Sad to say, Burning Man attendees will not be able to legally smoke weed on site, despite the fact that the annual event—now in its 31st year—is being held in Nevada, which has legalized recreational marijuana.
Bummer for the burners, but they’ll manage.
The problem, and this has never been a secret, is that weed consumption is not permitted on public land, and Burning Man takes place on a stretch of Black Rock Desert Wilderness, which is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System under the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
While we all wish the burners could smoke to their hearts’ content, some of us are just thankful that the current administration in the White House hasn’t done away with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is closely connected to the National Park Service, and we all know what Trump wants to do with that wonderful organization.
Participants may refuse to allow the cops to search their vehicles, but if they refuse to be searched by Burning Man security volunteers at the gate, they could be denied entry.
BLM officials have said that a pot possession arrest could result in a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, in the past two years, the BLM has made zero arrests for any crimes at Burning Man.
But, this year could be different.
“You’re not exempt from the law at Burning Man, and that is doubly true this year,” festival spokeswoman Megan Miller told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “I know the laws are evolving around this, and we’re in this middle point of figuring it out, but marijuana is still illegal at Burning Man.”
While the BLM might be cool, local authorities have not been so liberal.
Pershing County sheriff’s deputies, who also have legal jurisdiction at the event, arrested approximately four dozen people last year at Burning Man—about three dozen on drug-related charges with the most common being weed, followed by cocaine, ecstasy and LSD.
This year, the sheriff said his deputies will follow state law and allow people to possess up to one ounce (28 grams) of pot, outside the public land site.
“If they show up with a hay bale of marijuana, it’s definitely going to be more than a citation. It’s going to be up to the discretion of the officer,” the sheriff told the Journal.
Also, the sheriff’s office and BLM officials will be stopping cars on the roads to and from the event. And, they have their respective K-9 units ready to sniff.
So be careful out there, Burning Men and Women; don’t get caught burning anything illegal.