Shows at the Monterey Fair and Event Center can be heard from miles away if the wind is blowing right. Cali Roots has a reputation for also being sniffed from miles away, pot smoke wafting into the air.
With recreational cannabis legal for people ages 21 and up in California as of Jan. 1 thanks to the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, you might expect more pot at this year’s festival. But with cannabis sales still forbidden within Monterey city limits – and a provision in the AUMA that it may not be smoked in public – Monterey Police Lt. Ethan Andrews cautions that little has changed.
“You can’t go to the festival this year and smoke marijuana legally,” Andrews says. “Really, there’s no change.”
Festival organizer Dan Sheehan advises attendees of the same, but adds there is a newly developed signature strain – a sativa-dominant hybrid that’s relatively low in THC, meant to keep users from getting super high – called Cali Roots Cannabis. He’s working on getting it into dispensaries for sale.
Monterey Police will staff all three days with nine officers, unchanged from previous years. In 2016, Monterey PD made nine arrests at Cali Roots, eight connected to controlled substances. Beyond drug offenses, they’re mostly watching out for violent threats, in light of recent attacks at a festival in Las Vegas and a concert hall in the U.K. “Sadly, the world we live in now, [festivals] are potential targets for people who want to do harm,” Andrews says.
As far as marijuana, Andrews cautions festival-goers to follow these guidelines: Do not consume it in public; do not sell it; and do not drive if you’re high.