A "cannabis block party" drew condemnation from some downtown dwellers who described the event that closed a segment of Broadway as "vulgar" and "ugly."
Rita Espinoza, who lives in Severs Block Building, told city councilors she was interrupted by the event while trying to conduct business during the event, which continued until 3 a.m. Sunday. She said "the most vulgar" and "suggestive language I've heard in my life" blared through the sound system on stage, from which she saw cannabis tossed into the audience.
She expressed disappointment and disgust with city officials that an event like that would be granted a permit. Ward III Councilor Ivory Vann concurred, saying what he saw there was "offensive to God" and a "disgrace."
Organizers of the event, which included 918 Roots, a limited liability company that owns a dispensary on South Main Street, sought a $7,500 grant from Muskogee Tourism Trust Authority. That request, which was denied, indicated sponsors expected to sell 800 to 1,000 tickets and rent up to 20 vendor booths.
A poster for the event lists Max's Garage as the location, but Ward II Councilor Alex Reynolds denied any involvement with outside activities.
Ward III Councilor Traci McGee said applicants for tourism funds to support the event lied when they identified her as a director of the limited liability company's board of directors. The applicant, Bradley Satterfield, also identified Reynolds and Alan Thompson as members of the LLC's board.
The block party was billed as an event that would "have involvement with various local businesses from local restaurants, hotels, dispensaries and clubs, generating exposure and revenue for the city." Tourism trustees expressed concerns during one meeting about whether the activities described by organizers were the type to promote.
McGee said while she saw no cannabis tossed from the stage as alleged, she believes rules for medical cannabis must be followed.
Mayor Marlon Coleman said steps must be taken to ensure the laws supported by Oklahoma voters are not diminished or undermined by those who might take advantage of them.
"The people of Oklahoma voted to allow for the usage of medical marijuana in our state," Coleman said. "Municipalities now have a responsibility to guarantee that those who medically benefit from its use are not caught in the crosshairs of those who blatantly have ill intent to take wrongful advantage of the law."