BY ALLISON STEIN
Northern Arizona’s “first medicated patient event,” “Kixx on 66,” organized by AZ NAYSA CBD, started as planned at 11:30 last Saturday. For the first time in Route 66 history, cannabis brands tents towered in the air above the “Mother Road,” one of the most legendary highways in history. This was a moment you hoped to share with your grandkids. Not in this way, though.
Imagine driving three hours to a cannabis event, only to find the event surrounded by what was probably the entire on-duty Williams Police Department. It happened this last Saturday at the event in Williams, Arizona. Williams is considered the “Gateway” to Grand Canyon National Park. The full day trip many people planned got cut short but at least the event lived up to its name and indeed, got “kixxed” off on route 66.
Set up next to a snack stand on a dirt lot sectioned off by a roll-out fence, the “Kixx on 66” festival was scheduled through Eventbrite, a platform for finding and booking events. The event was listed as an 12-hour event, with live music, vendors and food. Yet, it only lasted about 7 hours. One out of the four total vendors present was rumored to have started packing up at around 3 pm, less than four hours after the event started.
Soon after that, the Route 66 event abruptly ended around 5 pm, when the police arrived. (Cue flashbacks to high school keggers getting shut down.) Police surrounded the property. Event organizers talked with the police for 30 to 45 minutes (or 6 hours in paranoid stoner time) and then it was over. Patients began to wander off, brands started taking down tents and packing up equipment to head to a rental bed and breakfast.
A Private Sesh
Whatever the causes, the effect was enough of a buzzkill to cause most event goers to leave, once police cleared out and they were free to do so. Patients that drove the 3-hour trip were scared to get in their cars, even after the police were not visible. Many of the locals followed organizers to a home at the back of the festival property for a private house-sesh. Out of towners were left to plan their return trips on their own.
In the aftermath, we contacted noted cannabis defense lawyer Sonia Martinez for advice on creating cannabis events. “To protect the health and safety of the patrons and guests, it would behoove medical marijuana event planners to ensure the event falls within the parameters of compliance with Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act (“AMMA”), in addition to local rules and regulations,” Martinez explained.
“Anything short of strict compliance with rules and regulations can lead to significant liability and potentially even criminal charges, not just on the part of the planners and vendors, but on the patrons and guests in attendance” Martinez added. “It is also imperative that patients are fully aware and informed of their rights, protections, and obligations under the AMMA when attending these events.”
“The Mayor Hates Me”
Why did the county police shutdown “Kixx on 66”? The event planner was allegedly heard to boast about how the Mayor of Williams “hated him.” Could this just be a case where patients were caught in the middle of a small-town feud? Or, did it stem from a lack of permits, or a number of compliance codes not being followed, or the cloudy concentrate laws in Arizona?
The exact reason for police interference remains unclear. Still, when the event planner, who did not want to be identified, was asked how he felt the event went, he said: “It was a great party, went for 7 hours, everyone had a great time. We plan on having another one.”
In his defense, patient consumption events are incredibly difficult to get right. Event organizers always run the risk of being shut down. Jim Morrison, the head of Errl Cup, said he would be more than happy to go over the legal code with anyone planning a cannabis event to ensure the safety of the patients and brand representatives in the community.
With the question of our cannabis concentrates in the air until the end of May, it’s best to stick with wax pens and vapes for medicating discreetly on the road trips. For further precaution, Jim Morrison reminds us to lock our meds in the truck of the car. This is a simple preemptive measure. He also suggests printing out their website’s page of legal advice. https://www.theerrlcup.com/arizona-marijuana-attorney/
Be conscious when planning any trip in Arizona. Be up to date on local laws in your travel destinations. Be proactive to ensure your safety and your passengers’ safety AND vendors and event goers alike. Escape the ridiculous Phoenix heat, but don’t get caught up with the local heat in the process.
—Allison Stein lives in Mesa and writes for the Arizona Cannabis Monthly and Arizona NORML.