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Outside Lands 2023: Cannabis experience ‘Grass Lands’ grows alongside San Francisco festival

Grass Lands at Outside Lands | Source: Courtesy Alive Coverage

Grass Lands—the peaceful, first-of-its-kind cannabis country—will return for its fifth iteration at the music festival Outside Lands from Aug. 11 to 13. 

The all-things-weed celebration will take place in the meadow south of the Polo Field in Golden Gate Park, highlighting the latest innovations and products in the cannabis industry. More than 20 purveyors and 35 brands will be on sale during the three-day festival. 

“This was the first time a festival of this stature—or any festival, really—recognized the role that cannabis can play alongside music and food and wine,” said Lauren Carpenter, co-founder of Embarc Events, the organizer of Grass Lands. “It’s so important because of the de-stigmatization that it represents.” 

It also promises a lot of fun with your buds. 

Grass Lands at Outside Lands | Courtesy Alive Coverage | Source: Courtesy Alive Coverage

New this year are comedy performances and cooking demonstrations on the Grass Lands stage, which will also feature DJ sets all three days. The footprint for the consumption zone will be expanded this year, and cheese-forward food vendor Total Meltdown will be on-site to satiate you when the munchies hit. 

“They’re absolutely obscene in the best of all possible ways,” Carpenter said of their extra-melty grilled cheeses.

Many festivalgoers like to start off their day at Grass Lands because of its mellow vibe, which is why the other Grass Lands food purveyor—Bloomstock—serves up coffee and waffles.

“It’s so calm and peaceful, such a respite,” Carpenter said. “I can’t imagine anything better than for folks to come and be able to sit on the grass and watch a comedian and smoke a joint,” she added, noting that the designated consumption spaces are meant to feel warm and inviting. 

Grass Lands at Outside Lands | Courtesy Alive Coverage | Source: Courtesy Alive Coverage

The chill vibe comes thanks, in part, to lots of advance planning, given the high value of controlled substances on the grounds. 

“It functions as a fortress but looks like a palace,” Carpenter said. 

Other highlights include the return of popular vendors such as Traditional—beloved for its extra dank, indoor-grown flowers—and the new addition Ooka, which makes a cannabis-infused hookah device. Some of the offerings, such as collabs with Sundae School and Zippo, will be Outside Lands-exclusive. 

The 21+ festivities aim to amplify Black, Brown and socially equitable cannabis brands by curating a menu with input from the Equity Trade Network and Martin Olive of the longtime dispensary Vapor Room

“This festival really leaned into the fact that the City and County of San Francisco have been such leaders in the cannabis movement,” Carpenter said. “Very early, they were pioneers.” 

Such a collaboration, in and of itself, is uniquely San Franciscan—as is so much of the festival.  

“Outside Lands,” Carpenter said, “is a celebration of San Francisco in so many ways.”