California’s first legal marijuana concert has won an important approval from the Sacramento City Council. When fans attend this weekend’s High Times Cannabis Cup Central Valley headlined by Lauryn Hill, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane and more, they’ll also be able to purchase and consume marijuana, a first for California which legalized marijuana events earlier this year.

The event still needs a sign off from the Bureau of Cannabis Control, which is expected later today, but winning approval from the Sacramento City Council clears a major hurdle for High Times, which saw weed sales for a similar April event in San Bernardino blocked at the last minute.

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The Sacramento Cannabis Cup will be the first legal marijuana event in the state following the passage of Prop 64 in California in 2016, which led to full legalization on Jan. 1 of this year. The voter-approved initiative created a new set of regulations to cover events where marijuana sales and consumption are allowed. The law limits pot events to California fairgrounds, and alcohol is not allowed to be sold at weed events. The event must also be approved by local leaders, making Sacramento the first municipal entity to greenlight what is being described by organizers as the state’s first Prop 64 event. Organizers also have to pay the California Bureau of Cannabis Control $5,000 for an annual license to host one to 10 events and $10,000 to host more than 10 in one year. Organizers will also need to apply for a temporary state permit, costing $1,000, for each event they host. A detailed outline of rules for cannabis events can be found here.

“We’re really excited the council voted in our favor and we know this event will bring a great economic benefit to Sacramento,” Head of Media Relations for High Times, Jon Cappetta told Amplify. Joe Devlin, Sacramento’s chief of cannabis policy, said the Cup could generate more than $200,000 in local tax revenue and told the Sacramento City Council that organizers had developed a  “comprehensive security plan” that was approved by the California Highway Patrol and had organized a rideshare program for those attending the festival.

If the event is approved by state authorities, it will end a race between High Times and organizers of the Emerald Cup — including backers Coran Capshaw — to have the first legal weed event in the state where fans can buy and consume cannabis without a medical marijuana permit.

The victory comes after High Times’ April 20 San Bernardino event was denied a permit to allow the sale and consumption of marijuana for medical card holders. The event, which also featured concerts including Lil Wayne, was expected to draw 20,000 attendees, had to quickly change their event and allow visitors to peruse vendors and make “donations” for “free samples” of cannabis, but not actually purchase any cannabis products.

Current rules require all vendors be licensed by the state and all product lab-tested and packaged for individual sale, with clear labels listing ingredients and how much THC — the compound in cannabis that makes people high — is inside.

Dave Brooks
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Dave Brooks

Founder & Executive Editor at Amplify Media
Dave Brooks has over 15 years experience as a writer, including eight years as the Managing Editor of Venues Today. He started Amplify in 2014 to give the industry its own voice and turn up the volume on live entertainment.
Dave Brooks
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