Cannabis At County Fairs? Pro-Marijuana Festival Canceled Amid Uncertainty

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Now that marijuana is set for legalized recreational use in the state of California, could pot start showing up at your local fair?

Organizers at the Del Mar Fairgrounds announced Tuesday the cancellation of a cannabis event that was initially set to take place in September, saying that while medical and recreational use of marijuana is legal under state law, both are still illegal under federal law.

The Goodlife Festival would have been San Diego’s largest-ever cannabis festival, and while cannabis would not have been sold or distributed at the event, medical marijuana cardholders were expected to be permitted to bring their own cannabis to smoke in certain designated areas.

Under a bill signed last week by Gov. Jerry Brown outlining how to implement Proposition 64 starting in January, county fairs would have the option of allowing cannabis sampling and sales for anyone over the age of 21 with limitations.

A section of Senate Bill 94 states the law “does not prohibit the issuance of a state temporary event license to a licensee authorizing on-site cannabis sales to, and consumption by, persons 21 years of age or older at a county fair or district agricultural association event” provided those involved are properly licensed and adhere to existing state regulations.

Officials with Stanislaus County Fair have had “minor discussions” about the option of issuing temporary license, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Tulare county officials told The Bee they remain skeptical of integrating cannabis-themed attractions into the fair’s overall brand.

“It has the potential to bring a lot of problems to the fair,” Tulare CEO Pamela Fyock said. “We work very hard to make sure this is a safe, family-friendly environment.”

Some critics have voiced concerns about the sale of marijuana and marijuana-themed items alongside such kid-oriented county fair items as stuffed toys and cotton candy.

The rules would not allow pot to be sold in the same space as baked goods – brownies, anyone? – or any other open-air spaces, nor would it exempt drivers under the influence of marijuana from getting behind the wheel when they leave the fair.

Hezekiah Allen, the head of the California Growers Association, told CBS San Francisco, “The business that’s applying for it will have to meet every regulation and every requirement of the entire regulatory framework.”

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