Coachella Organizers Ban Marijuana At California Music Festival Despite New Recreational Weed Law

Photo Credit: Amy Harris

Cannabis will be considered contraband at the next Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, notwithstanding the state’s new law legalizing recreational marijuana.

“Sorry bro,” Coachella’s organizers recently wrote on the festival’s website. “Marijuana or marijuana products aren’t allowed inside the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Even in 2018 and beyond. If that changes we will update this answer.”

Californians voted in 2016 to legalize recreational marijuana and establish a system for taxing and selling the plant, paving the way for state-licensed pot shops to commence retail weed sales starting earlier this month.

State law aside, however, Coachella’s organizers are free to limit what’s allowed within the festival’s grounds, said Indio police Sgt. Dan Marshall.

“The promoter has a standing right to the property, and they can determine what can and cannot be brought onto the premises,” he told southern California’s Press-Enterprise. “(For instance) you have the right to bear arms, but you don’t have the right to bear arms in my house.”

Rather than running afoul of festival rules, Coachella ticket holders will be given the last-ditch option of depositing pot and any other prohibited items at “amnesty boxes” located near the event’s entrances, the Press-Enterprise reported.

Coachella will take place over the course of two weekends this spring – April 13-15 and April 20-22 – and is scheduled to include performances The Weeknd, Beyoncé and Eminem, among others.

Nine state and D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana in defiance of federal law, though only six have systems in place for retail weed sales: Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.