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Slow your roll: First Halifax cannabis pub crawl cancelled

The last-minute cancellation of a 420-themed pub crawl this weekend has taken the organizers by surprise
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(Stock photo)

Dart Frog Events is a Halifax-based company that's thrown over 40 themed events since 2017.

Co-owner Krishna Parmar says they like to cater to groups of people who wouldn't usually go on a pub crawl.

"There's other companies that come here and they promote pub crawls that are all about drinking and partying," he says. "Ours are just about getting out with a group of like-minded people."

Past themes range from Harry Potter to the Golden Girls, and they're planning a Game of Thrones crawl for later this spring.

"We want to cater to people who are introverted, just to get out and mingle and have a good time," says Parmar's counterpart Nick Stoddard.

But the last-minute cancellation of a 420-themed pub crawl this weekend has taken the organizers by surprise.

"All of a sudden, a couple days ago the bars start calling me," Parmar tells NEWS 95.7's The Todd Veinotte Show.

Parmar says the bars had gotten calls from the Alcohol and Gaming Association (AGA), telling them the event couldn't go ahead as planned.

Parmar and Stoddard called and emailed the AGA -- to no avail.

They say they still don't know why the event was nixed, even thought they'd sought approval from the AGA at a meeting earlier this year.

"We went down to Burnside to their office on January 2, and we said hey is this event even possible?" Parmar says. "The two compliance officers that sat with us were really helpful with all the information, and they said we don't see an issue with it."

So, in March, Dart Frog Events launched the cannabis-themed pub crawl.

The company began selling tickets for $25 each, ordered custom-made t-shirts, and got in touch with bars to host the crawl.

"The event was growing traction and people were buying tickets, and they were really excited," Parmar says.

The bars selected for the crawl were purposely located near designated smoking spots -- The Roxbury, Boston Pizza, Split Crow, and Vinyl.

"None of our guests thought 'Oh, I'm going to light up a joint in the bar,'" Parmar says. "That's just foolish."

Both owners are disappointed that the AGA wasn't up front with them about why the cannabis pub crawl was problematic.

"No one really called us and contacted us and gave us the information," Stoddard says. "It just, it was like somebody called [the bar owners] in secret and was like don't allow these guys."

Dart Frog Events never got an official reason the crawl was cancelled, but Parmar says bar-owners told him it was due to the dangers of mixing cannabis and alcohol.

"If that's the case then we have a whole other discussion, because they sure enough don't mind that you can have energy drinks with alcohol," he says, "That's what a Jager bomb is."

Stoddard thinks that some people are still unsure how to treat weed now that it's legal.

"There's so much change going on with the new legalization, that there's a lot of fear and there's a lot of stigma," he says.

Parmar adds that if the AGA contacted him with their concerns, Dart Frog could have altered the event accordingly.

"We weren't doing anything sneaky. We weren't hiding anything," he says. "If there's something they didn't like, whether it's the t-shirt design, whether it's you can't give out joints, whatever. Come to us and we can change it."

For now, Dart Frog is refunding all the tickets sold for the cannabis pub crawl. They've lost money on advertising costs, and the guest speakers they'd set up for the crawl to talk about using cannabis safely.

"It was going to be a whole event centred around the education and fun of marijuana," Parmar says. "Have a joint or two, and just celebrate the legalization of marijuana in this province."




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Victoria  Walton

About the Author: Victoria Walton

After graduating from journalism at King's, Victoria Walton now works in the film industry and as HalifaxToday.ca's weekend editor.
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