The 4-day festival, held in San Francisco, brought together over 8,000 cannabis enthusiasts for the festivities. The event featured a wide range of speakers and activities such as yoga classes to educate newbies on dosing their medicine correctly.

The “national cannabis festival veterans” is a celebration of the plant and its benefits. The event draws enormous crowds for enjoyment, education, and to raise awareness about the plant.



At Saturday’s National Cannabis Festival, hazy clouds of smoke hung above large groups of calm attendees.

After the D.C. Council enacted recreational cannabis legislation, Initiative 71, allowing individuals 21 and older to legally possess up to two ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to two plants, the annual celebration at the Robert F. Kennedy Festival Grounds in southeast D.C. started in 2016. More than 60 food booths, more than 100 cannabis “exhibitors,” and all-day musical performances with headliner Wiz Khalifa were among the highlights of this year’s event, which took place from noon to 10 p.m.

We followed a stream of hundreds of people toward the main entrance after eventually securing parking after running into multiple blocked-off roads around the event. We passed past persons selling festival tickets and gaudy weed-themed t-shirts before we even arrived to the gates.

“Can we bring joints in?” one guy shouted from his vehicle throughout the journey. “Joints?” said another festival-goer. I’ll bring everything – flowers, papers, and joints. I’ll bring in everything they’ll allow me!”

Many others, including the inquisitive guy in his automobile, were allowed to bring their own cannabis goods since they were not listed as illegal. Despite the fact that public use of cannabis is illegal in the District, most festival participants had lit joints and blunts in their hands.

Unlike regular spectators, we were permitted to carry cameras in with press tickets. Our luggage, however, were not even examined before entering the festival grounds, a sign of the event’s general strictness.

I felt like I was being taken into an other realm where cannabis rules weren’t an issue for most as we passed through the tunnel separating the check-in gates from the event. We should recognize the great advantage that comes with living in this sort of society, particularly while others are still being imprisoned and spending time behind bars for nonviolent cannabis offenses throughout the nation.

We took a circuit around the festival grounds to get our bearings before heading to the “munchies zone” towards the rear. To beat the midday heat, I grabbed a strawberry mint lemonade drink from TreeHouse Juicery’s kiosk.

We next proceeded to the Grow School tent, where two lecturers discussed natural farming principles and philosophies in relation to cannabis and hemp production.

This tent was one of four around the festival that was focused on cannabis education with panels and presentations throughout the day. The others included a Culture Pavilion, with presentations like “Marijuana, Music & the Midterm Elections,” a Wellness Pavilion with presentations like “The Spiritual Connection to Plant Medicine” and the Policy Pavilion with presentations like “7 years after Initiative 71…Why Is DC So Far Behind?”

We strolled the apparently endless lines of tents packed with cannabis “exhibitors” positioned in the heart of the grounds, highlighting D.C. companies like District Derp and Gifted Curators, after attending the Grow School lecture. These companies are not referred to as sellers since cannabis may only be “given” in the District, not expressly purchased or sold. The cannabis you get at these locations must be accompanied by a product you paid for, such as art, or your money will be considered a “gift.”

However, the few Metropolitan Police Department officers stationed around the show were outmanned, and most exhibitors were, pardon the pun, more forthright about their transactions than they would be in regular business. Between the tents, patrons may browse an immense range of pre-rolls, flower, edibles, and paraphernalia, with most merchants vocally explaining prices.

Pre-rolls ranged in price from $5 to $15, depending on the size and strain quality. Every vendor I spoke with was quite knowledgable about the strains they were offering, describing the tastes and effects in great detail.

The event also offered for plenty of people-watching — a performative wrestling battle, complete with platform ring, attracted our notice before we paused for a few minutes to witness a pizza-eating contest.

A face painter had her whole upper body beautifully painted with brilliant green cannabis blossoms, while several festivalgoers wore complete cannabis-themed costumes.

The diversity of individuals attending the event was fascinating in and of itself; serious stoners, festival nerds, hippies, and those that looked like they stepped straight out of their local country club were all mingling. We sat next to an elderly couple who stated they were here “under the radar” while enjoying a sun break in a covered tent area.

We were itching to go back to the snacks zone later in the evening. We stayed to the shortest lines since the lines had begun to develop by 5 p.m. With chicken, sausage, shrimp, and whole blue crab, Memaw’s Table’s substantial seafood gumbo ($18.95) was well worth the price. The massive iced watermelon drink ($10) we got from one of the generic fair food stalls, however, was by far the most refreshing delight we encountered in the snacks zone.

We set up our folding chairs to the right of the stage in the main concert area, which is situated at the front of the grounds, about 7 p.m., and watched rapper Ghostface Killah play for half an hour as the sunset highlighted the wisps of smoke rising from the crowd.

Between acts, the emcee said, “I hope y’all are smoking well!”

While our initial intention was to remain at the event until Wiz Khalifa took the stage at 8:45 p.m., we chose to depart early in order to escape the bottleneck gridlock that formed after the performance ended.

Despite the ambiguous regulations governing recreational cannabis usage in the District, the National Cannabis Festival offers a gathering place for cannabis enthusiasts to meet and enjoy the community it fosters.

The “canifest” is a festival that takes place every year in Washington D.C. The event draws enormous crowds for enjoyment and education.

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