S. Tahoe nips annual pot shop event in the bud


By Kathryn Reed

One day Julian Marley might write a song about South Lake Tahoe, or maybe Reno, since that is where he will end up playing on Sunday.

Marley, son of the legendary Bob Marley, along with the Uprising Band were slated to be the headliner of the 4th annual TWC Cannabis Cup on April 20. The South Lake Tahoe City Council on Tuesday quashed that idea.

Cody Bass, who runs Tahoe Wellness Cooperative, appealed the city’s denial for a special activity permit. Bass has had such a permit for the last three years to put on a one-day event in the parking lot in the portion of Bijou Center that his landlord owns.

As with most events, his has grown over the years. This year it was to include Marley playing in the parking lot to anyone over 18 who paid for a ticket, and the cannabis cup that would have been inside the collective and for members only.

The City Council on a 5-0 vote after about two hours of discussing the matter said no way. That was staff’s recommendation.

“It’s a bummer for us,” Bass told Lake Tahoe News after the decision. “It’s mind blowing to me that in the end they didn’t make it happen.”

For permits like this on private property the applicant needs to apply no less than two weeks in advance. Bass did that. He also said the city never presented him with any complaints from the prior year.

What the city took issue with is that the original permit filed on April 4 did not resemble the promotional material that was being circulated for the event. This raised concerns about parking, noise and disturbance to neighboring businesses, as well as possible traffic issues along Highway 50.

“He was informed it violated the dispensary permit,” Hilary Roverud, with the city’s planning department, told the council.

Bass said the cannabis cup is allowed under state and local law because only people with medical marijuana cards are allowed to participate. He also pointed out how a number of cities in the state allow these and in some ways are partners by having them on city owned property.

Bass submitted another proposal that eliminated the cannabis cup and only had the music portion. Staff denied this as well, primarily citing that without consent from the adjacent property owner to allow parking that there was no plan in place to accommodate people. Security and transportation were other concerns of the city’s.

Bass said he could make it all work.

Collectively the council believed Bass should have been working with the city sooner. He repeatedly said he worked within the city’s guidelines.

The city offered to help him to move the event to Bijou Community Park, but Bass did not want to go there. He said it wouldn’t work for the stage and didn’t want to be the test case for such an event of this magnitude there.

It’s estimated about 1,300 would have attended the concert.

Bass asked the city to allow him to use Lakeview Commons, saying the concert would be open to everyone for free. The city said no; it did not want to have to revise its rules about the use of that venue at this late date.

Bass told Lake Tahoe News the concert will go on. Now it will be at the Knitting Factory in Reno on Sunday.

As for what will happen in the future, Bass predicts with Nevada getting into the medical marijuana business and Reno allowing 11 shops, that a cannabis cup will be in the Biggest Little City’s future and South Lake Tahoe will let this opportunity go up in smoke.


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Comments (48)
  1. Lisa says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    Wow, one less stoner event… sad.

  2. Hillary says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    Good job council…..

  3. Chief Slowroller says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    10,000 kids on Ecstasy.

    music so loud your ears bleed.

    overdosed, raped and murdered.

    building a place in Bijou Park to hold such an Event.

    what does City staff have to say about that?

  4. KATHY says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    No matter where or when, Its going to be done,love, peace, and happiness,Go pop a pill get high,lol

  5. Gaspen Aspen says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    Yet the city welcomes the drunken drug fest known as Snow Globe. Go figure.

  6. Observer says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    Guess we’d rather support out of town businesses – pot is prevalent at New Year’s music event at LTCC and at Lakeview Commons summer concerts.

  7. WhatAjoke says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    You only get a permit in this town if you will be serving acid or ecstasy to the kids. Haha city staff only wants one thing and that’s $. They don’t care about people, noise or pot. Bass didn’t give them the $.

  8. orale says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    Wow. That’s lame. It would have been a nice shoulder-season event and most of the attendees probably ride bikes anyway.

  9. Jack Durst says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    This event got some of the highest search traffic of the year on my blog, as big as the summer concert series at Harvey’s.

    Parking would not be an issue, it never was in previous years and this year there are many more closed shops in that center.

    I say everyone who intended to go to this event show up with protest signs instead. Shut down the shopping center for a day by not letting anyone park.

  10. Leanne says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    Thank you City Council.

  11. C.Dub says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    @ Chief Slowroller – “overdosed, raped and murdered.”?
    A little extreme and overblown, would you not agree?
    Slow ‘er down there and get your feet back on earth.

