Friday marked the beginning of the Cannabis Cup at Cal Expo, the first event in California where marijuana could legally be sold and consumed by attendees.
That second part almost didn’t happen though.
High Times, the event organizers, said they didn’t know they needed a permit from the city of Sacramento until a couple of weeks before the event.
Sacramento City Council voted 6-2 to give them they permit they needed on Tuesday.
That was great news for ‘Friendly Farms.’ The Sacramento-based cannabis company is the presenting sponsor of this weekend’s event. They also attended the previous one in San Bernardino.
The difference? That one didn’t get the permit Sacramento has, which was a huge financial blow to Friendly Farms and other vendors. Owner Chaz Smith said they still showed up, ready to go.
“We’re here to take care of the people. People have paid their hard earned money to come in. We couldn’t sell [marijuana products] to them,” said owner Chaz Smith. “We could only show.”
Smith estimates he invested more than $100,000 in sponsoring the San Bernardino event and hiring employees, DJs, and models.
He lost it all.
But this weekend, he’s hoping to make up for that loss in Sacramento. And he commends city leaders for their support.
“This cannabis thing in California is moving forward,” said Smith. “Who’s gonna lead?”
Now, a lot of eyes are on Sacramento as it takes on this historic event.
Smith feels that pressure has everyone extra cautious to make sure it’s a success.
“We’re limiting our sales,” said Smith. “We’re spending extra time and money to train staff to make sure nothing improper takes place here.”
The event goes through Saturday night. Organizers expect more than 15,000 people to attend. The two-day festival also includes performances by musical artists including Rick Ross, Ludacris, Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne, and Lauryn Hill.