Article by David Friend, CTV News
Plans for a sprawling event that blended cannabis education with a summer music festival have been snuffed out by the City of Vaughan, Ont.
Organizers of the Journey Cannabis and Music Festival say new bylaws introduced by the city have forced their three-day event at the 990-acre Boyd Conservation Park, north of Toronto, to be cancelled.
Journey, originally slated to run from Aug. 23 to 25, was supposed to combine a bring-your-own-cannabis approach with a multi-genre lineup of musicians.
The performers had yet to be announced.
The premises were also set to include a beer village, booths selling cannabis paraphernalia and culture items, and a selection of licensed producers who would discuss trends and products, but not actually sell weed.
Journey organizers say the festival signed a contract with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority and the Boyd park, but they were blindsided when a new bylaw was passed on May 14 which allowed Vaughan to regulate smoking of tobacco and cannabis within city boundaries.
Murray Milthorpe, chief experience officer of the festival, says organizers were not given advance notice that a bylaw was in the works, despite attempts to work closely with the city over a special events permit.
“At no time during our meetings with the City of Vaughan, York Regional Police, Public Health officials and Alcohol and Gaming representatives did anyone advise us that they were installing a bylaw of this nature,” Milthorpe said in a statement.
He added that organizers consulted with the city on special permits and both sides were “simultaneously working” through the submissions process.
However, representatives for the city say leadership at the Journey festival did not apply for a special events permit. They say the smoking bylaw had been under development since last year.