Denver’s first legal county fair, “Pot Pavilion” ends in THC-overdoses, lawsuit

Just because cannabis is now legal doesn’t mean it needs to be everywhere.

This past weekend, Denver held its annual county fair. For the first year, and possibly the last, the fair had a “Pot Pavilion”.

Judges awarded blue ribbons in categories such as Best Marijuana Plant and Best Hash. But despite that off-site consumption and the infusion of marijuana into the event’s ethos (and marketing play), the fair clearly stated that they strictly prohibited cannabis at the event. Photos of the entries were supposed to function as the only event collateral and were to represent competitor offerings (in spirit).

Unfortunately, some cannabis slipped into the fair and made a mess.

Three fair-goers reportedly ended up sick from an overdose of THC, the primary psychoactive component of cannabis. The individuals, according to media reports, weren’t expecting to get high that day: they just wanted a chocolate bars that were handed out by LivWell, a cannabis dispensary chain in Colorado. The dispensary has nine locations including four in the Denver area and three in Colorado Springs. The licenses for those operations are now in jeopardy, pending investigation.

“They told us there was nothing in them. They were free samples anyone could have grabbed. I asked the vendor twice and they told me no there’s nothing in them,” Kari Mitchell, one of the people sickened, told FOX31 Denver.

LivWell released the following statement in response to the event:

“We are aware that someone made a complaint to 7NEWS alleging that chocolate samples distributed at the Denver County Fair contained cannabis.  If this occurred it was without our knowledge and was not sanctioned by our company.  We are currently investigating the matter.”

The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) is investigating the incident and LivWell, while denying blame, offered to cover the medical expenses of the two people who ended up in the ER. Still, LivWell and other vendors at the Pot Pavilion could have easily avoided the situation and the ensuing black eye on the industry and the movement by keeping cannabis the way it always has been: private.

Just because cannabis is now legal doesn’t mean it needs to be everywhere. The County Fair is not the place for cannabis. Family events of any kind are not a place for cannabis. Coloradoans fought for and won their right to use cannabis, but that right comes with a responsibility. The world is watching. When people and companies don’t live up to this responsibility, we all look bad.

Family at Denver County Fair

This article was originally published by

Published by P. Aiden Hunt

Aiden Hunt is a creative writer and freelance journalist covering marijuana policy and other related issues. He has been published in print and online by outlets such as The Denver Post (The Cannabist),, The Hemp Connoisseur Magazine and Cronic Magazine. He is currently focused on literary creative nonfiction.

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