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LOS ANGELES — The High Times Cannabis Cup, which features hip-hop stars, pot sales and a namesake produce competition, survived 30 years of the war on drugs only to face a more daunting challenge: bureaucracy in the era of legalization.
The San Bernardino, California, City Council late Wednesday denied High Times’ application the needed approval to run the event, one of the largest of its kind in the nation.
The three-day pot festival in San Bernardino was at the last-minute mercy of state and local officials after new state regulations on marijuana, designed in part to implement the will of voters who wanted recreational cannabis in 2016, kicked in on Jan. 1. Since then, approval from local jurisdictions has been needed before the state will green light such gatherings.
The 6-0 city council vote to deny High Times a permit means Cannabis Cup and its estimated 20,000 attendees would effectively have to go cannabis-free at the event held annually around April 20, better known to marijuana enthusiasts as 4/20.
A customer checks a strain of marijuana at the High Times Harvest Cup, a spin-off of the popular Cannabis Cup, in San Bernardino in November 2017. Richard Vogel / AP
A representative for the publication told the council that if the plug was pulled, High Times might have to offer refunds for tickets, which ranged from $60 up to $420. She also said it was possible the music portion of the festival could carry on as planned.
The Cannabis Cup boasted headline rappers Nas, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross and others as part of its lineup. Normally fans would also be able to purchase exotic