VICTORVILLE — The High Desert Cannabis Association announced it would not support this weekend’s Chalice California hash festival scheduled for the High Desert Event Center.
“We wish Chalice all the best and hope for a safe weekend,” HDCA said in a written statement on Wednesday, saying it made the decision to pull its support and involvement in the three-day event, which begins Friday at the High Desert Event Center.
The association didn’t share details behind the decision to drop the event in Victorville, but stated that the “HDCA advocates and supports fully compliant and legal businesses and organizations. Our priority is to bring awareness regarding the medicinal use of cannabis through education, advocacy and active community engagement.”
Chalice spokesman Eddie Funxta did not return messages Thursday, but did tell the Daily Press earlier that previous cannabis-themed events he’s been involved with have been safe, with little to no calls for law enforcement service.
Based on several conversations with Funxta and the HDCA, both parties have had an amicable relationship over the last few months. Funxta has attended meetings by the HDCA and the association previously volunteered to help screen Chalice visitors, checking for valid photo ID and medical marijuana cards in order to enter the festival’s “Prop215 medicating” section at the fairgrounds.
“The decision by the High Desert Cannabis Association shows the integrity of their group (which) doesn’t support the use of recreational marijuana,” said Hesperia Mayor Pro Tem and former Fair Board President Paul Russ. “I know the association is working with local government to create laws that are fair and legal. They want a highly regulated weed system for the medicinal use of marijuana.”
Russ, who also opposes the recreational use of cannabis, said he holds much of the same values held by the HDCA, which was formed earlier this year by a group of collective owners in the High Desert in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act that went into effect in January.
John Mendoza, the founder and promoter of the Abra Ca Dabs Festival, weighed in on the situation, saying the HDCA and the Chalice festival represent two different genres of the cannabis industry
“The High Desert Cannabis Association advocates for patients only using medical marijuana,” said Mendoza, 37, who brought his event to the fairgrounds in March. “I think the move was in their (HDCA’s) best interest.”
Mendoza said the cannabis industry has several different “sectors and divisions,” which include “growers, hash-pipe makers and delivery services.”
The 5th Annual Abra Ca Dabs Festival is tentatively scheduled for 2017, with Mendoza saying he hopes to support the High Desert community by using local businesses and hiring local residents for security, catering, a set-up team and more.
Visit www.chalicecalifornia.com or www.hdcannabisassociation.com for more information on this weekend’s festival or HDCA.