It’s Festival Season! Your guide to safe, secure and sensible cannabis use this summer

Let’s face it, smoking weed at music festivals is nothing new — 50 years ago Woodstock became the earth mother of the modern music festival experience, and you better believe people were sparking up in the fields at Yasgur’s farm. And they weren’t the first ones, either — marijuana and music have been a match made in heaven for pretty much as long as humans have been performing and enjoying live music. Cannabis heightens the senses, relaxes the body and activates the brain’s pleasure center. It’s safer than alcohol, doesn’t cause rowdiness or violence, and doesn’t impair your ability to drive home in the same way that drinking does. Today, as cannabis legalization sweeps the nation and more concert attendees may prefer to enjoy some cannabis during the show, it is important to keep in mind that music festivals are not all tie dye and peace signs. Here are some tips and tricks for the cannabis-loving music fan (and everyone else!) to ensure a safe and enjoyable festival season.

Pack wisely. Whether or not you are a cannabis enthusiast, packing for a music festival is crucial to having a good time. Prepare a checklist before you leave home (look online for examples), and ensure that your tickets are accessible! Essentials include cash, an ID, reusable water bottle, sunscreen, bug spray, comfortable shoes and a method of charging your phone. Keep in mind that many festivals won’t allow any glass inside, so be sure your alcohol and snacks are in plastic or cans, and leave your dab rig and blow torch at home. If you are planning on bringing anything that could be perceived as drugs or paraphernalia, it’s a good idea to pack it away securely in the trunk of the vehicle, and consider using a travel lock for your tent or backpack.

Know your rights (and local laws). Lucky for those of us in the Northeastern US, all seven New England states have some form of cannabis legalization or decriminalization/medical law in place, so the odds of getting in legal trouble for traveling with marijuana are lower than in other, less progressive parts of the country. That being said, it remains illegal in most places to consume cannabis in public, operate a vehicle after consuming and sell cannabis to others. Before heading to a festival, educate yourself on the local cannabis laws, as well as your rights in the case of a police/security encounter (eg, never consent to a search of your property). If you do find yourself answering law enforcement inquiries, remember to ask if you are being detained, exercise your right to remain silent and have a friend record the encounter just in case. If you’re a medical patient, it might be a good idea to keep your patient card on you, although it won’t do much to protect you if you’ve broken the law.

Be aware of your surroundings. Although consumption of cannabis is technically illegal at most public events, it is often tolerated in the setting of a music festival or concert. Discretion is key to getting your cannabis into the venue, as well as enjoying it once you’re inside. First, choose the form of cannabis that fits the bill — vape pens and edibles are both super discreet, but it can be easy to take too much, while a glass piece and grinder might be a little bulky in your fanny pack. My favorite is a classic joint (or a few), rolled up before the show and tucked safely into a cigarette pack, wallet or undergarment. Whatever your preferred method, remember to “start low and go slow” when it comes to dosage, and use your best judgement about where/when is the best time to light up.

Music Festival Discretion – Dos and Don’ts

  • Do wait for the right moment (hint: during the show is better than before or after).
  • Do go toward the center of the crowd, and blow smoke downward.
  • Do have a buddy (and a meeting spot in case you are separated).
  • Do keep your phone on you.
  • Do take a break if you over-consume or feel overwhelmed — drink water, seek shade and find a place to sit down away from crowds.
  • Don’t consume near families/kids.
  • Don’t accept cannabis, alcohol or any substances from strangers.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell security if someone makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, or seek medical attention if you or one of your friends is in need.

Most of all, don’t be a dick. The magic of the music festival experience relies on the kindness and compassion of all who attend, and looking out for each other is part of the peace, love and positive vibes, man. RI is home to some incredible music festivals, so I hope you get the chance to get out there this summer, and maybe you’ll even find yourself moving and grooving while sharing a toke among friends.