"Pot Festival" Organizers Challenge City's Park Permit Ordinance

Article excerpt

In the case of Coalition for the Abolition of Marijuana Prohibition v. City of Atlanta, No. 99-11385 (llth Cir. 07/27/2000), the Coalition for the Abolition of Marijuana Prohibition ("CAMP") challenged the constitutionality of the City of Atlanta Outdoor Festivals Ordinance. The facts of the case were as follows:

CAMP is a non-profit organization focused primarily on forming alliances and associating with other groups concerned with marijuana issues. Additionally, CAMP sponsors the Great Atlanta Pot Festival (the 'Pot Festival'), a direct action event advocating changes in the laws governing marijuana.

CAMP held the Pot Festival in Atlanta's Piedmont Park from 1990 through 1995. Prior to 1995, CAMP erected a stage with a cover, stage lights and barricades for the use of speakers and musical performers during the Pot Festival. During the Pot Festival, CAMP distributed printed information regarding the uses of marijuana and the hemp plant and advocating the repeal of all laws prohibiting the use of marijuana. CAMP also sold products, such as t-shirts, bearing messages about marijuana. Other vendors sold food and drinks.

In 1995, the City of Atlanta requested that CAMP apply for an outdoor festival permit. The City explained that, because the Pot Festival had evolved into a larger, more commercial event, attracting approximately 30,000 attendees and featuring concerts, political speeches, and vendors selling food and merchandise, it now fell within the 1994 Festival Ordinance's definition of an "outdoor festival. …