Sacramento, Calif.- Chalice Festival has filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court against the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) and the city of Victorville. According to the lawsuit, Chalice claims that the BCC’s decision not to provide them with a temporary event license is “based on an incorrect interpretation to the law and is contrary to the law.”
“We have a history of creating and maintaining a safe atmosphere and we will continue to provide this culture with a safe place to be who you are without fear of arrest or discrimination for being a cannabis consumer. The City of Victorville has put us at risk,” according to a statement on the Chalice Festival website. “The lawsuit with the BCC is moving forward and we will be continuing to fight for the rights of the community. Our sponsors, vendors, artists, and brand owners are our personal friends- as well as you, the community, and we do not want to put you at risk.”
The festival was expected to take place from July 13-15 this year, but Victorville officials voted on July 3 not to issue a permit for Chalice at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds. Officials claim the denial is based on restrictions set in new cannabis regulations put into place for adult-use sales.
Although residents in California passed Prop 64 in November of 2016, the ballot language stated that cannabis events can only take place at 80 designated state and local government-owned properties. Chalice event planners argue that they have been granted the license for the previous two years and that the BCC should approve the license if the San Bernardino Fairgrounds wishes to host the event. Chalice is seeking the license without the approval of the city of Victorville.
According to the lawsuit, BCC requested that Chalice acquire authorization for the temporary event license from either Victorville officials or the county of San Bernardino in May. BCC claims that Chalice and the fairgrounds have “enjoyed immunity for events at their property.”
On June 1, the city of Victorville notified BCC that they planned on denying Chalice the permit to hold their event.
In the lawsuit, Chalice is also seeking clarification from the courts on Prop. 64 regulations regarding cannabis events. Chalice “requests that the court make a declaration of the rights and duties of the parties under the laws of the State of California, and declare that the BCC does not need to get approval from any county or city to issue a temporary event license as long as the District Agricultural Association/Fairground where the event will be held has approved of the event.”
Under Prop 215, which was passed by voters in 1996, it was easier for events to allow cannabis sales and usage. However, these events would typically allow cannabis consumption in designated “medical” areas, where patients over 21 could show their medicinal recommendation and enter.
The High Life Music Festival has also adjusted their approach. The event has been held in San Bernardino for the past two years and featured vendor areas and cannabis sales under Prop 215 regulations. Steve Caprio with High Life spoke with Billboard about having to transition from a cannabis-focused event to more of a music festival.
“We’re in a transition period. We’re in that grey area where change is happening. Everyone is scrambling to figure out what this is going to look like,” Caprio told Billboard. “I don’t see it as legalization. I see it as a way for the government to profit off of something that grows naturally. I feel like it was more legal before.”