Cannabis Festival to be held in downtown Biloxi on April 23

Plans for an event called the Cannabis Festival Mississippi have raised some eyebrows on the Coast.

Natalie Bonner, one of the festival organizers, says people commonly react along the lines of, “You can’t have a marijuana festival in Mississippi — that’s illegal!”

So what are they missing?

While the event’s name may conjure images of Woodstock, there won’t be any consumption of illegal substances there — although you’ll still have to be 21+ to attend.

The festival will take place at the District Green, a downtown Biloxi outdoor event space opened last year, on April 23. Tickets are $35.

Bonner, owner of a boutique CBD shop in Biloxi, which the Sun Herald profiled last year, described the festival as an educational opportunity for the merely “canna-curious” and regular aficionados alike, timed just a few months before Mississippi’s legalization of medical marijuana goes into effect.

There will be panels discussing subjects as disparate as science, business, politics, medicine, social equity and cooking — but all as they relate to cannabis. Among the speakers will be state legislators and advocates for marijuana legalization.

In an info session titled “Cooking with Cannabis,” a chef will provide attendees with samples of “hemp-infused culinary dishes,” said Lauren Lee, another festival organizer.

The event could be particularly useful for business owners and small farmers interested in learning about the “entirely new job market that’s being formed here in our state” by the legalization bill, Bonner said.

Bonner first had the idea for the festival two years ago, she says, but she and the other organizers’ plans were stymied by the coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s event inaugurates what organizers hope will be a yearly tradition. Plans for 2023 are already in the works, Bonner said.

Twenty percent of all profits generated by the event will go to a fund for the legal defense of people with marijuana-related charges, Bonner told the Sun Herald.

There will also be attorneys on site who can assist people seeking to get such charges expunged from their records.

The proceedings will begin at 1 p.m. and take place in three large tents thematically named Indica, Sativa and Hybrid.

After the panels, a lineup of local bands will play until midnight.

Legal cannabis products like CBD, Delta-8 THC and hemp will be sold at the event.

This story was originally published April 11, 2022 8:00 AM.

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