💨 UPDATE: Grass Lands at Outside Lands was actually an Overwhelming Success

Insights from insiders tell a different story than the one SFGATE painted, indicating that the first cannabis sales & consumption event of this scale since the pandemic started was quite successful.

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🗣️ Highly Objective Reader Feedback on Grass Lands at Outside Lands Offers Much More Positive (and Realistic) Views on Event. Seems like the SFGATE article I included in yesterday's newsletter was a hatchet job (written by a writer that didn’t spend much time at Grass Lands—in case you didn’t click into the article—and offered a take that has been disputed by those on the ground) about Grass Lands @ Outside Lands. I’ve heard from people at the event that it was quite successful, with brands selling out of product onsite. Since the festival hasn’t released any numbers, I can’t share the facts but have heard from several event insiders that sales were substantial and indicate that cannabis sales and consumption at mainstream events are here to stay. 

The San Francisco Chronicle covered the event, dubbing Outside Lands’ new Grass Lands stage “the most chill place in S.F. this weekend.” The article quoted an events insider who noted “how seamless the festival’s logistics seemed to be operating after Outside Lands’ pandemic-enforced hiatus. She particularly appreciated how much Grass Lands has evolved since its debut in 2018, making into more than just a designated place for marijuana users to smoke freely. That’s better than being around the grounds and wondering, ‘Can I smoke here?’ ” she said. “It’s California man.”

Video and photos from the event show a packed Grass Lands, with a substantial flow of festival goers engaging with branded activations throughout the space (video below from Collin Lam).

🔎 Feedback from those on the ground was wildly different than what was portrayed in the SFGATE article.

Eaze’s VP Communications, Elizabeth Ashford offered up a reply on Twitter:

Rebecca Olmos, Budtender at the Cookies Booth noted that it was crowded all three days during her shifts. Collin Lam, VP Commercial Strategy at PAX Labs, felt that it was critical to be there and to be a part of the California brand conversation—and attendees were still really excited about the engraver they brought for PAX devices. Emily Paxhia, Managing Director at Poseidon Partners, who attended commented: “It did not feel like a dried up trade show to me. I guess there could have been more booths. It was rammed with people each time I was up there.” 

Participating brands offered their take on the event as well, indicating higher sales than expected and meaningful inclusion of local and socially equitable brands in this year’s festival:

Holistic Industries (Garcia Hand Picked) CMO, Kyle Barich:

“We were blown away by Grass Lands. Our performance at the festival nearly doubled projections, and more importantly, we were honored to pay homage to Jerry Garcia in the city that shaped him as an artist and icon.”

Potli CEO, Felicity Chen:

“Grass Lands was a massive success and quite the feat. We’re immensely proud to be one of nearly a dozen social equity brands featured this year at Outside Lands, and value the festival for highlighting this critical local San Francisco representation in a meaningful way. The vibrancy of the cannabis community was felt over the weekend as we continue to work together to collectively change the narrative around the plant at mainstream events."

Lowell Farms Chairman, George Allen, posted on Linkedin (with video) about the long lines that the company saw. 

“We often debate how much brands matter in cannabis. At this festival, on this day, it sure looks like brands matter. So, why the mile-long line for Lowell when the others vendors look they are shilling hot chili during a heat wave? Something special. If there were any single video that could convince us begin opening Lowell retail stores, this probably would be it.”

Cann CEO, Jake Bullock:

"Grass Lands 2021 was a historic moment for the Cann brand. The weekend's success demonstrated not only how perfectly suited Cann's light, uplifting buzz is for enjoying music with friends but also how our social experiences are enhanced through the integration of responsible cannabis consumption."

Co-Founders of Embarc Events (Lauren Carpenter and Dustin Moore), the official concessionaire partner, categorize the event as a huge success. “We are honored to have partnered with the festival to execute an event of this scale and to bring folks back together after so many months apart through a shared love of this plant. We look forward to continued live events partnerships that further destigmatize cannabis with the masses,” says Lauren Carpenter.

💭 Overall, A Win for Cannabis Events. While I usually don’t go deeper on stories shared in the newsletter—this one got far less coverage than it deserved. Based on the feedback I have received from participants and attendees, I am very impressed by everyone that was a part of Grass Lands at Outside Lands and hope that Cannabis sales and consumption continue at music festivals, live music shows, etc. Basically, anywhere alcohol is currently being sold.

💻 So how did this article get chosen as the link / story to include? A few notes on how I choose the headline/link/blurb:

Top Story on Google Search:

Choose Cannabis Writers and Industry Insiders. I should note that coverage has been light (so far) on GL@OSL. There were only two stories that I could find on it and neither writer (SFGATE/Culture or SF Chronicle/Arts & Entertainment) has experience covering Cannabis stories so it was slim pickings. If the story was written by Jeremey Berke (Business Insider), Katie Shapiro (Forbes), Jackie Bryant (Freelance, most often Forbes), or any of the other Cannabis writers (or industry executives/employees) that have been covering Cannabis for years, it would have automatically been the linked story.

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