Here’s a paradox for you. One of the biggest music festivals in America begins in just a couple of weeks (the kind of thing where thousands of people are obviously going to want to smoke weed at) and it’s in a state that has legalized the recreational use of weed. But you’re not allowed to smoke weed or bring weed in this festival, not even if you have a medical marijuana recommendation card.
As per the megalithic music festival’s FAQ page:
“I have a medical marijuana card and need to medicate daily … cool?”
“Sorry bro. Medical marijuana cards are not valid at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. Even in 2017 and beyond. If that changes so will this answer.”
What kind of sense does that make? Well, the festival grounds are private property and you can ban nearly whatever you want on private property.
Sgt. Dan Marshall of the Indio, California Police Department explained it the LA Daily News like this: “The promoter has a standing right to the property, and they can determine what can and cannot be brought onto the premises.” For example, Marshall said, “you have the right to bear arms, but you don’t have the right to bear arms in my house.”
Obviously a bunch of people are going to smoke weed (and do pretty much every drug yet invented) inside the Coachella grounds. Very likely the festival promoters just don’t want to sanction it because of the legal headaches involved.
For instance, you’d have to zone certain areas as smoking areas and non-smoking areas. Alcohol zones would have to be separate. Areas where people under 21 could go would have to be separate. A lot easier just to say “no weed” allowed and then not police it all that hard.
Marshall said that state drug laws will be enforced in the grounds, but that for anyone with a medical emergency like an overdose as a result of drug consumption, the emphasis for law enforcement will be to have them treated, not arrested.
And even though weed is being banned at the festival, you better believe (since it’s a massive cultural event in California) some people are going to be doing a whole lot of marijuana promotion anyway. At least two different cannabis events will be taking place nearby.
WeedMaps is having an event nearby for “VIP Guests,” according to TMZ “News” and Get Lit is going to stage a free event at a “secret location” in Indio with weed, food, and music for Coachella goers with wristbands who register in advance.
Photo via Flickr user Malcolm Murdoch