Munchies are legitimate at the RSVP carnival

On a thorough inspection, the Blubonic lollipop tastes like an average gourmet hard candy, blueberry flavored, with a hint of marijuana. Both flavors last all the way through, until there's nothing but a gnarled white nubbin left of the stick taunting the consumer.

That's right. Candy with the slight but distinctive essence of dope.

No, the candy won't get you high. Nor will the Scratch N' Splif stickers. And their "authorized dealers" don't lurk in alleyways or look around furtively while making a sale. They advertise their Chronic Candy on an attention-grabbing sign boasting "every lick is like a hit." And they do it at the local carnival.

Or at least they did until about 5 p.m. Sunday, when Carson City Sheriff's deputies shut them down.

"I don't like it," said Sheriff Kenny Furlong.

"I'm appalled that it is down there. I don't like it in the park. I don't like it around our kids," he added.

Janice Ayres, head of the Rural Counties Retired and Seniors Volunteer Program, which puts on the carnival at Mills Park as a fund-raiser, asked Furlong to put the kaibosh on the booth.

Not that it's illegal, both Furlong and Ayres said, but it certainly isn't appropriate for a largely child-oriented fair.

"Everybody has the right to operate, and I don't have a problem with that, but this suggests RSVP is promoting this," Furlong said.

"We don't want people around here promoting marijuana use."

Max Leung and Rizza Punzalan are San Francisco-based vendors and direct distributors of Chronic Candy - a line of sweets flavored with hemp oil, an extract of hemp plants that contain no THC whatsoever.

Leung understands the decision to shut the booth down, with more youngsters than adults cruising through the park this holiday weekend.

He markets the stickers, candies, caps and shirts to adults. And although there's nothing about his products that would keep them from being sold to kids, Leung operates under a self-imposed, 18-or-over restriction.

He has never had a problem with police before, but then he has never set up his booth at a carnival before.

"These probably are not the type of events for me to be in," he admitted.

"At the same time, I'm not doing anything illegal."

About a half-dozen bystanders echoed the sentiment when deputies came to close the booth.

"I think their rights have been violated. They're a small-business owner," said Alan Moon, operator of a neighboring vendor booth selling jewelry.

Others went farther.

"I think marijuana should be legalized in any aspect, so I don't have a problem with this (booth)," said fair-goer Dave Chapman.

Leung agrees marijuana should be legalized, and not just for medication. A booth right down the way from his, he pointed out, sold alcohol, and the day before, he said, a drunken fight nearly broke out nearby.

"I'm against alcohol. What's worse, me selling (dope-flavored) candy, or a drunk running over my kids in the parking (of the carnival)?," he asked.

In the end, Leung said he would lose the gas money spent to get here from San Francisco and maybe even the $150 vendor fee he paid RSVP for a spot - normally it's $250, but Leung arrived two days after the fair had begun.

Leung, Punzalan and any vendors with similar products also won't be back at a future carnival, Ayres and Furlong said.

"This sends the wrong message to the kids in the community," said the sheriff.

A clause in RSVP's vendor contract stipulates that any vendor not promoting a family atmosphere must leave, giving RSVP and the sheriff authority to close the Chronic Candy booth.

The contract language is the result of a row caused years ago when a vendor displayed a swastika in his booth.

Mike Hughes, an RSVP official in charge of vendors, said he visited the Chronic booth when Leung and Punzalan first arrived. All they had set up at that point was a few jars of suckers and nothing denoting marijuana flavors.

n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at or 881-1217.


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