Outside Lands Nabs Historic Permit to Partake, Sell Cannabis

Published on August 8, 2019 · Last updated July 28, 2020
(Courtesy of Outside Lands)

Folks have been getting lifted at rock festivals since the ‘60s. But this Friday marks a historic milestone in cannabis’s march toward the mainstream.

“This is legendary, historic, you pick the adjective—it’s pretty amazing.”

The massive international festival Outside Lands, in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, has obtained an unprecedented state and local license to conduct on-site adult-use cannabis sales and consumption Aug. 9-11. Headliners include Paul Simon, Childish Gambino, and Kacey Musgraves. More than 200,000 attendees will be able to interact like never before with the state’s newly legal cannabis brands and products over three days.

“This is legendary, historic, you pick the adjective—it’s pretty amazing,” said Terrance Alan—former chair of the city’s cannabis task force. “To me it really underscores the cultural desire to normalize cannabis not just through where you can purchase it, but more importantly how we integrate cannabis into daily life.”Looking for Legal Cannabis?“This is a major milestone for the cannabis industry and live entertainment in general,” said Jordan Lams, CEO of the leading multi-state cannabis brand Moxie.

Moxie is preparing 10,000 single-use dabs for sale for $10 at Grasslands, Outside Lands’ fenced-off cannabis section. Starting Friday through Sunday, consumers can wander in and pay $10 for a 50 mg dab of extract from the cannabis strains Golden State Banana or Piña Colada.

“You’ll be able to actually come up just like ordering a beer or shot and get dabs,” he said.

Moxie staff will be on hand to help you drop the dab in a special hash vaporizer called a Puffco Peak and monitor while you inhale the potent vapor. Other brands featured in Grasslands include Kiva, AbsoluteXtracts, Flow Kana, PAX, Cookies, and F/ELD.

Major Milestone for Live Entertainment, Cannabis

(Elise McDonough for Leafly)

This future is happening in California first, again, with Grasslands’ cannabis sales and smoking. In the past, promoters and security merely tolerated smoking and dealing at major events.

In 2016, California voters became the first the world to approve a permit system for legal cannabis sales and use at events through Proposition 64.

Small events like Local Sesh and High Times Cannabis Cups road-tested the new permits in 2018. State lawmakers expanded the amount of qualifying cannabis event sites this year. Humboldt County’s Northern Nights in July marked the first major electronic music festival with cannabis sales and lounges. But the 12th annual Outside Lands is an order of magnitude bigger and better positioned.

Outside Lands promoters Another Planet and Superfly, in conjunction with Highland Events, needed to get both local and state approval to do so, and Outside Lands secured theirs just 36 hours before gates were set to open.

Alan, the San Francisco cannabis permitting expert, called Grasslands’ 2019 sales and lounge area “a huge step forward for San Francisco to recognize the connection of cannabis and entertainment and make it legal and safe and embrace the future of consumption.”

He said he’s shocked Outside Lands pulled it off in time. “This is a great day and I would say I did not expect it.”

Anti-marijuana activist Kevin Sabet told the Los Angeles Times that Grasslands is a “giant step backwards for public health.”

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Previous event bans on cannabis sales and consumption make no sense amid the presence of beer gardens and tobacco tents, Alan said. Cannabis event bans also stymie Americans’ right to assemble.

“Cannabis use is most healthy when it’s done as part of your normal routine surrounded by friends and acquaintances,” he said.

Lams said in addition to meeting new Moxie customers at Grasslands, he’s looking forward to seeing Childish Gambino, Lil Wayne, and after growing up in Southern California, “first and foremost I want to go see Blink-182.”

“I never thought this was going to happen,” Lams said. “I’ve been in cannabis 11 years—long before it was cool or mainstream. You get a little jaded about progress or the lack thereof. Frankly, I thought it would be a long time before this ever happened.”

Outside Lands takes place in Golden Gate Park from Friday to Sunday. Gates are open 10 a.m. Friday through 8 p.m. Sunday. Single-day tickets are $155. You’ll need to be 21 or older with a valid ID to enter Grasslands. Expect heavy traffic, delays, and do not bring banned items like a glass pipe to the park. (Pack a plastic grinder and papers.) Dress in layers—it gets cool, foggy, and windy in the park after dark.

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David Downs
David Downs
Leafly Senior Editor David Downs is the former Cannabis Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. He's appeared on The Today Show, and written for Scientific American, The New York Times, WIRED, Rolling Stone, The Onion A/V Club, High Times, and many more outlets. He is a 2023 judge for The Emerald Cup, and has covered weed since 2009.
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