The Coachella music event has been called a drug festival with music in the background. The event's official policy does not allow drugs, drug paraphernalia as well as outside food and beverages (aka, a "please drink curated, expensive alcoholic drinks" policy). That said, drugabuse.com did an Instagram search for drug terms and music festivals and Coachella ranked third for drug mentions. Forty-six percent of the mentions at Coachella were for marijuana, with 12% for cocaine.
However, the fine folks at Coachella do not want to be associated with the mentions of marijuana. Even though it is located in California and the state has legalized medicinal marijuana and is currently establishing adult use marijuana, the festival is just saying no.
Santa Barbara-based Lowell Herb Co. wanted to celebrate the music festival as it does other events and created a Coachella blend of pre-rolled joints. The festival's organizers were not amused and sent the local farm a cease and desist letter. They want them to quit using the name and stop offering a marijuana flower crown. Coachella even went so far as to say they can't promote their products on social media using #Coachella.
“We make special blends all the time,” said one of the co-owners, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the pending legal situation with Coachella. “We do a spring blend. We did an election blend. I mean Coachella is also a place. It's like Denver saying no one can serve a Denver omelet because they own the name.” The co-owner also wondered how anyone could try to control the use of a hashtag. He said they offered to be a sponsor of the event, but got no response.
“We're just a farm. We can't fight a big corporation. So, it will be renamed the music festival blend,” he said. “They seem very nice and we hope we can work something out.” The co-owner mused that for all the event's counter-culture image, it is purely a profit making enterprise.
That attitude though isn't stopping other local events or companies from targeting marijuana-loving festival goers.
Ardent Cannabis is also capitalizing on Coachella. “Ardent will be participating in the Green Oasis gifting suite with our instant topical infusions," said Ardent CEO Shanel Lindsay. "Coachella and other prominent music festivals offer us the ability to introduce the Ardent line of natural, luxury skin care products to a new set influencers and hopefully future brand ambassadors.” Unlike Lowell Farms, she had no issues with organizers and partnering with the event producers.
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Susan Soares has written for Cannabis Now Magazine, Alternet, and Sensi Magazine.