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The Ultimate Stoner’s Guide to Weed at Festivals

By Nadir Pearson

Music and weed are one of the best duos in the history of vibes. Also going down in the history of vibes? Festivals. Festivals have long been one of the earliest havens for cannabis users to connect and share and enjoy the plant. And while things have changed a little bit since the Woodstocks and the Harlem Cultural Festivals of our past, we have new things to enjoy now.

Present-day music festivals like Rolling Loud, Lollapalooza, and Coachella (along with many more) draw huge crowds every year. And if you’re dedicated to enjoying weed at a festival no matter what, you probably still want to bring your own cannabis (BYOC) whenever possible.

Of course, there’s a method to the madness when bringing in a spliff or twenty into a music festival.

In hopes of making everyone’s music festival experience more stoner-friendly, here’s a foolproof guide

Before you go to your festival, you should consider a few questions, including:

  • What are the weed laws in the state you are in?

  • Are you going to a single-day or multi-day festival?

  • Does the festival have a bag policy?

  • How high are you trying to get at the festival?

  • Is it a high-energy festival where you will be up on your feet or will you be able to bring in a chair and/or blanket?

Answer these questions before you head to your festival so you can start getting a basic idea of what your festival experience is going to be like. Once you’ve answered the questions above, make sure you plan ahead for the following:

Pay attention to state weed laws

If you only do one thing on this list, please make sure to inform yourself on the state and local laws of wherever the music festival is going to be. Yes, festivals are usually a chill place to smoke and enjoy your weed once you are inside, but you cannot forget to factor in out-of-state laws or local law enforcement once you leave the festival.

Marijuana legality in the United States: A brief introduction to federal weed laws

The federal government first criminalized marijuana in the 1930s with the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, and cannabis activity remains a federal crime today.

Modern federal marijuana law is codified under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which sought to update the Marihuana Tax Act. Since then, marijuana has remained a “Schedule I” controlled substance, meaning it sits at the top of the list of dangerous drugs alongside heroin and LSD, and that scientists deem it to have a high potential for abuse and no medical use.

Prohibition proponents have maintained cannabis as a high potential for abuse and no medical value. They allege cannabis is a “gateway drug” to harder drug use and that allowing cannabis encourages teen use of the drug.

Legalization supporters counter that marijuana has no lethal overdose and is not physically addictive. Unlike alcohol, marijuana withdrawal is mild and medically benign. The gateway theory has also been disproved in many studies. And legalization has not led to increased teen use, according to federal surveys.

There’s also a racist component to prohibition: pot drug laws first targeted Mexican-Americans in the West in the 1930s. By the 1970s, President Nixon used drug laws to lock up political enemies on the left, including minorities and college students, and to deny them the right to vote. Today, Blacks are four times more likely as whites to be arrested for cannabis.

Legalization dates

Types of weed legalization

Drug policy reform can occur across a spectrum of policies, and it can sit alongside aspects of other policies.

Most broadly, these are the most common categories of cannabis policy reform:

  • Prohibition: Criminal penalties for marijuana activity

  • Decriminalization: The removal of some criminal penalties for marijuana activity (like low-level personal possession), often replacing criminal penalties with civil fines

  • Medical legalization: Medical marijuana laws can range from a limited criminal defense in court for medical marijuana use, all the way to full medical legalization with commercial licensing and testing

  • Legalization: Changing state law to make cannabis activity no longer a crime. This often involves striking cannabis from the state’s Controlled Substances Act and adding new rules for legal commercial cultivation, distribution, testing, sales, and delivery.


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