Event Updates: No Cannabis Cup, and a Waterfront Hempstalk

Bad news for Portland cannabis fans. As it turns out, Portland will not be having a 2015 HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup. Similarly to Hempstalk, the Cannabis Cup was continuously denied permits for locations in Portland. It’s strange, considering how much revenue the cup would bring, but apparently the largest opponent was the OLCC. No surprise there.

There are only so many venues that could host something as large as the Cannabis Cup. Amanda Younger, the Event Director for HIGH TIMES stated that “Portland-area venues that can accommodate such volume inevitably have liquor licenses. The OLCC made extremely clear that holding a Cannabis Cup at a venue with a liquor license would put that liquor license in jeopardy of being revoked, regardless of whether or not liquor would be served at the Cannabis Cup.” A continuous road-block for progress, the OLCC has been exercising the power granted by Measure 91. Which is, like, all the power – essentially the OLCC is the only government agency that has control over the cannabis industry and for some reason it’s holding Oregon back. HIGH TIMES is a huge name in the industry, and the Cannabis Cup is an international phenomenon. It’s pretty lame that Younger says that “bringing the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup to Oregon has proven to be a Herculean task— in fact, it’s been the most difficult of all of our Cannabis Cups to get off the ground.” So, what now?

The dates of Portland Hempstalk Harvest Festival have officially been announced: Oct. 17th – 18th. It certainly has the air of an Autumn harvest festival – but the real backlash is due to the location. To no fault of Paul Stanford or Hempstalk’s own, Tom McCall Park will once again be the host of Hempstalk. Fighting the OLCC and the Portland Police Commission was no easy task, and that seems largely not of concern to most Hempstalk attendees. It’s true, the event will be a shadow of its days at Kelly Point Park, but it seems that all these large events are met with resistance.

To HIGH TIMES, the city of Milwaukie seemed like a good alternative to metro Portland, but even that didn’t pan out. After exhaustive negotiations beginning in July this year, Younger withdrew the application for the Cannabis Cup in Milwaukie herself. She says to the city, “It has become clear to us that regardless of the amount of time we spend going back and forth on this application, the City of Milwaukie will never grant it.” Another embarrassing set-back. Hopefully Oregon and its government officials and agencies realize that legalization was a good idea, and that progress and possibilities for the state lie ahead.

Why does legalization feel like prohibition?

Just recently, High Times cancelled its’ annual Cannabis Cup in Washington State which has ran for several consecutive years. The event organizers weren’t be able to obtain any consumption licenses – not even for liquor – therefore, they were discouraged from holding the event.

So the rumor started that High Times would take the Cannabis Cup down South to our State, and hold the event in the month of July, when legalized marijuana becomes official. But, the organizers for the event haven’t released any further details, stirring up a little bit of doubt.

In addition, Portland’s Hempstalk, which has been running successfully for 10 years, was just denied a permit by the Portland Parks Bureau, citing unchecked illegal public consumption at previous events.

Wait a minute. So now that a big portion of the Pacific Northwest – neighboring states even – are about to share legalization, now they are cracking down?

While legalization seems like it’s suppose to relax regulations, even if just a bit, in some cases it seems legalization is just encouraging it.

Colorado and Washington State has legalized cannabis for years now, and both have been running a retail recreational industry for a combined total of around 2 years. They have figured out that part of the equation, but one part they haven’t figured out, is allowing adults a place to legally consume cannabis in public.

If Oregon wants to make a splash, lead by example, find a solution to a problem, and even make some history, we should allow people to open marijuana lounges or bars from the get-go. In other words, make legalization feel a bit more like legalization.