The 2018 National Cannabis Festival was a big hit. Held at the RFK Stadium festival grounds, thousands of people waited in an absurdly long line to light up with local dispensaries, businesses, and of course, Cypress Hill.
You couldn’t have asked the ganja gods for better weather, or people, to celebrate the day after 4/20. Attendees didn’t fit into one box like you might expect. With 61% of Americans now favoring the legalization of marijuana, it isn’t just Rasta loving tokers partaking. There were grandparents, hippies, bros, couples, parents and their older children and every kind of millennial.
It’s worth noting that black people and white people use pot at the same rate, but black people are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people . This wasn’t just a one day festival, there was a policy summit the previous day that addressed a multitude of cannabis concerns in the area and around the country.
When I interviewed Caroline Phillips, the festival’s founder, she spoke of the strong community that has developed in the area around cannabis. That communal vibe was obvious at this year’s festival. What I saw was a bunch of people being themselves and enjoying doing what they love, while appreciating the full musical lineup.
At one point in the Munchie Zone, among the various food trucks, I saw a man throw up his arms and yell “I feel amazing! I am with my people!” Everyone seemed blissfully comfortable and thrilled to be there, and I don’t even think cannabis was the only reason.
From the Cottonmouth Bar, to the Wellness Pavilion and the Songbyrd tent (for the coinciding Record Store Day), the festival was well thought out. The organizers knew their crowd and nailed this joint effort. Every vendor tent had a slew of curious, albeit red eyed, folks checking out the offers. The excitement of pursuing cannabis related products in a (somewhat) legalized way was palpable.
It could’ve been an intense second hand high, but this festival was unique, entertaining, and accepting. It was a place to gather with like minded individuals and to get a taste of the future—normalized and accepted cannabis use. It’s high time cannabis consumption becomes a casual activity, and this festival is doing their part.