  12. dumbfounded says - Posted: April 16, 2014


  13. Superwownow. says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    To me it is a private property right. The reason the xity only requires a two week window for permits is be cause you should be able to do what you want on private property. The staff and council could not provide a single written complaint or 911 log or incident in regards to last years event. Only a couple letters from 2 surrounding properties concerning parking. And one from a citizen suggesting they not allow the event in bijou park. Had they wanted to approve the appeal they could have, with restrictions. but not even one of them did. Sad. Three seats up this and one running for higher office. Time to rock the vote.

  14. sunriser2 says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    I hope they all show up at the Earth Day event at Bijou. We all know they have sufficent parking there.

  15. Arod says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    This city council is such a disappointment. This would have been a great event. I am ashamed at their poor decision. Let’s vote these idiots out. They have no vision or hope for the future of South Lake Tahoe. Hypocrites!

  16. Full Time says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    So Cody Bass why don’t you move your pot shop to Reno, thank you city.

  17. Dave says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    This is for the username Full Time, does the dispensary really affect your life in any way? If you don’t go there, why should it bother you? This was supposed to be a fun event, it’s too bad things didn’t work out. The people of TWC are a hard working people, just trying to make an honest living in this town. The city council need to get their act together and make some positive changes to this area. This town is divided in so many ways, it’s a shame to watch this place fall apart.

  18. Full Time says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    Yes Dave it does affect my life for reasons that are none of your business!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have my feelings on this matter and you have yours, that’s what great about the country we live in.

  19. Dave says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    So, just knowing that the shop is there bothers you? Are you scared you might unknowingly smoke some pot and go to hell? I’ve heard that happens sometimes. I just want to understand where you’re coming from. I find it hard to believe that one business in town is ruining your life here in South Lake Tahoe.

  20. 4-mer-usmc says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    I watched the entire Appeal on the City’s website and listened to Mr. Bass’ testimony and believe that had Mr. Bass not initially advertised this as a Tahoe Wellness Center affiliated event having up to 2,500 attendees in a small parking lot, had he started the permitting process sooner, had he received written permission from all the surrounding businesses to use their parking facilities, and had he gotten permission from the owner of the CVS property for this event to take place adjacent to that property which would have impacted all those businesses, then he maybe could have pulled off the same event he did last year. This wasn’t advertised as being the same event as last year and the venue at that location is too small to squeeze as many people into as Mr. Bass had advertised and was selling tickets for. He declined the offer of Bijou Park, but then his medical marijuana dispensary wouldn’t have been right in the concert site.

    While everyone wants to blame the City for this I think it was Mr. Bass who dropped the ball on his responsibilities and didn’t perform adequate preparation or follow the rules. When something is really important to you, you make sure to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s. It’s called being prepared and covering your a**.

  21. Arod says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    Hey Fulltime, When you post on a public forum you make it everyone’s business. They are so low key and have no impact on my life.

  22. tahonymous says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    This is about money and nothing else. Despite all the problems the Snow Globe brings, the city council had no problem working around it and permuting the event, let me guess wasn’t Nancy Kerry highly involved in that festival? … After all, we are the one electing our city officials, just fire those old farts for once and put people that really care about our community, we need young blood in those chairs not dinosaurs!

  23. superwownow says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    If you watch the meeting you will hear the city attorney state to the council that the property owner of their portion of the property was signed in mid march. Also Mr bass had gone to planning and was told due to possible changes to the site plan Mr Bass was not able to submit with out the owner of the CVS property, which did not come. however, the property owner did send an email stating that although he could not allow the event to expand to his property, a to please keep it contained to the Olson property…. that does not sound to me that he is not in support. I guess if impact is another word for bringing business then yes, the event would impact other business. the denial for the appeal will have a negative impact on the local business that were going to help with production also alot of people who were planning to come to visit South Tahoe stay in rooms, eat food, enjoy the beauty. the council cold have granted the appeal with restrictions if they wanted not one council member did! 3 seats in November rock the vote

  24. careaboutthecommunity says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    If it could be done without infringing on others, including other businesses, it probably would be a go.

    Most people don’t want to be around smoke of any kind now days. Don’t want to see it, don’t want to smell it. Many have quit smoking, and this is a trigger. Maybe they could use vaporizers only?

    As for the Snowglobe comparison, that outfit did infringe on peoples rights with their noise, and they had to address it, or they would be gone. Lots of mood altering goes on there, of all kinds of substances, but you would have to be a paying attendee within the grounds to experience it.

