Doing Drugs at Coachella? Here's How to Avoid Trouble With the Police

Categories: Coachella 2013

Timothy Norris
This dude's actually drug free. But he still knows his rights
Hate to say it, but some of you at Coachella are going to be approached by police officers assuming you have drugs. Well, you just may, but guess what? You still have rights, man.

See also: Everything You Need to Know About Coachella

Cameron Bowman is here to help! As a music festival lover and attorney at San Jose firm Valencia, Ippolito & Bowman, he's a legal expert on this kind of thing. Bowman, aka The Festival Lawyer, talks below about the best ways to protect yourself if you're approached by the fuzz at the fest.

1. Your medical marijuana card doesn't mean shit

Sure, your "glaucoma" (or even your hemorrhoids) has earned you the right to legally purchase marijuana at any number of pot shops in L.A., but that does not mean you can legally bring it into the festival. Coachella makes it very clear on its website that wacky tobaccy purchased with a medical card is as illegal as stuff purchased from the black market.

"People need to realize," says Bowman, "that a medical marijuana card is a recommendation from a doctor that you're allowed to use marijuana to treat an ongoing physical or mental condition. It's not the same as a prescription, and under federal law it's still illegal." Since Coachella is a private event, it also means that the organizers can set any rules they like about what is and is not allowed inside.

This scenario becomes even less legal when those with a medical marijuana card purchase weed with the intent to share it with friends or sell it to strangers. (Both of these acts are considered "distribution" and are felony offenses.) "There are real limits on what you can do," Bowman says. "If you are transporting or possessing marijuana for purposes of sale, not only is it illegal, but it's what called a non-alternative felony, which means that a judge can't reduce it to a misdemeanor, you're not eligible for drug diversion programs, and it's basically a felony on your record for the rest of your life."

Long story short, marijuana and other controlled substances are definitely not allowed inside the festival, although some of you are going to sneak them in anyways in your sweaty pants. Just remember...

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To see socially-regressive, sanctimonious neanderthals falsely crying God, nationalism, or patriotism while denigrating, bullying, threatening, and even murdering the ill and dying—for choosing to exercise their God-given right to self-medicate with one of Earth's most medically efficacious plants.

To see our prisons filled to budget-busting capacity on the false pretense of protecting people from themselves.

To see the selective targeting and destruction of African-American families and African-American communities.

To see the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of Americans destroyed or severely disrupted.

To see our Federal government's role in the international drug trade, funding their despicable black-operations throughout the entire globe.

To see the huge market in narcotics gifted to ruthless criminals, foreign terrorists, and corrupt law enforcement. 

To see our society spiral downwards into a dark abyss, while shady corporate entities exponentially enrich themselves.

These are the dimensions of prohibition; which are terrifying and unconscionable; which are morally repugnant. 

Prohibition is about violence. 

Prohibition is about suffering.

Prohibition is a nasty business.

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