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Manitoba Concert Goers Spark Up Despite Steep Fines

Smoking cannabis and folk festivals go together more naturally than most things.

That’s a problem in Winnipeg, because while alcohol is allowed and tobacco is legal in separate areas, provincial laws prohibit smoking cannabis in provincial parks—including Birds Hill Provincial Park, where the Winnipeg Folk Festival is held.

Those who flout the law are subject to a $672 fine, albeit one the Winnipeg Folk Fest itself had no part in imposing. Organizer Lynne Skromeda said her staff and volunteers aren’t responsible for enforcing Manitoba law—so it was up to the RCMP to step in if they felt it necessary.

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However, as one festival-goer pointed out, bans on cannabis didn’t keep people from using it at previous Folk Fests—there’s no reason legalization would make people more likely to adhere to a new ban.

To no one’s shock, many at the Folk Fest continued to smoke grass in spite of the law. One attendee noted the difference was that, unlike previous years, they were no longer trying to hide it.

Jesse B. Staniforth's Bio Image
Jesse B. Staniforth

Jesse Staniforth reports on cannabis, food safety, and Indigenous issues. He is the former editor of WeedWeek Canada.

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