With the lineup of Coachella dropped, blogs decrying the influencer takeover of Burning Man, and tour dates for your favorite artists all over social media, you might be planning your festival season. At least, you are if you’re timely, well organized, and attentive. When I’m making my list of necessities, “party favors” is always a decently high priority, all puns aside. Now that cannabis is legal in so many states, should it even be included in my list of goodies that I know I’ll have to sneak past security to enjoy? The short answer is: regretfully, yes.
This past December, I worked the General Store table at a hip hop music festival, where our biggest items for sale were tobacco and candy. We had a big sign in front of the table that read “Smoke Shop,” and at least a dozen individuals out of the hundreds that came through asked if we were THAT kind of smoke shop. They were extremely let down after believing for even a second that they could buy a joint legally (albeit at an insanely overpriced markup), at a music festival, only to find that we only had tobacco. This got me thinking, “What WOULD it take for cannabis vendors to be welcome at music festivals in legal states, or even to allow marijuana as cigarettes are allowed?”
Unfortunately, cannabis-vended events require totally different permits than just a music festival. One of the major and obvious logistical problems is age. A cannabis event could feature music, and would have to be for only people 21+ whereas music festivals and large venue concerts are usually all ages or 18+, which would be a nightmare for identifying who is allowed to carry marijuana. Perhaps the next alternative for event organizers to explore would be roping the cannabis vendors into the beer garden, so that there is a sanctioned, regulated area to partake in cannabis.
What concertgoers often forget amidst cries of “…but it’s LEGAL here!” won’t matter because these events are privately operated. Until rules and event changes, like a beer+cannabis garden, come to pass, you’ll be sneaking your cannabis in on the down low, probably with relatively low risk if you pack carefully, and hoping a particularly security guard doesn’t catch you lighting up. If the latter does happen, you can expect to be arrested for possession, and at the most, prosecuted for selling narcotics. Organizers’ concerns are mostly that dealers are bringing in large quantities of drugs and selling to everyone, including present minors. This is a noble cause, given the usual numbers of overdoses that plague every event, but to responsible cannabis users, feels like a waste of resources to target us.
My best advice, being one of the majority who successfully brings in their own personal supply of cannabis with no intention to sell, would be to bring only what you need on that given day, package it accordingly, and find the right hiding spot. If I want to use edibles, I’ll wait until I’m about to be let in and then eat a dose. Joints, bud, vape cartridges, and small pipes are the ones that require a little care. Underwear travel or buried in your wallet are my go-to stash spots. Once I’m wanting to light one, I make sure to be generally in a thick crowd, or nearby other smokers who aren’t with my friends as to not be the obvious target. Try not to share too loudly with strangers, and you should be okay. I had one scary experience at Coachella not pertaining to cannabis, but years of bringing marijuana to music events successfully has made me immune to the fear… which may someday come around to bite me. I am so looking forward to the day that I can openly smoke weed at a music festival with no risk, but until then, exercise caution.