High Times' Cannabis Cup 2017 faced challenges similar to Chalice.
High Times' Cannabis Cup 2017 faced challenges similar to Chalice.
Brian Feinzimer

Chalice California on Hold After Being Denied Weed Permits

After months of planning, and with a stellar lineup of hip-hop acts in place, Chalice California has been postponed after the Victorville City Council last week did not grant the event permission to sell marijuana. The festival, originally set for July 13-15 at the San Bernardino Fairgrounds, was all set to include live music and pot vendors, until the council dealt the killer blow.

"Chalice Festival has officially been postponed" for approximately four months to likely another venue, according to the festival's Instagram. Organizers cited safety concerns and the city council's antagonistic position toward pot sales as motivations for the delay.

"We must take a stand that cannabis culture business brings value to cities," festival organizers wrote.

While adult recreational use of marijuana has been legal since Jan. 1, the newly created Bureau of Cannabis Control requires commercial pot ventures to have local approval. In the case of Victorville, the city has an ordinance that bans commercial pot activity within city limits.

Throughout the council meeting that sealed Chalice's fate, dozens of citizens spoke and implored the council to reconsider its decision. Among them were several cancer survivors and veterans who cited events such as Chalice as critical to their communities.

“It would be a shame for you to turn away something that has been so beneficial to so many people who are giving you the freedom to make the choice to not have this,” said one veteran.

Adelanto Mayor Rich Kerr pleaded with the council to consider the deleterious effects their inaction would foist upon the city and nearby cities.

Chalice California had set a strong hip-hop lineup.
Chalice California had set a strong hip-hop lineup.
Courtesy Chalice

“There’s a lot of jobs that are going to be lost out there, a lot of revenue that’s going to be a lost,” he said. Kerr also scoffed at those concerned that pot offers a pathway to more serious drugs, declaring that a black market is in fact the gateway to harder drugs.

Only one speaker, who asked the council to draw a line in the sand and “just say no,” seemed to support a Chalice festival sans pot.

The meeting frequently exposed a conceptual gulf between the public in attendance and local officials. In comparison with city staff who downplayed the economic impact of banning pot sales, several hotel owners expressed concern that their most lucrative weekend of the year would be ruined.

“Weed may not be everyone's cup of tea, but money is,” said one hotelier.

And while the council claimed it could not change on short notice the local ordinance banning pot sales, one speaker noted that the city attorney had told him that Victorville had discretion to allow it.

Chalice is not the first to stumble on these bureaucratic hurdles, with the April High Times Cannabis Cup in nearby San Bernardino not allowing legal sales of pot. However, the Cup continued in a diminished form, which attendees described as “a ghost town.”

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