The people and the grounds were surprisingly far less trashed at GrassLands than they were in the booze-soaked areas of the Outside Lands festival over the weekend, as San Francisco’s historic first-ever outdoor legal marijuana sales bazaar was a pot of gold for dispensaries and vendors.
You could blaze right up while taking your selfie at Outside Lands’ Instagram-friendly GrassLands grass sign, as cannabis activist Elise McRoberts does above in recreating her infamous New York Times dab hit seen ‘round the world photo. Outside Lands won the distinction of being the first major U.S. music festival to sell marijuana last week, though the permits didn’t come through until about 36 hours before the event started. Still, the festival’s “weed sales and smoking” area avoided any sticky-icky situations with medical emergencies or law enforcement incidents. Unlike the Outside Lands food and drink booths, prices were not marked up substantially, though lines got pretty long at some of the more popular dispensary and cannabis-brand booths.
Just before 4:20 p.m. Sunday, we see about 70 people standing in line for the Farmer’s Market, one of the more popular sales areas, because it sold several brands’ products and not just their own. The individual brand booths selling their own product generally did not have such long lines, though a few did. “We had 60 people in line [Saturday], which was absolutely surreal,” Kiva Confections co-founder Kristi Knoblich Palmer told SFist. Palmer says that Kiva’s marijuana-infused chocolate treat booth was the top seller on Friday and Saturday, though Sunday sales figures were not available as of press time.
Prices were completely on par with what you see in dispensaries, in fact, some booths were pricing quite competitively with super-cheap deals that you would never find in dispensaries. You could buy the two mini-joints seen above for just $5 at the booth of Posh Green Collective, the only San Francisco equity program vendor represented at Grass Lands. Kiva Confections also had a $5 deal for two 5mg THC-infused gummies. “I’m not sure what else you buy here at the event here other than water for $5,” Palmer said.
Arguably the coolest novelty marijuana-infused item for sale was Lagunitas Hi-Fi Hops, a non-alcoholic “beer” with 10 mg of THC that allowed you to recreate the experience of walking around with a beer at a festival even though booze was forbidden in the Grass Lands area. The Lagunitas weed beer retailed for $10 a bottle (exactly what it retails for outside the festival). Their booth, which you could chill on top of on a deck while drinkin your “beer” was a nice touch, though most brands represented were big, well-funded out-of-towners. Out of 28 Grass Lands cannabis vendors, the only home-grown San Francisco brands were the Green Door, Lady Chatterley Delivery, Flower to the People, and Posh Green Collective.
“If we don’t have equity representation, then we shouldn’t have anybody,” said Posh Green owner Reese Benton, who also recently became the first African-American woman to be the sole owner of a California dispensary. “We want everyone to be able to play on a level platform.”
But most importantly for future events, there were no incidents requiring police or medical attention all weekend long in the Grass Lands area. Alcohol was not allowed, and security were on orders to not admit anyone into the cannabis section if they exhibited signs of intoxication. Crowds were smaller in that remote forest area, and parenthetically, cell phone reception much better.
“The vibe is really chill and it’s very respectful,” said San Francisco Office of Cannabis director Marisa Rodriguez. “It’s not only respectful to the people, it’s respectful to the park.”
You can see what she means here, in split-screen images of what the ground looked like at Grass Lands (left), and how it looked in the general Outside Lands ara (right). Despite having marijuana galore, Grass Lands was less littered and had little to no drunkenness on display.
You could only enjoy your weed in one of three consumption areas, all of which were equipped with pretty nice benches and tables. The system worked pretty smoothly, despite an incredibly chaotic week behind the scenes where permits were not granted until the last minute.
“We didn’t get the go-ahead from the city and the state to bring physical inventory on-site until 5 a.m. Friday morning. Which, we’re talking going live at 11 a.m.,” said Chris Violas, co-founder CEO of Blaze, which handled distribution and point-of-sales software for Grass Lands. “We’re bringing thousands of units on-site, distributing those to the brands, getting the manifests in place, it was a lot. It was a rush.”
As they did at last year’s dry-run, no-cannabis-sold version of Grass Lands, weed brand Flow Kana iterated on their crowd-pleasing build your own bong out of fruits and vegetables contest Farm to Bong. Sunday’s competition was won by the watermelon smiley-face bong seen above.
“Claim your place in history and make your parents proud!,” contest emcee and Flow Kana events director Zach Carson bellowed to the winning bongmaker. But really, it was Outside Lands that claimed their place in history Sunday. The first San Francisco outdoor festival with legal marijuana sales went off without a hitch, save for some long lines. You did not see any arrests, disorderly behavior, litter, or any other chronic festival problems at Grass Lands — even though the chronic was being smoked constantly.