient Donna Will proposed a Memorial Day hemp festival.

Robson, along with Environmental Health Director Tim Potanovic, Public Works Director Gary Antone, Sheriff Clay Parker and County Counsel drafted a new policy and introduced it as an urgency ordinance, to take effect as soon as it passed.

Events on the fairgrounds or on public land are exempt from obtaining a permit. So are funerals, spontaneous parades, demonstrations or any event with fewer than 500 people.

Planned events, like Will's WHEE 2010, must comply with a 15-page set of guidelines.

Will previously said she had been taking measures to accommodate the traffic she anticipates.

County documents put that traffic at around 1,800 people per day, of the three-day event.

Robson has not stated publicly whether he intends to approve the event.

Among the ordinance's clauses is one allowing him to deny or revoke Advertisementa permit if he believes the
proposed activity will "violate any state, federal or local regulation," and several others that would allow him to stop the event if it poses a threat to public safety.

Red Bluff resident Kathy Nelson, speaking before the board, said WHEE 2010 would have just that problem.

"How can they guarantee that there is no child under the age of 14, and that no one is lighting up?," Nelson said, referring in part to second-hand cannabis smoke. Both Will and WHEE founder and High Times Creative Director Steve Hager have told the Daily News they would permit marijuana smoking, and would not be asking visitors to provide evidence of a medical marijuana recommendation.

Robson is, however, barred from stopping the event on the basis of its message. The ordinance explicitly states no event may be turned down for its message, affiliations of the organizers or even the public's response to the event.

NewsHawk: User: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: redbluffdailynews.com
Author: Geoff Johnson
Copyright: 2010 Red Bluff Daily News
Contact: Contact Us - Red Bluff Daily News Online
Website: Hemp fest prompts rules overhaul - Red Bluff Daily News Online

• Thanks to Irish for submitting this article