Cannabis festival discussion delayed; new meeting May 30

DEL MAR — The discussion about a cannabis festival slated for September at the Del Mar Fairgrounds has been postponed for a week.

The board of directors for the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which governs the state-owned facility, was scheduled to address proposed policies for The Goodlife Festival at the May 23 meeting, which was already being held two weeks later than normal because of the upcoming San Diego County Fair.

Expecting controversy and lengthy public testimony, the item was pulled from that meeting’s agenda and moved to a special meeting that will begin at 4 p.m. on May 30.

The new agenda includes an informational report from the San Diego County Farm Bureau on the commercial production of cannabis and a discussion and the establishment of a 22nd DAA policy on hosting cannabis-related events at the fairgrounds.

Directors are also scheduled to discuss and possibly take action on the Goodlife contract.

The Sept. 23 festival, billed as an educational and informational event about medical marijuana, is being organized by Westward Expos, a Del Mar-based company headed by Lawrence Bame that has been producing home and garden shows at the seaside venue for more than 30 years.

According to fairgrounds General Manager Tim Fennell, Bame has been pitching the cannabis idea for several years.

He said a “change in the climate” surrounding marijuana use, especially the November passage of a statewide initiative that legalizes recreational use, is one reason he finally decided to allow the festival to be held at the fairgrounds.

But Fennell insists Bame’s show has “nothing to do with Proposition 64.”

“It’s going to celebrate the legal use of cannabis — everything from medical cannabis appreciation to its various health benefits,” he said.

The contract was signed in March without authorization from the nine-member fair board, although approval from directors is rarely sought when booking the more than 350 events held at the fairgrounds annually.

And while board members were aware there was interest to host a cannabis event that would focus on medical usage and education, most heard about Goodlife through the media or a 12:40 a.m. email sent by Fennell before the announcement was made public.

“Hosting a cannabis event is a policy decision which needs approval of the board,” Director Stephen Shewmaker said.

According to a press release from Bame, The Goodlife Festival is “Where Cannabis, Great Food, Live Music and More Come Together By The Surf and Sand” to make the “good life” even better.

Exhibitions and informative seminars will help attendees, who must be 21 and older, appreciate and learn more about how cannabis, when used in a safe, legal and healthful way, “can enhance a creative, spirited, relaxed (and pain-free!) lifestyle,” the document states.

“It’s a revolutionary new festival for anyone interested in ‘the good life!’ Nowhere else can you learn more about the emerging cannabis scene, (from) the growers and business owners of your favorite cannabis products all in one place,” according to the press release, which one fair board member said makes the event appear “a little light on the education and medicinal focus.”











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