The New Jersey Cannabis Festival scheduled for this weekend in Atlantic City has been postponed since the Showboat reneged on their contract.
According to the letter Heady NJ obtained, the Showboat Hotel said the New Jersey Cannabis Festival contradicted the “family-friendly image” they wanted to project.
In the middle of the convention’s eight months of planning, the Showboat replaced part of their empty floor where gambling previously took place with an arcade. They also placed a circus outside where they had agreed the New Jersey Cannabis Festival would occupy space.
Boardwalk Budz faced the same issue in June, which adversely affected their planning.
“These people were really looking forward to it. And I really want to apologize to everybody,” festival organizer Jeff Zick explained. “This is not all right to be treated this way.”
For a place seeking to cultivate a “family-friendly image,” the Showboat still has three bars in it.
As part of their “family friend image” campaign in a city known as a hotbed of vice, the Showboat would like to build an indoor waterpark in the area that was going to be used as the convention floor.
Zick is refunding everyone their money as he figures out his plans.
Despite the setback, the event will still be else held.
“We’re moving on. We’re looking at new venues,” Zick said.
The Showboat is refunding the rooms booked in preparation for the festival.
The Aborrted Plans of the Postponed New Jersey Cannabis Festival
Zick noted the first New Jersey Cannabis Festival was on track to be a successful event.
It was supposed to have the bands Mendo Dope Space Kamp, Cheezy & the Crackers, Suburban Sensi, P-Funk North, Cultivated Mind, and Royce Castro. The festival has been designed to be an annual event to celebrate the Garden State’s cannabis culture. There were going to be vendors, food, and a consumption area.
Zick noted they were trying to bring all the pieces of legalization to the New Jersey Cannabis Festival by featuring medical dispensaries, gifting entrepreneurs, CBD, and paraphernalia vendors. Zick sought to bring together many small cannabis businesspeople who otherwise rarely have the chance to convene.
In addition, the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey (CMMNJ) and Sativa Cross were going to be featured there. The festival had partnered with Sativa Cross to raffle off tickets.
Zick had sought to make the New Jersey Cannabis Festival a celebration of the hard work of advocacy and its victories.
“But unfortunately, we were denied that right,” he said.
He noted CMMNJ Board Member Jim Miller and his late wife Cheryl and their militant advocacy for cannabis reform were going to be honored.
Miller said the postponement sounded like grounds for a lawsuit.
“Patients always suffer in obscurity,” Miller lamented.
He is interested in responding by protesting outside the Showboat.
“It’s not meant to help anything be smoothed over,” Miller said.
He noted the Boardwalk was not conducive to protest because some view it as private. However, protesting outside their garage seemed like a good idea to Miller to engage their customers by passing out flyers.
Zick lauded Miller for fighting for patient rights and cannabis homegrow.
Along with the advocates, the medical dispensaries Apothecarium, Columbia Care, and Curaleaf signed up to be event sponsors and have been very supportive in the wake of Showboat’s decision.
“We definitely sold out the vent when it comes to vendors,” Zick noted. In addition, attending tickets were also selling very well.
Zick noted, “Atlantic City has been nothing but great to us. They welcomed us back with welcome arms. Unfortunately, the Showboat made their decision.”
“The city is very confused,” he added.
“Unfortunately, we were treated extra-terrestrial,” he said.
Zick noted this is not the first time they have had problems holding events. He lamented the great stigma and rules prohibiting cannabis gatherings.
“I’m ready to be treated normal,” Zick added.
With many of the issues they had faced in the past, they had been able to reassure local authorities and work with police on traffic control.
New Jersey is the site of Zick’s latest show after he produced the Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival, along with shows in New York, Florida, and Virginia. They have never had an event violation nor an arrest occur.
According to NECANN President Marc Shepard, their conference scheduled for the Showboat in October is still on schedule.
“We’re a B2B trade show so it’s really not a comparable. I don’t have anything against them,” he said. “I love festivals.”
Shepard said he was not aware of the New Jersey Cannabis Festival cancellation details so he couldn’t comment on it.
The Showboat management did not return calls by the time this was published.
(Full disclosure the New Jersey Cannabis Festival has been advertising the event with Heady NJ)