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Police Go Undercover at California Weed Festivals

The police are looking for any way into marijuana-based events.

by Justin O'Connell

Marijuana-themed festivals often frequent the High Desert Event Center in Victorville, California because it’s one of the few state-owned venues in Southern California that hosts such events. The California venue is seen as “cannabis friendly” compared to others in the region.

Victorville police are aware. They police such events undercover, according to Captain Sam Lucia of the Victorville Sheriff’s Station.

“Whether the Sheriff’s Department agrees or disagrees with the type of events hosted by the fair, we still have an obligation to police our city and will continue to do so,” Lucia said.

The Chalice California Music, Glass, Hash and Art Festival, a three day festival set to take place at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in July, is called the, “Biggest Hash Festival in America.” Lucia said his department will have additional personnel and resources on hand during cannabis themed events, including Chalice.

“Although the SBC Fair plans their own events and makes their own business decisions, they generally include the Police/Sheriff in pre-event meetings,” Lucia said. “Based on those meetings, SBC Fair CEO Geoff Hinds relies heavily on Police/Sheriff recommendations regarding the number of additional staff to make an event safe.”

Lucia says his officers will be there undercover. Still, Victorville officials are worried. City officials have urged state officials to cancel Chalice.

“The Chalice California Festival is not endorsed by the Victorville City Council,” city spokeswoman Sue Jones told the Daily Press, citing the events promotion of “recreational drugs.”

Mayor Gloria Garcia sent a letter to California’s 28th Agricultural Association Board alerting them of Victorville’s city Council’s unanimous opposition of the event. They want it canceled.

“Our greatest concern is the safety of our citizens, and for this reason, we have been in communication with our police force regarding the Chalice event,” Jones said.

Alongside live demonstrations of glass, paint, and other arts.

Musicians like the popular hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan and rapper Machine Gun Kelly will play at the event throughout the day. Medical marijuana use will be allowed in specific areas. Despite undercover police and fearful city officials, attendees and promoters report safe environments at marijuana-themed events.

Founder of the Abra Ca Dabs Festival, 37 year old John Mendoza, told the Daily Press that his marijuana festival was a mellow time with good vibes  including live bands, food and drink, vendors and a medicating area for California medical marijuana patients.

“Most marijuana use has changed over the years and has become more like a wine or beer tasting event,” Mendoza said. “There are different strains, tastes and potencies, and people like to gather to consume legally and to talk.”


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Justin is a California-based writer who covers music, cannabis, craft beer, Baja California, science and technology. His writing has appeared in VICE and the San Diego Reader.



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