Your Down-Low Guide to Cannabis at Coachella

Published on April 12, 2018 · Last updated July 28, 2020
Your Down-Low Guide to Cannabis at Coachella

April’s finally upon us, so you know what that means: COACHELLA SEASON IS HERE.

It’s time for you to strap on your fringiest of garments, load up the good ol’ Camelbak, and head out to Indio, CA, to see some of the world’s biggest music acts. You’ve been waiting for months for this week to come, and you’re fully prepared for a life-changing experience, but there’s still one big question hanging over your head like a big cumulus cloud of WTF:

How the hell are you going to light up during Cardi B’s performance of “Bodak Yellow” when, despite cannabis finally being completely legal in California, Coachella has still banned our beloved plant?

Fret not, my friends. As someone who first experienced Coachella back when recreational cannabis was still illegal in California, I’m here to give you an insider’s take on what it’s really like to get high at the festival.

My Experience With Cannabis at Coachella

Last year I went to Coachella for the first time, and while I initially thought the festival was something I’d never be interested in, by the end of Day 3 I was like, “Wow, what a life-changing experience.” Like every festival rookie, before I arrived I was doing the routine “So is weed allowed at Coachella?” Google searches and skimming through Reddit pages looking for enough people to tell me, “Bro, you’re good,” before I committed to sneaking something in.

Chances are you’re doing the same, so let me assure you not to worry. From the way the festival communicates that no cannabis is allowed, you’d think there were 87 German Shepherds and 14 Robocops walking around just waiting for the chance to pounce on anyone with the gumption to smoke out, but immediately upon entrance I was smacked in the face with a big-ass cloud of That Loud™. I detected that unmistakeable odor in every single tent/venue, beer garden, and open field where people were just chillin’. Once people are admitted entrance, they pretty much light up any-and-everywhere they want. As long as you aren’t blatantly blowing smoke rings into the faces of Coachella staff members, it really is not that big of a deal.

How to survive summer’s cannabis-friendly music festivals

How People Sneak Cannabis Into Coachella

The only true obstacle Coachella attendees face is getting their green into the festival, which, as you can imagine, really isn’t that difficult whatsoever. Upon entrance, there are two separate security checkpoints where the guards search ticket holders with a wand/metal detector and a little pat down. They also check bags, purses, and backpacks, which means attendees typically stash their stash in a secure place on their bodies (deep inside their shoes, inside their undergarments).

I pre-rolled all of my flower so I wouldn’t have to deal with finding somewhere to sit down and roll up, stashed the joints in a sandwich bag, rolled it over tightly, and tucked it safely inside of my compression shorts. Then I walked gently so I wouldn’t crush the joints, and immediately after passing the second checkpoint, I pulled out my sandwich bag and lit up that celebratory joint like the young radical that I am.

What NOT to Do

One rule I will tell you to 100% abide by 100% of the time is NEVER PURCHASE CANNABIS (or other favors) FROM ANYONE INSIDE OF THE FESTIVAL. I REPEAT: DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM ANYONE. Just because they’re not really trippin’ about you getting high doesn’t mean that the place isn’t still flooded with narcs that are looking to ruin your weekend with a surprise charge.

And that, my friends, is pretty much my experience and advice for cannabis at Coachella. As long as you aren’t a blatant jackass, you’ll be fine. Just make sure to pack it in safely, and never buy from anyone who’s offering. Now get out there and enjoy yourselves. Once you get past all the vanity and corny social media shit, it really is one of the best experiences a music lover/hippy/free spirit/person-that’s-just-looking-for-a-great-time could ever have.

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Danté Jordan
Danté Jordan
Danté Jordan is a cannabis writer based in Los Angeles. He's written for Leafly, Weedmaps, High Times, and many more publications.
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