Yes, Weed is Still Illegal at Coachella in 2018

Article by: Laura Mason|@masonlazarus

Thu April 12, 2018 | 16:20 PM

Despite California’s reputation as a oasis for marijuana lovers, its most famous music festival has banned the substance entirely from its iconic green, grassy fields.

KTLA reported in January that although recreational weed was made legal in the state of California on January 1, 2018, you still cannot legally possess it on Coachella’s festival grounds, according to the festival’s website. This might be confusing to many – especially those who were looking forward to lighting up at 4:20 pm on April 20 during the festival’s second weekend – but they are legally allowed to prevent anyone and everyone from bringing marijuana onto Coachella’s grounds at the Empire Polo Club. Even when medical marijuana was legal in California, those authorized to use it were still not allowed to do so on festival property.

“Although medical marijuana is legal in California, festivals are on private property, so owners have quite a bit of legal leeway as to what can be brought into their venues,” says Cameron Bowman, The Festival Lawyer.

“Coachella prohibits bringing in cannabis, even if you have a recommendation from a physician and your medical marijuana card. At the very least you will lose your stuff, and could be bounced from the event. With cannabis still illegal at the federal level, the fest’s no-pot policy isn’t all that surprising.”

Check out the way it’s discussed on Coachella’s FAQ page (we could do without the patronizing tone, though).

Coachella Faq 2018 Marijuana Copy

Photo by: Coachella

Indio’s Police Sergeant Dan Marshall corroborates this, telling Los Angeles Daily News, “The promoter has a standing right to the property, and they can determine what can and cannot be brought onto the premises,” he said. “(For instance) you have the right to bear arms, but you don’t have the right to bear arms in my house.”

According to the Desert Sun, Indio, where Coachella is held, has not adopted any marijuana-friendly legislation. The paper reports that marijuana sales, growing and delivery operations were all banned within the city limits last October.

On a side note, Coachella has an “amnesty box” which allows you to drop off prohibited items anonymously before entering the festival. The Festival Lawyer says, “I used to think these were about as effective as a Taco Bell nutrition menu. But I am told by people I trust that they are not only used, but used a LOT every year.”

Last year, Weedmaps set up a "weed oasis" six miles from the festival site – maybe something similar will be created this year for those looking for a similar experience before heading to the festival. Or, maybe once the logisitics are figured out, there will be a "weed oasis" inside Coachella in the future. We have an inkling this could be about making the most money possible, after all.

Regardless, we hope this clears up some of the confusion, because we do not want to hear about any festival-goers being kicked out and not getting to see any of their favorite bands.