  25. 4-mer-usmc says - Posted: April 16, 2014


    “3 seats in November rock the vote”

    I think you should run for office.

  26. A.B. says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    “Now it will be at the Knitting Factory in Reno on Sunday.”

    I had to read through this article thoroughly to get to this gem at the end.

    Nice job city council – another event leaves the area, likely for good.

  27. Parker says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    One can find fault with any permit if you choose to scrutinize it closely enough! The ticky-tack nature of the faults in this permit clearly indicate the City had it out for this event.

    I’m not so sure having this event is good for the City? But the blatant hypocrisy of tolerating SnowGlobe and not this event is pretty much beyond words!

    The only rationale, The ONLY rationale could be that SnowGlobe does a much better job of lining the appropriate pockets!

    Clearly there’s more money in psychadelics than in weed!

  28. bike bum says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    It’s always amusing to see how worked up people get over their weed. I know the whole thing is best, but still, it’s all so ridiculous.

  29. Former resident says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    I tell you I won the lottery last June when someone walked in to my business and bought it. TWC has held that event the last few years and I not only went to the concert ,my business benefited monetarily from the event. Money in late April is a gift in itself. Everyone was respectful and nice. I’m not a “stoner” but I enjoyed the music and’s pathetic the city did this but not surprising. They let Snowglobe happen and the booming of music rattled my windows yet I was under strict decipal law which prevented me having music played on my property for weddings. That eliminated income not only for me but other businesses related to weddings and the trickle effect went all the way to gas stations. The city enforced that decipal law, which is if you can hear any noise from 50ft it is a nuisance. My lovely neighbor made it his business to enforce the law. An event in late April when nothing is even going on in this town is a bonus. There are lawyers, chemists, laboratory representatives, doctors and other professionals that attend this event who all spend money on hotels,gas and food. Thank god we got out of there. It may be pretty but it is truely the ugliest place on earth and I will spend my vacation dollars any where but there.

  30. jeremy says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    Just cost a local buisness my 1000 in rooms for 4 days, most likely another 600$ in food easily. Ridiculous, I would rather give my money to local buisness than to anyone in Nevada.

  31. Superwownow. says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    I know its hard for some to wrap their minds around the fact cannibis is a flower just like lavender and hibiscus with undeniable medicinal benefits backed by science and now almost half the united states. At t his point the people who refuse to admit it is good for some and maybe not for others,and you choose to to say things like weed, pot shop and classify people as dope heads… I feel it is you living in the stone age. This plant heals sick people. And keeps healthy people healthy. Every business should be treated equally. If you have a concern file a complaint. If you dont how does hearsay become fact. And ruin this event for everyone involved.

  32. Melissa says - Posted: April 16, 2014

    I also watched the entire proceedings, and the main thing I came away with was that this application was subjected to an additional level of scrutiny than is given to most. Regardless of personal opinion, all city business should be conducted equally. I just registered to vote for the first time in 10 years, see you at the polls!

  33. jeremy says - Posted: April 17, 2014

    I’m not quite sure if the SLT city council can do math, but if only a 1000 people spent half of what I was expecting to pretty sure that’s around 800,000 in genarated revenue for local establishments. Way to grind down an economy already down and out, also isn’t it off season. The absolute slowest time of the year…….?

  34. Julie Threewit says - Posted: April 17, 2014

    You had fun writing that headline, didn’t you?!!

  35. lee says - Posted: April 17, 2014

    It must suck to be so conservative like you people are. Go back and drink that bottle of booze and pop your perception pills. Let’s not allow all that revenue come into our city. Self righteous hill billies.

  36. go figure says - Posted: April 17, 2014

    Gee lee, maybe berkley would be a better fit for you

  37. Dan Stroehler says - Posted: April 17, 2014

    Why don’t we quit beating around the bush and just legalize it already? In moderation, like anything else, won’t rot your brain, curve your spine or keep the country from winning a war!

    Let’s just get it over with.

    Just my 2 bucks

  38. KATHY says - Posted: April 17, 2014

    Yes, Pot can change your brain for the better, chatting about pills, and booze,yes it can change your brain for the worse, Its a fact, Which one would you choose POT, PILLS, BOOZE? Which one is more dangerous ? I would have to say pills ,you can over dose,so that is not good for the brain, or getting dizzy on pills, Booze,Well how many have been killed ,or had DUI IN THE PAST? Its a choose your favorite ,or loose your life in time,We all get high ,no matter what, Just be careful how you use ,Happy Easter ,Oh yeah what is 4 20 and its on Easter to lol ?ENJOY IT,KNOW MATTER HOW HIGH YOU GET .

