WOODLAND (CBS) – A Yolo County cannabis festival was abruptly canceled after months of planning and preparation. The organizers needed the county Sheriff’s department to sign off on the event, but it refused.
“It’s just like going to the county fair except for the theme is cannabis,” said John Javidan.
For months, Javidan has been promoting the Tree Harvest Cannabis Festival at the Yolo Fairgrounds.
“It can be fun, educational,” said Javidan.
Thousands of people said they were attending the festival on Facebook. Vendors are booked, and tickets were sold.
But the County Sheriff’s Department must sign off on the event, it declined.
“Well obviously heartbroken instantly,” said Javidan, who had invested tens-of-thousands of dollars.
“We are tasked with upholding the laws. We don’t make the laws,” explained Matt Davis with the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department.
Davis says there are some legal questions about the festival.
“Commercial cannabis activities are banned in the county of Yolo with the exception of certain cultivation sites that are permitted in the unincorporated areas,” said Davis.
Davis says he worries about intoxicated people leaving the event, plus public consumption is outlawed.
“It’s a new law. It has gray matter in it,” said Rita Moore, the Yolo Fairgrounds CEO.
Moore says the laws may be hazy, but when it comes to festivals, it’s clear to her.
“The law the way we read it is that we can have those types of events here, but we do need local jurisdiction to agree,” said Moore.
And without the Sheriff’s signature of approval. The Tree Harvest Festival is up in smoke.
“We’re going to keep looking into it and hopefully as the local ordinances begin to understand the laws better, they’ll be more comfortable in issuing the permit for us,” said Moore.
Javidan says the festival is not gone forever. He plans to make another attempt at the festival in the fall or next spring.