Pubdate: Sat, 28 Oct 2000
Source: Gainesville Sun, The (FL)
Copyright: 2000 The Gainesville Sun
Contact:  P.O. Box 147147 Gainesville, FL 32614-7147
Fax: (352) 338-3128
Author: Tim Lockette, Sun staff writer
Cited: Florida Cannabis Action Network:
Note: The 34 page decision can be found at
Click on CAN News.


The organizer of Gainesville's annual marijuana legalization festival
says his group won a "major victory" this week when a federal appeals
court struck down two city ordinances aimed at regulating public gatherings.

"I think the city tried to use a scorched-earth policy to prevent one
group from holding an event," Kevin Aplin, president of the Florida
Cannabis Action Network, also known as CAN, said Friday.

Since 1989, CAN has sponsored Hempfest in Gainesville.

In 1995, the city denied the group two of the three permits it needed
to hold the event.

In addition to a standard event permit, the city required all event
organizers to obtain permits to set up sound equipment and to close
streets that would be occupied during an event.

The 1995 Hempfest went on as planned, after CAN filed suit against the
city and was granted an injunction.

The suit argued that the street closing and sound ordinances were

The city amended the ordinances before the case was

A district court struck down the original ordinances, but found that
the amended ones were constitutional. Aplin appealed that decision.

On Tuesday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal in Atlanta ruled that
both ordinances are unconstitutional prior restraints on free speech.

In a brief opinion on both ordinances, the court stated that the sound
ordinance was unconstitutional because it allowed the city to deny an
event organizer permission to set up sound equipment.

Ordinances regulating the volume of sound equipment have traditionally
been upheld, the opinion noted, though ordinances allowing a city to
ban sound equipment outright have been overturned.

The opinion stated that under the street closing ordinance, permit
applicants were not allowed "prompt judicial review" when permits are

Ongoing legal action between the city and CAN hasn't stopped the group
from holding an event each year - though the controversy over the
street closing ordinance came to a head last year.

CAN threatened to file another suit in October 1999 when city
officials required the group to obtain written permission from local
merchants when applying for a street-closing permit.

The city granted the permit the day the group was scheduled to file

This year's Hempfest is scheduled for Dec. 3, according to

City officials could not be reached for comment Friday.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake