Coachella Really Doesn’t Want You Bringing Weed Into the Festival

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Coachella announced their 2018 lineup a week ago, including a makeup appearance by the Queen of America’s Royal Family, Beyoncé. The singer was slated to perform at last year’s festival before bowing out to bless future generations with a set of two new Bey-Z clones.

Of course, passes sold out quickly.

If people weren’t enticed by a lineup that also includes a revived Eminem, SZA, and Miguel (and Jamiroquai!), they might have been eager to attend the first major festival in California post-recreational marijuana legalization.

But the festival’s organizers — or, more likely, their insurance providers — have quickly put the kibosh on any plans to dirty up their classy corporate shindig with pesky reefer pot.

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The frequently asked question section of Coachella’s official website spells out the curiously aggressive ban on cannabis products that will no doubt still surely end up inside the festival, as they have at every music festival worth attending since the inception of music festivals.

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First of all, women dig weed, too, “bro.”

Second, the festival is held on private property where event staff already check IDs and offer bracelet identification for those who are over 21 years of age, so allowing consumption isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Don’t you love money, Goldenvoice, promoter and money collection apparatus that operates Coachella? Throw a VIP smoking area next to your beer and liquor lineup to sell overpriced eighths of Deadhead OG to people who are used to buying $15 beers and $50 t-shirts.

Weedmaps Oasis Offered Coachella VIPs a Cannabis-Friendly Escape

Even law enforcement officials are seemingly on the fence about the issue.

Sgt. Dan Marshall of the Indio Police Department, where Coachella is held over two weekends annually at the Empire Polo Club, told the Press-Enterprise, “The promoter has a standing right to the property, and they can determine what can and cannot be brought onto the premises,” Marshall said. “(For instance) you have the right to bear arms, but you don’t have the right to bear arms in my house.”

Notice he didn’t say no, he just basically said to ask your mother.

According to the California Department of Health, “you cannot consume, smoke, eat, or vape cannabis in public places,” nor can you smoke weed in any environment where tobacco products are already prohibited. But neither of these stipulations apply to the festival held on private land that allows patrons to smoke cigarettes. Hell, Coachella organizers even let vapers do their thing inside.

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Coachella will take place Apr. 13-15 and Apr. 20-22. That means Coachella organizers are forcing thousands of marijuana enthusiasts to choose between seeing The Weeknd, Kali Uchis, and St. Vincent or celebrating weed’s high holiday. Now, it makes total sense why Coachella booked indie band The War on Drugs that day.

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The festival will place amnesty boxes at all entrances for (scaredy-cat) attendees to discard their weed before entering, where security will take a “no questions asked” approach to what’s deposited in the proverbial treasure chests.

While cannabis has never been “allowed” inside the festival, it does seem a somewhat strange time to come out so strongly against consumption, especially when corporate America seems to finally be embracing cannabis culture — or attempting to, at least.

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As of July of 2017, 29 festival-goers have lost their lives as a result of drug use at events organized by Los Angeles-based promoters since 2006. Maybe marijuana shouldn’t be such a primary focus for festival security, especially when it’s legal in the state the event is held.

If you needed any additional evidence Coachella is really overthinking their restricted items list, take a look at this insanity:

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Cover image courtesy of Stephen Panosian

About Author

Used to write about music for XXL, Elevator, Complex, Genius, and a few other outlets. Follow @LongLiveTheDuke on Twitter if you'd like to read way fewer words by me.

17 Comments

  1. Is this some kind of joke? If this is the case, then they better not have alcohol there either. Weed is ten times safer and better than alcohol. Bizarre that the Coachella of all places is what’s setting up that rule. At least give a valid reason as to why. Makes zero sense. I went to the Shania Twain concert in 2015 and smelled of weed, and weed wasn’t even legal yet. Now it’s legal. Coachella visitors should boycott and not go.

  2. Patricia Anne Shea on

    Corporate America doesn’t want to promote normalizing cannabis. Corporate $ is on Big Pharma continuing to $uck the life out of us one pill at a time.

  3. Legalization is the stoopidist thing Cali (those who voted for it) ever did.
    For a measly $40 a month marijuana as a medicine is something that is strictly between my doctor’s and myself, my private information is protected by HIPA (the federal health information privacy act) and the goverment CAN NOT TAX MEDICINE !

    Now, and give it time to “progress” (that words becoming an oxymoron way too quickly !) marijuana is legal property of the revenue department and ATF, so, just like moonshine and stolen cigarettes, grow one plant too many or carry one gram too much and see what the new “marijuana friendly” California goverment does to using Federal Law’s which are being drafted as I type this.

    I will always have a doctor’s recommendation, I will never need to pay taxes on it and when if I am ever stopped on streets for smoking it non recreationally but as a medicine at the moment I needed it I don’t think that a cop for the sake of the goverment collecting even more of money is going to ticket me while looking at a doctors recommendation backed up by my health history.

    Shoulda just gave everyone a free recommendation and laughed in the face goverment, instead ? Yupp, it’s their baby now.

    Seems to me lately that the very same people in this state who want more simple individual human rights are the ones giving the goverment more and more control over us all.

    Pot at concerts as the article states has been a given, I was smoking pot at Lost Angeles music concerts since the 1970’s and the worst I ever got over it was “sir, please put that out”, now ? CONTROVERSIAL ! But hey, isn’t controversy what our young millineial thrive on ? Well their in luck, just pay the tax at the counter and then whine over where you can’t smoke it now that you have been told that it’s been “legalized”.

    LMMFAO, Again !

    • Eric R. Johnson on

      Don, The DEA can go into any doctor’s office and demand your or anyone else’s file, sans warrant or subpoena, and investigate what you take and how much of it. They can also see where and when you picked up prescriptions, again without warrant.

      Unfortunately Federal law still applies, and you cannot set up a house or meeting place of any kind which is for the purpose of the use of drugs.

      I suspect this new language was brought forth because the situation with respect to massive availability of cannabis without dealing with a street/house dealer has changed radically.

      Before they could just say, “hey, it’s illegal and we of course don’t allow illegal behavior in our events. But the distribution and prevention of possession is (=was) entirely in police hands. “We will of course refer various cases to local law enforcement.”
      Now they cannot do that, and “smoking” sin the wrong place is a small fine for a ticket… not what law enforcement, especially in smaller counties like Indio, don’t want to be come involved in.

      Suppose even a small percentage demand jury trials? In California, any violation of the “smoking” rules is an infraction punishable by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) for a first violation, by a fine not exceeding two hundred dollars ($200) for a second violation within one year, or by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) for a third and for each subsequent violation within one year.

      This means there isn’t sufficient revenue involved from smoking fines to justify Indio county law enforcement becoming involved.

    • Mark Gordon Cooper on

      it is about civil rights not about your view of my civil rights, dude, this is a civil rights issue. please just living in America, does not give your lawyer civil rights for marijuana, without our vote, so Stoopid analysis, go think of another approach.

      • Don, what you have just written is -literal- nonsense, meaning “written or spoken words that have no meaning. ”
        You have strung together a number of phrases, but you haven’t made any kind of a point, except that you think I am stupid and should go think again.

        I didn’t make the rules, I’m just telling you what they are. Once more, I’m not a lawyer.

  4. David L Keeler on

    Already discovered owner of the festival is a major backer of right-wing organizations & politicians, prohibiting use of legal weed (while selling legal alcohol) already ‘sealed the deal’ to boycott Coachella for me.

  5. RIP Coachella… 10/9/99 – 4/20/18… Sad, it’s not like most people are there for good line-ups anymore though anyways. I heard Jeff Sessions has backstage passes and is growing out a shiny hipster beard.

  6. In the state of California, under the new recreational marijuana law, a venue cannot serve beer where marijuana is being consumed, and vise versa. If it is a marijuana event like ‘kush stock’ , as of Jan 1st 2018, they cannot sell alcohol at a marijuana event. If the venue is serving alcohol, they cannot knowingly allow marijuana to be consumed on the same premises covered under their liquor license/permit. Which means for California, no cross fade zones in full effect. Coachella simply chooses to sell alcohol over marijuana products.

  7. And the license to sell recreational marijuana for an event like Coachella is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. To sell alcohol, I’m sure it is far less. It’s just business for Coachella. It’s not about the people’s wants and needs, it’s all about the Benjamin’s baby. You can’t bring your green, so they can make more of theirs.

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