Cannabis users smoked proudly this weekend at One Love Cali Reggae Festival

Rebecca Olmos,
Staff Writer

It was difficult to tell the difference between stage smoke and cannabis smoke this weekend in Long Beach. But the pungent smell made it obvious that festival goers were getting high. Joints were passed, blunts were rolled, pens hit and pipes ripped.

One Love Cali Reggae Fest was two days filled with live music, drinks, food, vendors, art and a large amount of cannabis.

It isn’t uncommon for cannabis smoke to be present during concerts, especially when artists write lyrics dedicated to it. California is in its first year of legalized recreational marijuana and there seemed to be a new sense of pride from festival goers, reggae music lovers and Californians. There’s a new found freedom in smoking cannabis.

As I walked into the venue security reminded us that all pipes should be emptied before entering. Attendees had their bags checked and a security guard casually joked that pre-rolled joints should’ve been ready beforehand.

However, cannabis wasn’t hard to come by once you got inside. There were Swisher cigars, flowers to choose from and even a vendor dedicated to selling cannabidiol (CBD) products. All of this was available while you migrated from stage to stage to check out different bands. Police officers weren’t far either; they were a visible presence on the outskirts of the crowds.

Events like CaliRoots Music and Arts Festival, Outside Lands and reggae concerts have never been shy about cannabis usage. Audiences have always sparked joints as their favorite songs played.

Cannabis and reggae music go hand-in-hand and every artist sang about their love and appreciation of marijuana.  Hirie sang, “Don’t Take My Ganja”, Josh Heinrich sang, “Puff Herbs” and The Holdup sang, “Way Too High”. And between almost every set, DJ’s played Bob Marley.

It was a friendly gesture for one user to pass their joint or pipe to their neighbor. No words were exchanged, just passing cannabis from one person to another. They may not know each other, but there’s an unspoken knowledge that everyone is there to get high. Clouds of smoke filled the venue and sometimes it was necessary to step outside to take a break from the haze.

There has always been a sense of community and understanding between cannabis users, it’s a culture of good vibes and times. Cannabis has the reputation of being able to make life easier. California voters helped relieve the stress from users by passing Proposition 64, the legalization has brought users out of the dark.

Most of the reggae artists featured at One Love will be touring up and down the West Coast throughout the winter and into summer. The CaliRoots Festival is May 25 to 27 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds.