Hemp Festival Planner Defies Lack of Permit 

Hemp Festival Planner Defies Lack of Permit 
Posted by FoM on May 02, 2001 at 13:00:48 PT
By Selicia Kennedy-Ross
Source: Los Angeles Times
Organizers of a controversial festival celebrating hemp say the show will go on this weekend despite the fact they were denied a city permit.   The La Fiesta de las Cucarachas, a two-day music and cultural event, was scheduled to start Friday in the downtown's Arts Colony, but city officials would not grant a permit. The vow to hold the festival without it has Pomona police planning an increased presence downtown this weekend. 
 The festival has been advertised in fliers throughout downtown and is being touted as a multistage concert on Pomona's streets coupled with an outdoor marketplace for food and crafts.   Hemp Shak owner Mark Hornaday, who organized the two-day event, was turned down by the city earlier this week. He had submitted an earlier application that was rejected because it was incomplete. Hornaday hasn't obtained insurance for the festival and the city says he hasn't organized enough security for it.   Hornaday said he is appealing the city's denial. City officials said Tuesday that Hornaday had not submitted an application for a new permit.   "He's been notified that if he tries to proceed with his festival, he will be in violation of city code," Police Chef Fred Sanchez said. "He would then be subject to being cited and financial penalties attached to that and it could lead to possible arrests."   City officials said the festival would be shut down if necessary. People who show up for the festival will be informed that the event is not authorized and is not taking place.   The festival has also drawn fire from some critics who take issue with the name of the event -- "las Cucarachas" (cockroaches) is a pun on "roach" clips used to smoke marijuana, organizers say. But critics take offense to the timing of the event, which coincides with the Cinco de Mayo holiday and because the title of the festival is in Spanish.   Hornaday said the festival is not meant to offend any groups and is being staged May 5 because it coincides with International Hemp Awareness Week.   "I'm not trying to compare it with any other groups in some way that is derogatory," Hornaday said.   "The reality is that the promotions are out there and the people are coming to enjoy a peaceful festival, if that's OK with the authorities. Are they going to bill me because people came to Pomona and supported the community?"   Both the Pomona Central Business District, a downtown business association, and city officials opposed the festival because it focuses largely on the use of hemp -- or cannabis. City leaders say it gives Pomona a bad name.   Taco Nazo owner Marisa Nunez said she originally supported the hemp festival for environmental reasons, because hemp can be used as a substitute for wood in paper products. But she changed her mind after Hornaday refused to change the name of the event and did not get the city's approval. Note: Organizer of La Fiesta de las Cucarachas says event will go on as planned despite Pomona's denial of application. Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: Selicia Kennedy-RossPublished: Wednesday, May 2, 2001 Copyright: 2000 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Hemp Shak Denies Festival Permit Hemp Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by sm247 on May 02, 2001 at 15:24:31 PT
Rights do prevail
the right to free assembly and the right to redress grievances should prevail over any stinking permits. If this is stopped by the city the constitution is worth nothing.
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Comment #1 posted by Kevin Hebert on May 02, 2001 at 14:19:21 PT
This Festival Should Go On
The Constitution protects the right of the people to assemble peacefully. That should trump any festival permit, right?
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