Outside Lands Becomes First Major U.S. Music Festival to Offer Legal Weed

California approved the sale and consumption of pot at the San Francisco event

Grass Lands Cannabis Experience at Outside Lands
The Grass Lands experience, seen here in 2018, will now offer weed for sale and consumption during Outside Lands 2019.
Jeff Kravitz/Getty
By Alex Lauer / August 9, 2019 6:00 am

Last year, the San Francisco music festival Outside Lands debuted Grass Lands, “the first curated cannabis experience at a major American music festival.” The one teeny tiny problem? You couldn’t buy or smoke pot. This year, that all changes.

As of Wednesday, California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control approved both the sale and consumption of pot at the festival, according to The Los Angeles Times. It’s the largest U.S. music festival of its size to do so, what with 200,000 people in attendance last year.

The approval comes just in the nick of time. Outside Lands runs this weekend, August 9th to 11th, at Golden Gate Park and features headliners like Paul Simon, Childish Gambino and Blink-182. But it’s not quite the typical music festival picture — lighting up a joint and passing it around during “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” — as sales are limited to people over 21 years of age and consumption is only allowed in a fenced-off area.

While the Times does cite an anti-pot activist who calls the ruling “an exception,” it’s actually part of a careful and deliberate expansion on Proposition 64, the 2016 California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, which legalized recreational cannabis. As the paper writes, “San Francisco approved the Outside Lands permit as part of a test program to possibly allow on-site consumption at seven events, including the next Folsom Street Fair, officials said.”

It remains to be seen if this initiative spreads to other festivals in and outside the state. Coachella, which also takes place in California, kept its marijuana ban in place this year. Illinois, home to Lollapalooza, just legalized recreational marijuana in June with sales beginning in 2020.

As long as Outside Lands doesn’t hit any potholes this weekend, things are looking up for legal weed.

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