City kills promoter's buzz 

It looks as if May 1 will blow by without the Great Atlanta Pot Festival.

The sometimes-annual event in Piedmont Park was nixed in late February by city officials, who say organizer Paul Cornwell didn't make the application deadline.

Cornwell, however, contends that Atlanta's 2-year-old festival ordinance, which requires applications to be filed at least 90 days before a planned event, is unreasonably restrictive.

"Public spaces should be accessible to public gatherings in a timely manner," he explains. "If someone had wanted to put on a concert to protest the war in Iraq, in 90 days the war would've been over."

Cornwell says the city's decision will only provide fuel for a constitutional challenge he filed last year in federal court against the city's festival ordinance -- which itself was overhauled in 1999 after another Cornwell lawsuit negated the previous ordinance.

He says he also expects a decision soon in a third lawsuit he filed in state court seeking damages against city parks officials for bumping his event from Piedmont Park in spring 2002. That move cost him $25,000, he says, because he'd already booked Parliament-Funkadelic.

Cornwell, a longtime rock promoter who previously brought the Black Crowes and Cypress Hill to Piedmont Park for his popular, pro-marijuana event, had been blocked from receiving a festival permit for several years in the late '90s by Mayor Bill Campbell. In 2003, he managed to hold the event in the park, with reggae artist Andrew Tosh as the main attraction.

Cornwell says he hopes to reschedule this year's pot festival.

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