The Del Mar Fairijuana

By Benjie Cooper

IG: @nuglifenews

YouTube: Lucid’s Vlog

In a packed room on Tuesday, May 30, the Del Mar County Fairgrounds board of directors met to discuss and vote on an event scheduled for September 23 called the Goodlife Festival. Organizers announced the festival in early May and, if allowed to take place, will be the first ever cannabis event held at the fairgrounds. When some anti-cannabis groups and like-minded locals learned of the event recently, their outrage prompted the board to schedule a special forum to hash it out. Residents of Del Mar and other local cities showed up to the meeting to support both sides of the issue and convey their feelings to the board.

If you’ve ever heard an advertisement for, or been to a home and garden show at the fairgrounds, it’s because of the work of Lawrence Bame of Westward Expos. Bame has coordinated home and garden shows there for over thirty years and is the man behind the Goodlife Festival. The show is one that he’s been wanting to do for some time, but after the passage of Proposition 64, he felt it was the right time to move forward with his plan. His idea has support from people in the cannabis community, but some residents and anti-drug coalitions are not happy about the festival possibly taking place at the fairgrounds and would like to prevent it from happening.

Organizers made it known that there would be no selling, gifting, or sampling of any product containing THC at the event. They did state however that there would be a designated area set aside where patients could bring their own medicine and use it in compliance with California state law. But state regulations aren’t where the board’s primary issue was; they were more concerned with what the federal government’s response might be to an event where consumption was allowed.

Taking into account recent statements by Attorney General Jeff Sessions about adopting a tougher stance on states that violate federal statutes on marijuana, the board of directors was mostly apprehensive to host an event that allowed for the violation of those rules. The federal government has yet to interfere with recreational states and the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment drained their raid budget. When it is also taken into consideration that Session’s boss, President Trump supports medical marijuana state rights, the likelihood of federal interference is small.

After the board deliberated the evening’s topic and questioned and debated with Bame, they allowed members of the public to come up to the podium to speak. Members of the North Coastal Prevention Coalition and the San Dieguito Alliance for Drug-Free Youth were in attendance, many of them read prepared statements as to why they did not want a cannabis event in their city.

People gave a variety reasons as to why they believe marijuana is dangerous and why the Goodlife Festival should not be allowed to take place at the fairgrounds. “Marijuana is a gateway drug…normalizes the use of marijuana…it kills brain cells…it has no medical use…is very dangerous…it doesn’t cure cancer…just take Advil…it’s very addictive.” The point that cigarette smoking is not allowed at the fairgrounds was also brought up, but the board determined that the rule only applied during the San Diego County Fair. Several people that spoke also mentioned that they thought that allowing marijuana at the venue would send the wrong message to children—that drugs are okay. In a country where obesity, alcoholism, and cancer claim lives every day, the Del Mar Fairgrounds hosts the San Diego International Beer Festival as well as a county fair where deep-fried-everything is consumed on the premises en masse for an entire month during summer. Also, opening day is July 19, 2017, @ 2:00 post time if you would like to bet on a horse. Be sure to wear a fun hat.

Many local cannabis supporters were also present at Tuesday’s meeting. Many of them related to the board about how the plant had helped treat and even cured some of their medical conditions while others spoke about how its usage is part of their First Amendment rights, which members of the council agreed was a valid and important point.

Through their questions and statements, members of the board demonstrated that the morality of cannabis consumption or whether or not it sets a bad example for kids wasn’t their main issue. They made it clear throughout the night that possible federal issues were their primary concern. The voters of California have made their voice clear at the polls regarding medicinal and recreational cannabis, and the council members have shown that they understand that. Protecting the interests of the fairgrounds and its well-being, as well as their own, were more pressing issues than entertaining tired propaganda leftovers from past decades. They want to make sure that the fairgrounds, the event holders, and the attendees are in compliance with the laws of the land, so no one gets into trouble. It’s that simple.

There are examples of other fairgrounds in California that have hosted cannabis events with no federal interference whatsoever. The Emerald Cup and Hempcon are two sizeable cannabis events that the Sonoma County Fairgrounds has hosted with no problems. When the Victorville City Council learned that the Chalice Festival would take place at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds, they were not happy. The council urged facility managers to cancel the event which prompted them to schedule more of them. Still, there has been no action from the feds.

But if compliance with federal regulations is what the Del Mar County Fairgrounds board of directors needs to let the Goodlife event move forward, then that is what they should get. On-site consumption or not, you can never have too much education no matter who you are.

After nearly five hours, the board decided to reject and revise the Goodlife Festival contract. Their goal is to allow the event to happen when it is in compliance with state and federal law. For the immediate future, this means that there will be no cannabis at a cannabis event if one takes place on the property. The board will be seeking relevant legal advice from the capitol in Sacramento as to how they might proceed with hosting such an event without getting into legal entanglements. Organizers promoted it as an educational event from the beginning, and that should be just what it turns out to be. There just won’t be sales, sampling, gifting, consumption, or possession of any cannabinoids on the premises whatsoever.

Those who came to the meeting in support of the festival that evening were mostly satisfied with the board’s compromise. As much as supporters would like to have the freedom to medicate at such an event at the fairgrounds, they understand that that cannot be a reality at this time. In the meantime, there are plenty of cannabis events patients in the area can attend such as the San Diego Cannabis Farmers Market where people can expect to find product sales and plenty on-site consumption in full compliance with California State law.