Whether you’ve willingly packed into the crowded tents of Kitchener-Waterloo’s Oktoberfest, enjoyed a local beer fest or visited any of Ontario’s many open-air music festivals, chances are you’ve been greeted by an earthy, skunky scent or two as it wafted by.
Cannabis has become just as much a feature of Ontario’s many annual, outdoor public events as alcohol is. But last fall’s legalization of recreational cannabis has charged organizers with yet another cumbersome administrative task: the obligation to integrate cannabis into their event’s execution.
As Dave MacNeil, CEO of Festivals and Events Ontario, explains, there are still considerably more questions than answers.
What role does Festivals and Events Ontario have in regulating cannabis at events?
DM: We don’t oversee any of it; we’re not a governing body. We provide education and marketing tools, and advocate on the festivals’ behalf—with BIAs (business improvement areas), municipalities and with the Ontario government. We’re sort of the voice…