In a video of a confrontation taken by Cannabis Life Network, security guards asked for the return of festival credentials, asked sponsors to leave the property, said their sponsorship of the event had been “cancelled,” and accused attendees of making death threats against him.
Ashley Abraham, owner of Canna Mall member the Green Ceiling, was also asked to leave by organizers and said she still hasn’t heard from organizers John Donnelly & Associates group as to why.
She said it seemed completely random who was asked to leave and who was able to stay, with about 45 people involved with the Canna Mall eventually leaving the grounds.
“It was based on accusations of mischief and aggression with no specific details, “she said. “They said it was multiple instances over the weekend, but they wouldn’t provide any details as to what or when or why.”
Video showed a Canna Mall member being arrested after reportedly swearing at a security guard, it’s unclear if charges have been laid.
An RCMP officer said a spokesperson from the sponsors that had been sent to speak with event organizers was “arrested because he started uttering threats and causing mischief.”
John Donnelly & Associates were said to be unresponsive to requests for clarification from Canna Mall staff as to why they were being evicted.
“I did speak with John Donnelly on Sunday morning as we were being asked to leave and he just kept on saying that it was the RCMP that made the decision to make us leave,” Abraham recalled. “When I questioned him about it and said ‘the RCMP can’t evict from private land’ he said, ‘yeah you’re right’ so I said ‘this is your decision, as the event organizer?” and he said ‘I’m not going to comment on that right now.’”
John Donnelly & Associates did not respond to requests for comment.
After being told to leave, Paul from Captain Greenbeard and Canna Mall said he didn’t understand why organizers had targeted the group.
“I totally believed this was a cannabis event, for us to be kicked out for cannabis activity is totally wrong,” he said. “They knew what we were doing, they should have given us the guidelines to begin with to follow.”
“We were deemed a security risk last night by security, while most of us slept,” said Shatterbeard, who had also come with the Canna Mall. “There’s thousands upon thousands of dollars invested in this and a security company is allowed to run out of control.”
Abraham said there’s been no communication with Donnelly & Associates since about what happened and, as a high-level sponsor of the event, no word on any kind of decompensation from organizers.
“I feel like we were targeted from the get-go, I just feel like it was a complete lack of organization and mismanagement of the event,” Abraham said. “We had one of the busiest booth, throughout the weekend, and I feel like it was noted and that there was was some jealousy and malicious accusations against us to try and try to quell the success we had this weekend.”
Voices from around the cannabis community were quick to denounce the action.
“After the drama filled weekend and awards show at Bio Cup I’ve completely lost faith in cannabis events,” read a post from Thompson Caribou Concentrates. “It’s truly sad the things we witnessed.”
“It was a sad day for the cannabis community of Vancouver Island,” wrote Duncan Dabfest organizer Annissa Warner. “Yet another competition bought and paid for.”
Abraham said while the event was a negative experience she plans to return to business as usual at Canna Mall, serving the community.