Categories: All Shook DownMusic

Northern Nights, Not Outside Lands, Is the First Festival to Allow Cannabis


It’s finally happening! Hey, we were fairly certain it would be OSL, too.

But it’s not. The “Tree Lounge” at Northern Nights, a smaller-scale music festival that runs this Friday through Sunday up by the Mendocino-Humboldt county line, will partner with cannabis-compliance experts Highland Events to unveil the first-ever on-site dispensary at an event of this nature.

That it’s happening in the Emerald Triangle, at the original site of Reggae on the River, is sweetly symbolic, too.

But first, let’s establish that this isn’t some cannabis free-for-all, but a fairly structured situation in keeping with California’s recreational-cannabis guidelines. Northern Nights’ organizers booked Berner & BReal to perform at the festival, and since Berner is the mastermind behind Cookies — a cannabis empire that recently began selling actual cookies — it only made sense for that company to have a presence. Flow Kana and The Green Door will be there, too, as will Lagunitas Brewing Co. and AbsoluteXtracts’ beer-like cannabis-infused beverage HiFi Hops.

It’s more than just branding and [shudder] “activations,” too. In terms of activities, there’s going to be Stoned Yoga, a “Farm to Bong” Carving Competition wherein you whittle your own device out of fresh produce for a panel of judges to crown a winner. Unquestionably, that’s going to be hilarious.

Under the framework that AB 2020 provided, California cities and counties may not issue temporary cannabis permits for special events. So far, the only two jurisdictions that have jumped at this are San Francisco and unincorporated Humboldt County, and because the city has taken its sweet time to get a regulatory structure together, events like the How Weird Street Faire, 4/20, and S.F. Pride weren’t able to get permits.

The much-larger Outside Lands — which had a no-sale, no-smoke cannabis section called Grass Lands in 2018 — is quite likely to have something like this in store. But Northern Nights is simply three weeks earlier in the summer.

With Zhu and Big Wild as the headliners — check out SF Weekly‘s Big Wild interview here — Northern Nights hasn’t quite sold out yet, either. So: whatcha doing this weekend?

Northern Nights, Friday-Sunday, July 19-21, Piercy, Calif. $299, tickets here.

Peter Lawrence Kane

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