Las Vegas’ second-ever High Times Cannabis Cup wasn’t the toke-friendly festival that many hoped it would be–organizers were forced to make the Cup a cannabis-free event after a federal prosecutor sent a letter warning that anyone caught distributing or consuming marijuana would be subject to prosecution.
The Cannabis Cup, produced by cannabis-centric magazine the High Times, describes the event as the world’s leading marijuana trade show, “celebrating the world of ganja through competitions, instructional seminars, expositions, celebrity appearances, concerts and product showcases.” Recreational cannabis was legalized in Nevada as of January 1 this year, and the Cup was slated as an unofficial celebration of the new law.
However, that didn’t stop thousands of pot enthusiasts from attending the event at the Moapa Indian Reservation–the first Cannabis Cup held on U.S. tribal lands. 15,000 people were expected to attend the two-day festival, which featured musical acts Ludacris, B-Real, Chief Keef, and J Boog. A rally stage was a gathering point for speakers and activists; there were cannabis-themed panels on topics like legal and veterans issues and grow advice from experts. The festival included 300 vendors from 15 countries.
Daniel Bogden, the U.S. Attorney who sent the letter, went so far as to underline several sentences, emphasizing that,
“Marijuana remains illegal under federal law…[and] federal investigation and prosecution may still be appropriate.
…nothing in the Guidance Memorandum or the Cole Memorandum alters the authority or jurisdiction of the United States to enforce federal law in Indian Country or elsewhere.”
In response to Bogden’s letter, the High Times cautioned vendors and attendees prior to the event:
“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.”
The festival was scheduled to take place March 4-5, but in another turn of bad luck, day two of the event was canceled due to high wind. Gusts reportedly reached above 60 mph.
Read the entire letter from U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden here.