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Canadians who prefer their live music with a side of loud, rejoice: Alberta’s Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction (yes, this is an actual position as of 2021) gave official approval on Tuesday for licensed cannabis retailers to send courier deliveries of weed purchased online. The upshot, as the Calgary Herald reported, is that the province’s music festivals can now feature designated consumption areas where partiers can receive deliveries of non-smokable cannabis products.
All employees working in the designated areas must have completed the province’s Qualified Cannabis Worker certification program. Attendees won’t be able to booze in these sections, as cannabis and alcohol pairing is frowned upon by state regulators. Furthermore, the availability of weed deliveries will still be subject to regulation by local jurisdictions.
Previous to Tuesday’s announcement, online cannabis sales were only allowed via the province's regulatory agency, Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis. Many cannabis businesses welcomed the move, some of which began their online sales the very same day.
The regulations open the door to way more than being able to cop at fests. Public consumption is allowed in Alberta and its capital Edmonton — though not in all its cities, such as Calgary — so the addition of online delivery services could mean that residents will be seeing more weed at a variety of locations and gatherings.
“Since public consumption is permitted in Alberta, a delivery service can deliver cannabis to a consumer anywhere it’s legal to do so,” a representative from AGLC wrote in an email to the Herald.
Cannabis in music festivals, of course, has been around for times untold. An attendee of the simultaneously legendary and disastrous 1969 Woodstock said that marijuana was in more plentiful supply than actual sources of hydration: “Water was worth its weight in marijuana.”
In 2019, Alberta’s Calgary Folk Music Festival offered a consumption area for attendees who had brought in their own weed. That same year, the first major US music festival went all-in on legal ganja. San Francisco’s Outside Lands debuted a section called Grass Lands that offered the on-site sale of flower, concentrates, edibles, and cannabis beverages from two dozen local weed brands.
Outside Lands had to obtain a temporary waiver from the city’s department of health to allow cannabis smoking on the festival’s grounds, which are located in the verdant Golden Gate Park. All the effort turned out to be well worth it: a local paper estimated that over a million dollars worth of cannabis products was sold that day, and the tradition has continued in the fest’s more recent incarnations.
Let’s be real, though: Regardless of an event or city’s official regulations, weed will be consumed in large quantities at most music festivals. Despite the fact that smoking was nominally banned on festival grounds, Lollapalooza 2021 attendees were credited with generating Illinois’s highest-yet legal cannabis monthly sales figures.