  39. Gaspen Aspen says - Posted: April 17, 2014

    Yes lee, go back to Berkeley!! You’ll fit right in there. Pathetic lib.

  40. cheepseats says - Posted: April 17, 2014

    I, too, watched the council meeting on the city’s website. And I admit to being at least partially sympathetic to Mr. Bass’ primary defense of not realizing that there were unresolved past issues.

    However, it’s overwhelmingly obvious that Mr. Bass got WAY too ahead of himself in planning (or, actually, not planning) for this year. His admirable and perfectly legal desire to grow this event was fed by an unchecked overconfidence and led to a binding financial commitment to a C+/B- entertainer in Julian Marley (somewhere in the $5k-$10k range, plus expenses). That’s not a good recipe for success and undoubtedly a hard lesson to swallow. The truth is, Marley doesn’t give two shakes about where he’s playing, as long as his contractual stipulations are fulfilled and he gets paid in full.

    And although I must say Angela Swanson’s self-absorbed blathering is certainly wearing thin, I thought the council did a nice job of giving Mr. Bass lots of leeway when it comes to the event’s blatant connection to the dispensary. Don’t be surprised if that comes back to haunt him down the road. But those who singularly use this as an opportunity to go after the SLT marijuana issue are obviously simple-minded opportunists. And I also commend the city staff for honestly trying to help resolve the issue amicably.

    In the end, understandably, Mr. Bass wasn’t too thrilled with the outcome. He seems like a reasonably sharp guy and I’d like to think that in his moments of clarity he realizes there’s no one to blame but himself.

  41. careaboutthecommunity says - Posted: April 17, 2014

    Another choice besides pot, pills or booze is abstinence, people actually do it, some just because they’ve never had any interest in mind altering substances, and others because it became a life or death issue to stop.

  42. Votethemout says - Posted: April 17, 2014

    This is discrimination. It is simply about the fact that a dispensary is involved. Live and let live! That show was going to bring some great acts to town and the city government ruined that for us residents. I was looking forward to seeing some good music in a venue other than a nightclub, bar, or casino. This is not an aggressive or destructive crowd, they had no good reason to squash it and actually it sounds like they even tried to move it to the commons for free and that idea was shot down too.

  43. rock4tahoe says - Posted: April 18, 2014

    Regardless of the MJ Dispensary, 1500 people in the Bijou parking lot is just not a good idea. How about the Commons or a park?

  44. Melissa says - Posted: April 18, 2014

    The organizers offered to put the show on for free at the commons, but that was also turned down

  45. michael lee says - Posted: May 7, 2014

    Had to pay $325 for an ounce ( the best they had) there my first and last time going there, gouging like a typical drug dealer. I would like to see competition. But in this city, good luck unless you want a knife in your back. ( oops, i unlike most people on this blog, i use my real name. So i better watch out with the truth)
    Hey what do you think about legalizing it and stop the dog and pony show?
    I went into a now incarcerated guys shop here in S. tahoe and tried to convince patrons and staff the merits of legalizing it. A common line used to was “but it is a poorly written law” ( as if they read it). BS i said then and i say it now, people in the shops were not even remotely interested in legalizing weed.
    I wonder what the one shop in town feels about competition?

  46. Dogula says - Posted: May 7, 2014

    Sheesh! The last time I bought pot it was $20 an ounce. Guess I must be getting damned old.

  47. michael lee says - Posted: May 7, 2014

    After venting i realized i did not talk about the topic.
    More music of any kind is good for south shore, maybe not the parking lot and in say maybe use the beach behind timer cove lodge. That is a city beach that T C has in front of them.
    Commons beach is so awesome, why not there?
    By reading the bias of the blogs here on the topic and knowing this towns actions on weed shops i would not doubt they just did not want stoner kids here. Even if they bring in tourism.
    More music please……..

  48. reloman says - Posted: May 7, 2014

    micheal, where would the people park for that beach? the Beach retreat is only required to supply 15 parking spots. They were offed to hold the event at Bijou Park, but they turned that down. maybe they should have contacted Tahoe Valley Campground, that would have been a good place also though they would have had to pay for its use as it is a private campground, posibly the campground by the lake would have worked as it was close at that time and not in use.