Party on Pine

Long Beach’s Party on Pine is Cancelled, Yet Lives On

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Since it began in the summer of last year, the monthly Party on Pine has been a fun weed-centric community festival right in Long Beach. It was supported by the dispensary Catalyst as part of owner Eliot Lewis’s goal of revitalizing what he felt was a street that had fallen into disrepair. But after what Lewis says was constant harassment from the city of Long Beach, he made the decision to end Party on Pine.

The end of Party on Pine, however, is not exactly the end of the story. Saturday, February 11th was scheduled to be the final farewell Party on Pine. It was slated to feature over a dozen vendors and a live concert with top bands including Fishbone. Supporters of the event had every intention of showing up. But at the very last minute the night before Lewis announced that the farewell Party on Pine was cancelled.

In response, however, the community took action. A private location was found a few blocks nearby on Elm Street, and Party on Elm was born in under 24 hours. Despite many setbacks, the event went on full swing this past Saturday night, and the local weed community showed up in force.

Lewis said that the original idea of Party on Pine, which involved shutting down two blocks of the street to create an open promenade filled with vendors and entertainmnet, was to help revitalize the neighborhood. Lewis’s Catalyst dispensary functions for him as an anchor point around which a run-down part of town could draw in money and new life. With Lewis’s help, several new businesses set up shop on Pine Street. Lewis himself even opened a bar next door to his dispensary.

Lewis has long been an outspoken advocate, championing “Weed for the People” and critizing what he sees as corruption in local governments.

He claims that his efforts last summer to draw attention to corruption in Long Beach made him a target of harassment by high-level officials, with the LBPD on their side.

“It was going fine until we spoke up against overtime, the authorities, the current administration that’s bought and paid for by special interests. And then they started coming at us,” Lewis said.

The final Party on Pine was shut down when Lewis was once again targeted by officials and accused of being in violation.

“The event probably could have been had. We think we’re in the legal right. But we’re very careful not to risk our license, not to risk jobs,” Lewis said.

Out of an abundance of caution, he cancelled Saturday’s farewell event. It’s future remains uncertain.

“Will the city ever let us throw another Party on Pine? I don’t know,” Lewis said.

For now, it lives on as the “Party on Elm.” Lewis can’t legally be involved, but he’s happy to attend.

“Friends are throwing this party. I’m just here as a private citizen. They kept it going. Do I support the effort, yes. Am I sponsoring the effort? No,” Lewis said.

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