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Music, high times planned for Weedstock this weekend

Karl Howell, music and merchandising manager for Weedstock, points to the field where the festival is to be held this weekend. (Rachel Sun / The Spokesman-Review)
Karl Howell, music and merchandising manager for Weedstock, points to the field where the festival is to be held this weekend. (Rachel Sun / The Spokesman-Review)

Local cannabis lovers, rejoice: Music and mind-alteration are coming to a field near you, as “Weedstock 2018” rolls out in celebration of 4/20.

Organizers say the three-day event, located on a piece of private property in Whitman County and timed to coincide with marijuana’s unofficial day of celebration, is aimed at engaging with the community and dispelling misconceptions about cannabis just as much as it is about having fun.

“Cannabis is not something to be demonized and looked down upon,” said Karl Howell, music and merchandising manager for Weedstock. “People that are involved in this community are just like anybody else.”

The event is expected to draw roughly 1,500 people, but the venue has room for as many as 10,000, he said.

Weedstock features two stages, one for hip-hop and another for rock music. The event includes local musicians, including Heart Avail, Silent Theory, State Of Krisis and Unconfined.

There will be a VIP section for $10, with a 100-person drum circle, fire dancers and other attractions.

Weedstock features live performances, comedians and vendors, Howell said, but there will not be any cannabis or alcohol sales. However, attendees are invited to bring their own.

Lucy the Cana Dog, who is trained to help administer CBD oil to children with epilepsy, will be doing demonstrations.

Attendees are required to sign a waiver after “liking” the group’s Facebook page, 420 Union, to become members.

That requirement means the event won’t fall under “public” jurisdiction, which would make it illegal, said Howell.

Event laws for the county were designed so smaller gatherings like family reunions wouldn’t require permits, said Dean Kinzer, Whitman County commissioner.

Because Weedstock is considered “private,” it circumvents the usual event requirements.

Kinzer said how well this year’s Weedstock goes will have a significant role in determining how the law is adjusted in the future. This is the first year it has been held.

For law enforcement, the biggest concern is safety, Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers said.

“We’re not going to stand there and guard,” he said. But if attendees cause problems, “what they’re doing potentially has consequences down the road.”

The most important job for organizers is making sure participants are following the law, Myers said.

Weedstock organizers are aware the event sets a precedent for similar events in the future, Howell said, and are taking steps to ensure responsible behavior.

“We’re trying to promote a safe and fun environment for everybody,” he said.

That includes taxis that will be available going to and from Dissmore’s IGA in Pullman to the event. Attendees can also camp out on-site, so they won’t have to drive anywhere.

Organizers are also putting up barriers to block sight from the public road, so people consuming cannabis products won’t be in the public eye.

The event will end with an Earth Day cleanup.

“We’re going to tidy up, and in that way we can give back and not negatively affect the environment that’s been so gracious to host us,” Howell said.


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