Along with bands, body odor, and sunburns, recreational drug use has been a music festival staple since time immemorial. In 2018, though, things are different than they’ve ever been in a major way: It is now legal to purchase weed in California. That said, don’t think that you’ll be able to freely smoke all the lawful pot you want at Coachella this summer, because while marijuana is legal at a state level, towns can decide on their own whether or not they’ll allow legal weed sales. Indio, where the festival takes place, has said no, and Coachella has followed suit, as TMZ notes.
In the festival’s FAQ on its website, one of the questions reads, “Hey, since marijuana is legal now, that means I can use it at Coachella, right?” Their answer:
“Sorry bro. 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.”
In that response is a link to a Los Angeles Daily News article from April 2017, which includes an explanation of the situation from Indio police Sgt. Dan Marshall, who says, “The promoter has a standing right to the property, and they can determine what can and cannot be brought onto the premises. [For example,] you have the right to bear arms, but you don’t have the right to bear arms in my house.”
The article also notes that at festival entrances, there will be “amnesty boxes,” where festivalgoers who have marijuana on them “can deposit their contraband, no questions asked.” TMZ points out that although Indio has its own policies, it still has to abide by state laws, meaning that Coachella attendees won’t get arrested for possessing marijuana, but you still can’t buy it in Indio or use it in public.
All of that said, it’s not like laws have really stopped people from smoking weed at concerts and festivals before, so it remains to be seen how much of a deterrent Coachella’s weed policy will actually be to people who are committed to having a totally dank time.