Coachella Is Banning All Marijuana Use — Despite California Legalization

A scene you probably won't see at Coachella 2018.
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A scene you probably won't see at Coachella 2018.
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A scene you probably won’t see at Coachella 2018 (photo: Sonya CC 2.0).

Coachella will not allow any marijuana inside festival grounds, according to event owner Goldenvoice.

It sounds like a great time: listening to an amazing lineup while puffing in peace.  But despite California’s recent legalization of marijuana, Coachella isn’t playing along.  In fact, the festival has expressly announced that marijuana use — of any kind — will not be permitted on Coachella grounds.

Here’s the Complete Coachella 2018 Lineup

Of course, Coachella has prohibited pot since its inception — because it was illegal.  But the festival owner isn’t changing its earlier policies on the matter, for a number of reasons.

The first of those reasons isn’t what you might imagine.  California’s game-changing legalization has set off a turf battle with the US Government, and giant music events could present high-profile targets for the feds.  But that’s speculative, and the more important reason is that the town of Indio has elected to adopt stricter limits on marijuana consumption.  Accordingly, it’s more likely that Coachella owner Goldenvoice has opted to play nice with local officials.

That means no casual sales or dispensaries in town, though carrying small amounts is still protected by California state law.  Just don’t expect to be able to bring anything into the festival, though event organizers will allow you to stash your weed in ‘safe boxes’ while you’re inside.

The festival could allow you to smoke your own weed inside the event.  But they don’t want to.

“Sorry bro,” the festival explains on its FAQ page.  “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.”

Coachella critics are likely to blame billionaire Philip Anschutz of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), who owns the mega-festival.  Earlier, Anschutz has come under pressure for donating heavily to anti-LGBT, anti-abortion, pro-gun, and pro-birther (as in, Obama-was-born-in-Kenya ‘birther’) causes and candidates.

Anschutz declared those reports ‘fake news,’ though hard evidence backs the claims.  “Not so friendly reminder that the owner of Coachella is right wing, capitalist, anti-LGBT, anti-climate change, and actively donates money to anti-LGBT organizations,” @ggglad blasted on Twitter.

“If you’re willing to forget that because the lineup is ‘good’ then….ok! I hope it’s worth it.”

Meanwhile, the festival’s double-weekend sold out in just a few hours.  So perhaps people don’t really care about weed restrictions or politics.



6 Responses

    • JustMe

      Exactly, just a random press release. “No drugs”, oh ok, everyone will stop doing drugs for the day. got it. More people go to the event to do drugs, than would pay for a real concert.

  1. Paul Lanning

    Anschutz is an enemy of American democracy. Artists and fans should boycott Coachella.

  2. Robert

    Stupid and misleading headline, Marijuana has never been permitted at Coachella and nothing is changing in that regard.

    Organizers don’t want people to bring in Marijuana for the same reason they don’t want you to bring in Alcohol or other drugs, they stand to make obscene profits off alcohol concessions for booze sold on-site.

    Of course like it’s always been it will be nearly impossible to prevent people from bringing in their own Marijuana and people will smoke weed by the ton during the festival just like they always have.

  3. Lisa

    Why is this news? Weed has been legal in WA for years…but all major events and music festivals don’t allow you to bring it. IT’s a liability issue…for the same reason they don’t let you bring in alcohol. This isn’t anything new.