Cannabis consumption space at Calgary music festival grows into its third year

| David Brown

A Calgary cannabis retailer is hosting its third cannabis consumption space at the Badlands Music Festival, which will take place from Thursday, July 4, to Sunday, July 14, 2024.

Chinook Cannabis, with two stores in Alberta, will host “The Garden” as a place for people to relax and smoke a joint, vape, or consume an edible or beverage somewhat removed from the heat and excitement of the rest of the festival. Badlands is a large electronic music festival held during Calgary Stampede. 

Festival-goers can use the “Garden” space to relax, purchase, and consume cannabis, and can order cannabis from Chinook’s website to be delivered to the cannabis garden at the festival. Chinook Cannabis’s website includes a tab for festivals and events with an array of products. 

Although Alberta made changes to provincial regulations earlier this year that allow for cannabis retailers to apply for a licence to sell cannabis at a minors-prohibited entertainment event or cannabis industry trade show, Chinook owner Casey Baer says that Calgary’s municipal bylaws still don’t allow for cannabis sales at these types of events. He hopes that by next year, they will also be able to facilitate on-site sales.

Baer and Chinook Cannabis worked closely with the AGLC, the province’s cannabis regulator, to establish these rule changes provincially, and now plan to begin working with municipalities like Calgary to do the same.  

“We worked side by side with the AGLC to make sure everything was compliant and created kind of the first of its kind consumption gardens on festival spaces. It was that work over the last few years that helped change the rules earlier this year.”

He says they are bringing their “Garden” consumption space to Edmonton at the Great Outdoors Comedy Festival from July 12-14 and will have on-site sales as the city already allows. Sales will be in partnership with a local Edmonton retailer, Plantlife Cannabis. Baer says they also plan to bring The Garden to some events in BC next year. 

“The Garden was created to bridge the gap between cannabis and large scale events,” he explains. “The idea that kicked this off is we were at a festival and the cannabis consumption areas were a sort of forgotten part of the event where you were basically in a parking lot or a mud pit. So we decided we needed to really flip the script to create a place where, whether you consume cannabis or not, it’s the spot of the festival that you want to come check out.”

Other events in Canada have attempted at least some version of cannabis sales at festivals, such as this festival in Saskatchewan in 2022. In this instance, consumers could order cannabis products online and have them delivered to the festival. 

The Edmonton Folk Festival has previously hosted a cannabis consumption space, although it did not include on-site sales. Glenda Dennis, the sponsorship coordinator with the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, told StratCann at the time that she was happy to see a cannabis consumption space there. 

“It’s a folk festival, so you can’t really not have cannabis!” she said at the time.

Featured image from Badlands Music Festival.