There are at least 10 states in the U.S. where people can consume cannabis recreationally without fears of being arrested. Tennessee is not one of them – and it’s no surprise considering this state’s most famous export is Jack Daniels.
In fact, Tennessee is rarely on the list of states with progressive policies on most areas you can think of. Abortion? No. Tax benefits for low-income families? No. Medical marijuana? No.
But Tennesseans still like parties and music festivals, and are often willing to risk their freedom and financial stability in the name of a cool, fun drug-infused adventure. The state’s annual Bonnaroo festival, like many similar jam-band-oriented music celebrations, is apocryphally a safe space – or at least an autonomous zone – for recreational drug use.
Sold out for the first time since 2016 this year, thousands of people gathered to see their favorite cannabis and drug-friendly bands including Phish, Childish Gambino, Post Malone – who recently got into the cannabis industry, Odesza and Magic City Hippies – best known for never saying “no” to Mary Jane. But many attendees got more than what they bargained for, as local authorities and police officers go crazy over minor drug offenses.
This is clearly evidenced by the more than 100 citations local authorities issued in the first 24 hours of the ongoing festival. There have been at least four arrests reported so far.
“I don’t get how people are still getting arrested for drugs at this point. Only four arrests; yes. But that’s four more, far more, than necessary,” jokes Jessica Steinberg, a PhD student at the U.K.’s Oxford University, who’s exploring the legal cannabis market.
In fact, she continues, for a hard crack down on drug-related offenses, as the local authorities defined it, this is “pretty ineffective enforcement.”
Think of it this way: they only caught about 100 people with drugs, out of the thousands that we know carried them inside the festival’s premises. Maybe the TSA trained these cops, she ends.
Improv(ing) A Bad Situation With Humor
Seeking to address these topics from a humoristic perspective, DOPEMagazine reached out to two cannabis comedians Rachel Wolfson and Chris Cope and asked her to share a few jokes about the ridiculous amount of unwarranted citations and arrests.
Cope calls it “entrapment.”
He asks: “If you can’t bring drugs into a music festival; then is it a music festival?”
Still, he adds, “any rookie knows you show up with the drugs already in you.”
For Wolfson, doing drugs is “the entire point of music festivals.”