Tips on How to Organize Your Cannabis Events

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December 07, 2017

With an influx of cannabis products coming in 2018, organizing and hosting cannabis events could be lucrative. Sections 5601-5603 of the Emergency Regulations address Temporary Cannabis Event Licenses. This article will break those sections down, and point out a few tips to consider.

Tip #1: Start Planning Your Event Yesterday

This is probably the most important takeaway from this entire article: if you want to host a cannabis event, it needs to be planned well in advance. Section 5601(d) requires that the application to host an event be submitted 60 days prior to the event.

Tip #2: Did I Mention That You Should Start Planning Your Event Early?

Not only must your application for a Temporary Cannabis Event License be submitted 60 days prior to the event, the application must also list “all licensees that will be providing onsite sales of cannabis goods at the event.” (See Section 5601(d)(9)). While Section 5601(g) provides some wiggle room if licensees are added or subtracted, you should have a final list of vendors for your application well in advance of the 60 day deadline set out in Section 5601(d) so that you have time to adjust your vendor list, if need be.

Tip #3: Require Each Vendor to Provide Proof That They Are Licensed as Either a Retailer or Microbusiness

Yet another reason to start planning early! Vendors at your cannabis event must be duly licensed as either a retailer or microbusiness authorizing them to sell cannabis to retail customers (See Section 5602(b)). What does this mean for an event organizer? You must thoroughly vet each and every event vendor. Require each vendor to provide proof that they are duly licensed. Make sure you put your application together early enough to do this!

Tip#4: Budget for Security Services

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: You should always budget for unforeseen expenses when getting involved with the cannabis industry. Organizing a cannabis event is no exception: Section 5603(d) requires the event organizer to “hire or contract for security personnel to provide security services at the licensed temporary cannabis event.” Add it to the list!

Tip #5: Make Sure Vendors Have a System to Ensure Each Customer Is 21 Years Old or Over

Section 5602(a) states:

“All cannabis goods sales and consumption shall be limited to persons 21 years of age or older. Prior to selling cannabis goods to a customer, the licensee shall verify that the customer is 21 years of age or older.”

At first blush, the event organizer may think they’re off when it comes to checking customer IDs. Not so fast. Do not forget about Section 5603(f):

“The cannabis event organizer, who holds the temporary cannabis event license, shall be responsible for ensuring that all rules and requirements for the onsite consumption of cannabis goods are followed.”

If you’re going to put on an event, plan on keeping a close eye to ensure no one under 21 years old is purchasing cannabis. It would be safest to only allow attendees who are 21 years and older in the event, but the regulations leave open the possibility of merely restricting cannabis consumption areas to attendees that are 21 years or older. You’re going to be on the hook as much as the vendor should someone under 21 years old purchase cannabis at your event.

Tip #6: Look Up the Local Rules for Cannabis Events

The jurisdiction you’re planning on hosting your cannabis event in is entitled to impose more stringent requirements than the state rules and regulations (See Section 5603(e)). Do your research before choosing a venue!

Tip #7: Make Sure Cannabis Consumption Is Not Visible

Section 5603(b) states:

“The event organizer licensee shall ensure that cannabis consumption is not visible from any public place or non-age-restricted area.”

Section 5603(b) limits the locations event organizers have to choose from. There is some potential, though, to get creative to ensure consumption is not visible. While not mentioned in the regulations, organizing indoor events will be an uphill battle due to fire codes, as well as other issues. It may be safest to put your event on in a remote outdoor area.

Happy Organizing!

Cannabis events are going to be heavily regulated. Organizers should develop rigorous vendor screening procedures, as well as procedures to ensure vendors are following state and local regulations. An event organizer should always keep in mind that one of the biggest concerns state and local regulators have is ensuring that cannabis doesn’t end up in the hands of someone under 21 years old. You can see this concern reflected in the discussion above, as well as in the regulations. That’s not to discourage anyone from putting on an event, though. Events, if run professionally and legally, could help legitimize the cannabis industry in California.


Disclaimer

THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT CONSTIITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. IT IS STRICTLY INFORMATIONAL/EDUCATIONAL. MARIJUANA IS AN ILLEGAL SUBSTANCE UNDER FEDERAL LAW. EVEN IF YOU ARE IN STRICT COMPLANCE WITH STATE AND LOCAL LAW, ANYONE WHO PARTICIPATES IN THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY IS VIOLATING FEDERAL LAW, AND IS THEREFORE SUBJECT TO FEDERAL PROSECUTION.