by Adam Tschorn
Fashion brands have a long history of leveraging the party scene around the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (which this year runs April 14-16 and 21-23) into brand-building buzz, but this year, the likes of Jeremy Scott, Levi Strauss & Co., Sephora and Hudson Jeans will find themselves in the company of upscale California cannabis brands trying to reach a coveted consumer base.
Because festival rules forbid drugs (including, according to the event’s website, cannabis use by medical marijuana cardholders), most of the canna-branding is set to take place at private (and undisclosed-to-the-public) events taking place within 20 miles of the Empire Polo Club grounds in Indio, where Coachella takes place. However, at least one company has hinted that it might engage in a guerrilla-style giveaway of pre-rolled joints to over-21 festival-goers. (E-mails to festival organizers seeking confirmation of the policy and comment on the presence of cannabis brands at and around the festival were unanswered as of this morning.)
One such event is Green Oasis, a cannabis gifting experience organized by Susan Soares. “My audience is the Town & Country audience, the Vanity Fair audience,” Soares said, explaining that she works directly with band managers and agents to get cannabis-related brands face-time with some of the festival’s top talent. According to Soares, one of the bands that stopped by in 2015 came right from the festival’s main stage and, in 2016, British band the 1975 were in the house to learn about product and policy.
The AnnaBís Lady G bag ($245) will be part of the marijuana-related merchandise filling the gift bags at the Green Oasis taking place during Coachella's second weekend. (Mark Leet)
This year’s Green Oasis is scheduled for the second week of the festival (the past two years, it’s taken place on the first weekend), and Soares expects to be at capacity, gifting 300 C.A.R.E. (Cannabis Awareness Research and Events) packages filled with about $2,500 worth of merchandise, including marijuana in its various forms (flower, vapes and edibles) and accouterments. One of the SoCal brands on board is AnnaBís, a handbag line aimed at the upscale female cannabis consumer, which is gifting its $245 Lady G festival-appropriate bag.
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Susan Soares has written for Cannabis Now Magazine, Alternet, and Sensi Magazine.