Smoke on the Water event edges closer to possible Manistee approval

MANISTEE — Salt City Rock and Blues’ proposed Smoke on the Water event is one step closer to potential approval.

Concerns have been raised over marijuana use at the event as well as the original planned date of the event – which called for the concert to take place alongside the Manistee National Forest Festival on July 2. The exact location was not given.

The gig would allow – if approved by the council – a fenced area where marijuana can be consumed. Currently, marijuana use is illegal in public but may be permitted in restricted areas with a special permit, according to Manistee Police Chief Josh Glass.

The organizers of the Smoke on the Water event are Salt City Rock and Blues and Authentic 231.

Both Ogilvie and McKenzie made presentations March 8 at a City Council business session, with Ogilvie giving background information on Salt City Rock and Blues and McKenzie giving background information on Authentic 231.

McKenzie said during his presentation that the date of the event had been moved so that it did not coincide with the festival.

Salt City Rock and Blues was founded in 2013 to feature local bands – Red Apple Road and Band X – and in the end, funds raised from the first gig contributed $20,000 in donations to rehabilitate the Manistee North Pier Lighthouse Head, according to Bob Ogilvie, co-founder and current vice president. When Rock and Blues was founded – it was just a 4th of July gig with local bands – but it was such a hit that it was decided it would become an annual event. Events then took place over the Labor Day weekend.

The current goal of the Smoke on the Water event – as well as Salt City Rock and Blues’ larger goal – is to raise funds to build an amphitheater on First Street Beach to hold concerts and other community events. . Organizers plan to feature a Deep Purple tribute band. Deep Purple’s most famous song is called “Smoke on the Water”.

What makes the event unique is that the concert would feature both marijuana and alcohol. Salt City Rock and Blues would license the liquor, and Authentic 231 would sponsor the marijuana-related portions of the event.

Of Manistee’s five marijuana dispensaries, Authentic 231 will host because Authentic 231 CEO William McKenzie said he is the only person who works at any of the five dispensaries to hold an organizer’s license. marijuana events. According to the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, people who own a marijuana event organizer must give them 90 days before a scheduled event to apply for a license.


“If a Marijuana Event Organizer plans to hold a Temporary Marijuana Event, the Temporary Marijuana Event Application must be received by the MRA at least 90 days prior to the first day of the event to ensure that the MRA has sufficient processing time to approve and issue a license for the event before it occurs,” according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website.

Authentic 231 would provide security for the event and patrol the restricted area. McKenzie noted that security would check IDs upon entering and exiting the fenced area, as well as patrolling the area.

McKenzie also addressed some of the concerns council members had raised in his presentation. He said Authentic 231 and Salt City Rock and Blues will have event and general liability insurance that will provide double coverage in the event of an incident.

McKenzie said Authentic 231 and Salt City Rock and Blues will provide free Manistee Dial-a-Ride services, to and from the event, to Smoke on the Water event patrons.

McKenzie has also sought to allay some concerns about marijuana use. He compared marijuana and alcohol use, noting some differences.

McKenzie said “there has never been a fatal marijuana overdose.” He noted that this is not the case with alcohol.

“Alcohol consumption increases the risk of injury to the consumer. Marijuana use does not,” he said.

He also noted that marijuana users are less likely to be aggressive or cause trouble at events.

“The bottom line is that a group of marijuana users is far less likely to cause trouble or create liabilities at an event than a group of people drinking alcohol. A person who uses cannabis is more likely to nap under a tree enjoying the music than cause trouble,” McKenzie said.

Concerns have also been raised about whether people who drink can enter the restricted area for marijuana use.

McKenzie said it was not allowed and security would ensure people could not enter the marijuana smoking area with a drink.

Glass was also concerned about the regulation of marijuana use when people leave the event, as well as increased service calls during the summer months.

“I don’t think if you have a bag of marijuana that you put in your pocket… nobody can say ‘sir, you can’t leave with that’ or you can’t stop them once they leave the establishment to smoke it,” Glass said.

He noted that this was somewhat of an enforcement capacity issue.

“I don’t want to get service calls (from) people smoking marijuana in public that we can’t handle, because of the service call (volume) and it makes us feel like we’re indifferent to the prescription…we are not (indifferent),” Glass said.

McKenzie couldn’t resolve those issues, but Glass said the department would need to come up with a plan if the Smoke on the Water event were to be approved by city council.

McKenzie and Ogilvie acknowledged some of the concerns and noted that it is ultimately up to Authentic 231 and the Salt City Rock and Blues to ensure the event goes smoothly, if approved by the board. .

Ogilvie noted that there would be a capacity limit and there would likely be no more than 1,500 tickets sold.

McKenzie said her experience with cannabis users is that they are receptive to all established rules.

“We’ll have signs everywhere asking people ‘please don’t use cannabis outside of this area’. We’ll have people coming in and out to remind (other) people ‘thank you for coming, there is no cannabis use outside of this area – please follow the community rules,” McKenzie said.

He explained why he thinks this strategy will be effective.

“I think that’s powerful because I think people want to see more stuff, and they know that abusing the privilege isn’t going to help us get those kinds of things approved in the future.”