New York Harvest Fest Canceled

Kutsher’s was a hot spot in ’50s and ’60s when the upstate Catskills region was known as the "Borscht Belt."

The town of Thomson, New York shut down the state's annual marijuana festival on Oct. 12 after finding building code violations at Kutsher's Resort.

Even worse, a 21-year-old woman, Megan Dunleavy, who was a festival employee, died after falling five stories off one of the buildings on the property two days earlier.

"I'm pretty heartbroken," says event producer Rob Robinson, who runs Dam Sam Productions. "She got a little too drunk and fell off the roof… As soon as the marijuana legalization community wants to host a rally to raise funds for our advocacy to want to change the law, they deem the property we tried to rent and give Sullivan County revenue unfit for habitation."

A town official stated, "There are multiple health and safety violations, fire code violations, blocked exit doors, locked exit doors, hallways that are blocked, ceilings that are collapsing and a rodent infestation."

Robinson posted the following announcement on Facebook and at the Damn Sam website:

"We regret to inform the 17th NY Harvest Fest has been shut down by the town for code violations. We will be filing a law suit against the town. We feel we have been unfairly targeted by the town and we intend to prove it. We will issue refunds as soon as we can but right now our family needs to mourn the loss of our dear friend and establish whether Harvest Fest will be able to happen at a later date. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this caused and all of the confusion. We just ask that you please be patient. We will do the right thing. We did everything we could to move the event, and after exhausting all of our efforts in finding a new home we were left with no choice but to cancel until further notice. At the moment the resort refuses to refund any of our money, even though we never got to use it and they did not uphold their end of the agreement we had with them. Please understand most of this was and is out of our control and more than likely would have occurred without the tragic events of Thursday night. We are heartbroken, but looking forward. Stay tuned for the lawsuit, more info - WE LOVE YOU ALL!"

Kutsher's is the last of the famous Catskills resorts. It was a hot spot in '50s and '60s when the upstate mountain region was known as the "Borscht Belt."

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.