For the first time, cannabis became part of the official lineup at San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival this weekend—kind of. Grass Lands, the first-ever curated cannabis experience to hit a mainstream festival, set up shop in a sprawling woodland fairyland overlooking the festival’s main stage. However, regulations forbid the sale of Grass Lands’ star—ironic considering vape clouds throughout Golden Gate Park on any given day roll about as thick as San Francisco’s August fog, especially since marijuana became legal recreationally at the beginning of this year.
So what do you do at a cannabis event that doesn’t actually feature its headliner? It turns out a lot, thanks to the creativity and ingenuity of the mostly local brands that paid homage to cannabis education, sustainability, and San Francisco as the birthplace of the medical marijuana movement.
True Terpenes set up a “smell wall,” featuring the six most common terpenes present in cannabis, giving attendees the chance to be invigorated by and learn about the elements that give strains their flavor and smell profile and many of its health benefits.
Flow Kana hosted a bong carving contest from organic produce, promoting its “farm-to-bong” ethos and work distributing sun-grown bud from small batch California farmers.
The bounty didn’t stop there—Sunday Goods brought the flower power and gave out free bouquets from a van brimming with blooms.
And fun facts about weed provided photo ops and truth bombs throughout the space.
Meanwhile, brands such as Lagunitas, Lemonade, and Kiva showed off non-medicated versions of their infused culinary creations. And Ona.Life, a delivery service, got creative by showcasing its product line in a lush greenhouse and setting up deliveries with festival goers outside of the festival grounds.
Despite the regulatory growing pains, Grass Lands represents a major step for the marijuana industry according to Salwa Ibrahim, founder of Highland Events, which curated the experience. She’s hopeful that next year the experience will expand to include the sale and consumption of cannabis thanks to AB 2020, a bill she sponsored, that’s currently moving towards the governor’s desk. The bill would allow local governments to grant approval for a temporary cannabis event. While Ibrahim is optimistic that regulations will relax for the businesses that have been struggling to navigate marijuana’s uncertain legal status, she says that if every festival goer who came through Grass Lands wrote a letter to their senator we’d be seeing more cannabis-fueled experiences at mainstream events in the future.
Meanwhile, from Twin Peaks to Lands End stages, practically legal consumption by festival goers draped the park in happy chilled out vibes. After all, with Golden Gate Park’s wild, natural beauty as a backdrop, the abundance of culinary creations to delight any stoner or foodie, and whimsical enclaves like the Alice in Wonderland-themed tea party taking place just around the bend, Outside Lands and weed go together like chocolate and peanut butter, While this weekend may have marked cannabis’s first move to center stage, you need only to look out onto the blissed-out crowd of 250,000 to know that it’s been there all along.