Last week, I wrote about how Lowell Farms’ cannabis café is opening next month in West Hollywood, California. It’ll be the first space of its kind in the US, allowing guests to purchase and consume cannabis onsite. Over the weekend, another first-of-its-kind cannabis event took place in Northern California, and the organizers state that it was “the first camping, three-day, and overnight festival in the country to allow the recreational dispensing and use of cannabis.”
Goddammit, Oregon, why don’t we have this?!?
The event, the annual Northern Lights Music Festival, was held 200 miles north of San Francisco in Cooks Valley, near the border of Humboldt and Mendocino Counties. It took place in a giant old-growth forest along the Eel River, and the photos portray a stunning setup among the redwoods. It looks like a place where it would be downright impolite not to partake of the bounty of the region, the heart of California’s most famous cannabis growing region.
Prior to this year, festival attendees bought, sold, and consumed cannabis onsite, to be sure. But thanks to a new California permit, the Northern Light Music Fest had both cannabis vendors and consumption areas, all in full compliance. Meanwhile, I get hassled by Paul Blart wannabe meatheads in “SECURITY” polos everytime I light up at a music festival anywhere that’s not inside a sweatbox Honey Bucket? Pop quiz: Is it preferable to get high along a river shaded by giant redwoods, or in a porta-potty? Think about it, I’ll wait.
The festival looked to be less High Times Cup, and more new-age gathering with regulated weed sales. The site had room for huge groups to practice yoga, look mindful, and lie about while a woman with a didgeridoo blew it inches from their faces. (Hard pass on that last offering.) More than 20 licensed California cannabis vendors were there peddling their pot, but the festival took things a step further by incorporating cannabis into its programming. As the organizers explain, the festival “explore[d] movement, mindfulness, healing, and community, in combination with the restorative powers of cannabis and CBD.” The schedule included “stoned yoga and self massage” classes, a relationship coach exploring the role THC and CBD can play in fostering better communication and intimacy, and numerous other classes and workshops using cannabis and CBD as tool for wellness.
Meanwhile, music festivals in the Northwest continue to offer the anti-wellness option of lukewarm $11 beers.