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Las Vegas Cannabis Cup Threatened with Federal Interference

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For decades the biggest cannabis-themed event in the world has been the High Times Cannabis Cup. The cup started in Amsterdam in the 1970s and eventually made its way over here to the U.S. for both medical cannabis cups as well as recreational ones (after Colorado made the bold move to legalize cannabis and allow the event to be held in Denver). However, due to federal prohibition of the very plant the event sets out to celebrate, it’s not much of a surprise that they have run into issues along the way.

The first Cannabis Cup of 2017 is expected to be held in Nevada on March 4th and 5th on land belonging to the Moapa Paiute Tribe – and the tribe council who approved the event were under the impression that they were protected under memos released by the federal government in recent years. Unfortunately, they were not the first tribe to be told that was not how the memo was intended to be interpreted, and U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden of Las Vegas sent them a letter to explain to them exactly that.

“I am informed that the tribal council is moving forward with the planned marijuana event referred to as the 2017 High Times Cannabis Cup because it is under the impression that the so-called ‘Cole Memorandum’ and subsequent memoranda from the Department of Justice permit marijuana use, possession and distribution on tribal lands when the state law also permits it. Unfortunately, this is an incorrect interpretation of the Department’s position on this issue.”

At least a couple of weeks have gone by and they have been attempting to get things sorted out so that the event can still take place. Originally they were advertising the event as they would have any other Cannabis Cup, the premiere event where you can expect herbal spas, cannabis cooking contests, and sampling of other products along with a concert headlined by Ludacris. But now, High Times is asking people to leave cannabis behind for this particular event and to abide by federal law this time, in order to continue to bring legitimacy to the growing cannabis industry.

“Vendors, guests, performers and attendees are advised to comply with all local, state, and federal laws regarding the use and distribution of cannabis and cannabis related products. In order for the cannabis industry to continue to earn legitimacy and social acceptance, we understand that rules and laws need to be abided,” the letter stated. “High Times will continue to stand up for our civil liberties and advocate for our inalienable rights to cultivate and consume cannabis. We urge you to join us.”

Open cannabis consumption has been a big part of every Cannabis Cup – and it’s odd to think that this would be the first cup not to allow open and public consumption alongside like-minded people who all gathered to celebrate the legalization of plant. If the government really did step in and decide to shut down the event due to cannabis being present, then it would certainly be confirmation of their recent statements about enforcing federal law on the legal cannabis industry.

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