Taco Fest in Royal Oak to Feature Cannabis Sales and Consumption Area

March 12th, 2024 Culture & Lifestyle
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In a decisive 5-2 vote, Royal Oak city commissioners have greenlit the inclusion of a cannabis sales and consumption area at the upcoming Taco Fest in July, marking a significant nod towards the growing acceptance of cannabis in community events. The Taco Fest, which attracted 60,000 attendees in its inaugural year of 2022, will unfold from July 4th through July 7th, echoing the downtown vibrancy of the Winter Blast festival. Jon Witz, the event's organizer and the mind behind the popular Arts, Beats and Eats festival, continues to bring engaging experiences to the city.

This move comes on the heels of last year's successful introduction of a cannabis consumption and sales area at the Arts, Beats and Eats festival, which received favorable feedback from both attendees and city officials, including Mayor Michael Fournier. Despite not personally advocating for cannabis, Mayor Fournier respected the overwhelming voter support for recreational cannabis use, evidenced by the passage of the state referendum in 2019.

Expanding on last year's pilot, the City Commission has once again endorsed the concept for Arts, Beats and Eats, entrusting its execution to House of Dank, and has now extended the same opportunity to Taco Fest, with JARS Cannabis at the helm. JARS Cannabis, boasting about 35 locations across Michigan, Colorado, and Arizona, will manage the designated area in the municipal park lot at Third and Williams streets, ensuring privacy and regulated access.

Royal Oak Police Chief Michael Moore detailed the operational plans, emphasizing a controlled environment with fencing and dedicated entry and exit points. The setup mirrors JARS Cannabis's Mile High 420 Festival in Denver, which showcases the company's capability to host such events without incident, further solidifying the decision for its inclusion in Taco Fest.

Initial concerns regarding the introduction of cannabis consumption at city festivals centered on odor control and preventing minors' exposure. However, these were effectively addressed at last year's Arts, Beats and Eats with stringent security measures and sophisticated air filtration systems. The decision to move forward with a cannabis area for Taco Fest reflects a commitment to hosting inclusive, diverse, and safe events for the Royal Oak community.

The city's proactive approach to managing and integrating cannabis into public events underscores a broader acceptance and normalization of cannabis use in social settings. As Royal Oak continues to explore these new frontiers, the focus remains on ensuring safety, compliance, and community satisfaction.

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