Donnelly & Associates’ first Bio Cup cannabis competition was surrounded by controversy after The Great Canadian Canna Mall, one of the event’s titanium level sponsors, was forced to leave the event Sunday morning.
As of Monday, the organizers had offered no explanation for the group’s removal and had not responded for comment.
Since then, Donnelly & Associates has taken to Facebook to attempt to explain the situation, blaming the heightened security issues on locals who, following an earlier festival in the area, wrote a number of emails to authorities “that everybody should be arrested at the gate because of this, and I quote ‘drug festival.'”
The event representative said, due to these preemptive complaints, the Bio Cup changed all of their security plans two weeks before the event. The organizer then later wrote that the problem was due to a fire ban.
“I was told this all started over a propane fire pit on your grounds two nights in a row, the whole island area, has in effect a total fire ban,” the representative wrote. “Security was harsh, we admit, but the complaints came from other campers worried about your fire.”
In a Cannabis Life Network video, security personnel at the festival accused attendees, upset about being told to leave, that they had made death threats against them.
“Local authorities treated us like a regular booze festival and were very harsh. Way too harsh,” event staff wrote.
In CLN video, RCMP are seen calmly interacting with festival goers to explain the actions taken by Donnelly & Associates hired security.
Ashley Abraham, a member of the Canna Mall group forced to leave, said at the event John Donnelly repeatedly blamed the RCMP for the group’s removal. When she told him that the RCMP didn’t have the authority to remove people from private land without instruction he said he wouldn’t comment further on the matter.
In response to the organizer’s posts, Abraham wrote that the fire pit story didn’t mesh with what Canna Mall staff were told at the event.
“I have been told everything from mischief to aggression and outright violence,” she wrote, calling the events a public relations disaster. “Your company has accused us of everything under the sun while having no details, specific complaints, times, actual witnesses, of which we have plenty.”
Bio Cup organizers posted that they plan on working on the details of the event for next year and making changes.
In response to this article, Bio Cup organizers changed their stated issues with Canna Mall representatives once again, saying staff handed out “over 80 joints in the non-smoking area” and were smoking cannabis in a non-smoking area “clearly breaking the fire code rules at the festival, making it dangerous for other attendee’s.”