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Del Mar Fairgrounds board cancels medical marijuana festival

DEL MAR, Calif. – The first-ever cannabis festival that was going to be held at Del Mar Fairgrounds has been canceled – for now.

The Del Mar Fairgrounds Board of Directors hosted a public meeting Tuesday night to allow citizens and groups to voice their reasons why or why not the medical marijuana festival scheduled for September 23 should be canceled.

The hours-long meeting concluded with the decision to cancel it, but board members told organizers they'd reconsider the festival if new guidelines eliminate guests from smoking marijuana at the event.

Months ago, fairground officials had approved a contract with organizers for the Goodlife Festival, a billed it as an educational event about medical marijuana. Attendees would have had to be at least 21 years old. Only medical marijuana prescription card holders would be able to bring it into the venue and smoke it in designated areas, according to event organizers.

As many as 6,000 people confirmed online that they are interested in going to the festival.  The anticipation of large crowds caused residents and anti-drug activists to voice their opposition.

The major concerns were whether or not the event was legal according to federal law and if medical marijuana patients were allowed to smoke weed at the fairgrounds located at 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard.

"No California official wants to put their name on a document that is contrary to federal law when you have an Attorney General like Jeff Sessions," festival organizer Lawrence Bame said.

"They call this the Goodlife Festival, but it’s just drug use," saidScott Chipman, an opponent of the festival.

"Our show is not about breaking laws, it’s not about breaking rules, it’s about providing information," Bame said. "We are not selling any cannabis."

The Goodlife Festival organizers are the same group that hosts the Del Mar Home and Garden Show.