Journey Cannabis & Music Festival announced today that they will be cancelling what organizers were calling Canada’s first legal marijuana-themed music festival. Furthermore, the press release detailing the event’s demise takes aim at the municipal government of an Ontario municipality.
“The City of Vaughan has stopped Canada’s first cannabis and music festival dead in its tracks by passing a by-law designed to remove it from the summer calendar,” reads the release.
The release cites Smoking By-law – No. 074-2019, passed in May, that regulates “the smoking of tobacco, cannabis, electronic cigarettes and other like substances within the boundaries of the city of Vaughan.” It prevents any kind of cannabis from being smoked on public property without proper medical documentation.
The city denies the connection between the event and the new bylaw, telling Grow in an emailed statement that the issue was permitting.
“No special event permits were applied for or issued for this event by the City of Vaughan,” a representative wrote. Stating that the bylaw has been under development for months.
“The timing of the adoption of the by-law was based on public process and reasonable timelines, following the passage of the legalization of recreational cannabis which took place in October 2018.”
Vaughan is also one of the municipalities in Ontario to opt out of allowing cannabis retail outlets within their borders.
Saying he’s saddened by the city’s decision, Murray Milthorpe, chief experience officer of Journey Cannabis & Music Festival is quoted saying that “Journey was about combatting the illegal market and disrupting the stigma of cannabis through a three-day journey of celebration, conservation and education.”
“At no time during our meetings with the City of Vaughan, York Regional Police, Public Health officials, and Alcohol and Gaming representatives did anyone advise us that they were putting in a bylaw of this nature” said Milthorpe, in a press release. “We provided senior city officials the opportunity to review our press release prior to launch as they requested.
“We never received a response. Instead, the city’s public relations department reached out to media to suggest that Journey hadn’t submitted its special events permit – a process that the city was working with us directly to submit successfully. an impossibility based on the fact that they are listed by the city to be submitted two weeks prior to an event.”
According to previous releases, the event was aiming to create an “unprecedented, vibrant catalyst for cannabis culture. Journey will host North Americans at an outdoor oasis nestled within the headwaters of the two cities.”
Musical guests were not confirmed, but the events was supposed to feature inspirational Instagram-personality and five-time New York Times bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk as a headliner of their speaker series.
There has been no announcement as to whether or not organizers plan to reschedule in a different location.