Niles Public Safety Director talks cannabis festival contingencies

NILES – When the Niles City Council approved the second, larger Niles Cannabis Festival for Sept. 25, it came with contingencies.

One of the contingencies written in was that Niles Public Safety Director Jim Millin would determine that “all conditions and all rules are followed” for the first, smaller event on July 31.

Millin said the process could seem a bit confusing.

“The vendor has to apply [to host the event] 90 days prior to the event. We couldn’t wait to see how the event goes [in order to host a September event],” Millin said. “But if things go poorly for the event in July, and [any issues] are things we can’t change or fix, then they will not be able to move forward with the one in September. If we do have any issues in July and we can make the necessary changes for the one in September – it can go on.”

The 90-day rule has to do with the state’s approval of the event, with Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Millin said that during the festivals, residents and attendees can expect to see additional officers on duty.

“I’ve been in meetings with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police, and they too will have additional staffing for us, so we will have officers out and about that day that will be monitoring the event,” Millin said.

The events in July and September are planned to be hosted at Riverfront Park south. During the event, the officers will be blocking off Bond Street.

“If you don’t have a ticket to get into the event, or don’t have credentials that you are with the staff or vendors, you won’t be allowed down Bond Street that day,” Millin said.

The park will be closed, including the Ruff and Tumble Dog Park, for the day.

“Nobody under 21 [years old] can be around the event. It can’t be publicized or in the public eye,” Millin said. “That’s probably the best location we can minimize [exposure], keep it contained and keep control over people coming and going.”

The city has designated the area for the consumption of marijuana products that day, limiting the attendance to those 21 years of age and older.

After the first event in July, the city will have a debriefing to go over any issues that may have arisen during the festival.
Millin said even if there are no issues, they will still strategize for the second event, as it is approved for 2,000 attendees, where the first is limited to 500.

“It will give us a trial run, and we’ll see where it goes from here,” he said.

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