Should You Bring Weed to Burning Man 2018?
Sounds like a trick question, doesn't it?
Burning Man is an annual late summer gathering that sees an impromptu city and community rise from the sands of the Nevada desert to create a “decommodified” society that aims to place value on people, not things.
Held this year between Sunday August 26th, and Monday September 3rd, Burning Man will once again celebrate what those in the know refer to as The 10 Principles of Burning Man:
· Radical Inclusion
· Radical Self-Reliance
· Radical Self-Expression
· Communal Effort
· Civic Responsibility
· Leaving No Trace
So… we’re getting baked first, right?
If you’ve never been to Burning Man but you have seen pictures or footage in the media, you might think that it is a lawless experience, full of sex, drugs, rock & roll, and dirt but the reality is that the 10 Principles does not establish the law of the land – the federal government does.
Hosted every year just outside of Black Rock City, in Pershing County, Nevada, Burning Man takes place on federal BLM land. Even though the state of Nevada legalized the adult recreational use of cannabis in 2016, authorities here follow federal law which still considers cannabis to be a Schedule I drug and completely illegal regardless of state law.
In fact, law enforcement is everywhere on the Playa at Burning Man – and not always in uniform. You’ll see plenty of dual-deputized sheriff’s deputies around, but undercover federal agents have become experts at blending into the eccentric flair and fashion that blooms from the weeklong event and their main focus every year is drug intervention.
The same goes for Gate Road, the most common entry point into Burning Man. You can expect a lot of law enforcement activity here as cars are singled out and searched prior to entry. Refusing the search can result in a denial of entry.
Alternate routes lead you through tribal land that also follows federal law when it comes to marijuana.
Pershing County sheriff’s deputies arrested right around 50 people at last year’s event, 3/4s of them being on drug-related charges.
Though local authorities cite cannabis, coke, and ecstasy as the three most common drugs seized in those arrests, the Feds have not made an arrest at Burning Man in years.
This year the local cops will allow attendees to follow Nevada state law and possess up to one ounce of cannabis flowers, or up to 1/8th of concentrates though Sheriff Jerry Allen warns you not to bring a “hay bale of marijuana”... ok boss
So, really, as long as you are following the state law, odds are that you will be left alone. But before you spark up that footlong spliff, you ought to know that public consumption of cannabis in Nevada can carry a misdemeanor charge and a $600 fine.
The age old advice of carrying weed certainly applies – don’t get caught doing two things wrong.
If you are smoking a joint and vibing out with your crew, you’ll probably be ok.
If you are smoking a joint while punching a guy dressed as a steampunk swan off his fixie because he got the last Cup-o-Noodles, you might get a shakedown from roaming BLM agents and things can get messy.
One final thing to consider anytime you are traveling through Nevada is that the state is very strict when it comes to driving “under the influence of cannabis”. Police can enforce a ridiculous 2 nanogram/ml max threshold which means that you can potentially get popped for being “under the influence” of a bongload you ripped two days earlier.
It is crucial to know your rights in these situations.
As the Pot Brothers at Law like to say – learn the script:
WHY DID YOU PULL ME OVER
I'M NOT DISCUSSING MY DAY
AM I BEING DETAINED OR AM I FREE TO GO
(If detained you say) I INVOKE THE 5TH
(then you) SHUT THE FUCK UP!
Be polite, comply with orders, but do not say another word.
Now is a great time to mention that we are not lawyers, this information is for educational purposes and you need to be sure that you know the limits of the law anytime you are looking to push those limits.
But with this friendly advice we are confident that you will stay High (and stay hydrated!) in the crucible of creativity known asBurning Man 2018