Is pot the new Prada?

Coachella, the trend-heavy California music festival where fashion and lifestyle brands have long flocked to market their wares (and rope affluent “influencers” into doing the same on their social channels), will have a new hot accessory this year: newly legalized recreational marijuana.

The festival prohibits cannabis on its privately-owned grounds — even for attendees carrying medical cards — but enterprising brands have found a clever workaround in their attempt to get a head start on mining California’s cannabis gold rush. (Pot is now legal to consume, grow, and carry in California, but recreational sales won’t be legal until 2018.) Rather than jostle for position near stages reserved for Kendrick Lamar and Lorde, they’re hosting their own shows outside festival property.

Both weekends of the festival will feature plenty of off-site activities promoting cannabis, including a massive Weed Oasis. Via Pret-a-Reporter:

During Weekend One, the invitation-only Weed Oasis will feature five geodesic domes on a privately owned compound, each with a different cannabis experience (from vapes and edibles to blunts) and experts — dubbed “budtenders” — on hand to answer questions and teach guests how to roll the perfect joint. Additionally, there will be a functioning greenhouse which will serve to show how the product is harvested for those whose only knowledge or understanding of the cultivation process is based on old episodes of Weeds.

The Oasis, hosted partially by Yelp-ish pot-centric app Weedmaps, will welcome 250-300 influencers, where products will be handed out for free (organic social media endorsements are encouraged, but not required!). The PR assault isn’t just an attempt to make marijuana trendy, but overhaul its image.

“This is not a frat party,” Mike Heller, CEO of Oasis sponsor Talent Resourcestells Pret-a-Reporter. “The industry itself is going away from Cheech and Chong. We’re going to have juice bars, yoga areas, and massages.”

Weekend Two of Coachella will see a private residence in Palm Springs host a CannaSpa, where chef-approved cannabis beverages and foods will be distributed during art and yoga classes. The wellness-focused spa, hosted by Culinary & Cannabis, will also feature more formal “Dinner is Dope” and “CannaCocktails” events.

Which brands will emerge victorious from the festival? That remains to be seen. But the cannabis community as a whole stands to benefit, as the players involved are pushing more than product. Their focus on educating attendees on the health and wellness benefits of cannabis is encouraging.

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