In the Garden of Weeden at Cypress Hill’s Smokeout
Wiz Khalifa

Photo: Marilyn Tang

Hits 1-3 – Gate 9 parking lot:

“Need any herb, dude?” A 25-year-old in a Che hat propositions me. He looks like he crawled out of a Bonnaroo bathroom.

“You guys medicate?” Queries another baked brain in a bedazzled Adidas backpack. In the distance, Wiz Khalifa is yammering about how he rolls up.

“This is the smoking section inside the greenhouse that B. Real built—with help from Sen Dog, DJ Muggs, promoters Guerilla Union, and the fertile Gods of grass. And if you build it, they will blaze.”

Welcome to the Cypress Hill Smokeout, a little slice of Amsterdam in the Inland Empire. But rather than meticulous Dutch moderation, you can get a press check-in shrouded by girls lighting up pink packs of Camels with pink lighters. Her paramour rocks an off-center gray Dodgers fitted and a shirt that says “YOLO.”

You only live once, and sometimes that life injects you into the clogged arteries of San Bernardino’s NOS Events Center, a barren expanse of baked asphalt and bad tattoos. Backpackers with “Listen to UGK” T-Shirts. Grown men with lit-up Jack Skellington hats fringed with weed leaves. Korn on dubstep.

From a loudspeaker, Big Bro drones about the rules for medical marijuana consumption at the festival.

YOU MUST ONLY SMOKE IN DESIGNATED AREAS

YOU MUST BRING IN AN ORIGINAL DOCTOR’S NOTE FOR PATIENT VERIFICATION

YOU MUST ATTEMPT TO BE CHILL AT ALL TIMES. SERIOUSLY, DAWG.

After all, Southern California is different from everywhere else on earth. We still like Sublime. But that could take hours to properly explain (or seconds). Just understand that a re-formed Sublime with only one original member (the bassist) and a guy named Rome is arguably the all-day festival’s biggest draw.  Well, that and the opportunity to smoke acres of weed in plain sight of law enforcement. All you need is a certificate signed by some lavish-living quack. Mine is stamped by the office of a woman whose website prominently features glamour shots of her bending on the roof of red sports cars. Her estate includes an indoor pool. All that’s missing is the Xeroxed diploma from Hollywood Upstairs Medical School.

I attempt to smuggle a slim canister of weed past security, because why not? With professional calm, he tells me to take my prescription to the verification center. My hall pass cuts the O.G. Mustard Kush and I’m granted ingress. But before I enter the festival, I check how much marijuana we are allowed to bring in.

“3.5 grams. We’ve had to confiscate a lot today,” says a marijuana superintendent.

“What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen?” I ask.

“A few people have brought in eight grams or so. Instead of donating it, they’re eating it right in front of us.”

Korn

Photo: Troy Avecedo

Hits 4 – 11: Walking in a Weeded Wonderland

The Garden of Weeden is so quiet that you can hear the fake birds chirp. The designated smokers area is green-tinted. The lights are green. The tables are green. The tents are green. Everything is green except the weed. Narcotic agriculture is the new cash crop. Do you how many fucking acres it takes to grow alfalfa? So all throughout Southern California, indoor growers have hybridized high quality strains colored phosphorescent purple and isotope orange. At this point, the THC levels of the regions weed roughly approaches the SAT scores you need to get into USC.

“Cypress Hill will probably be able to draw several thousand people to concerts until they actually need weed to allay the effects of their glaucoma.”

So I pack nugs of Louis XIII into a pipe and light up. It’s beyond me why growers opted to name a strain of sativa after overpriced liquor named for an underwhelming stuttering monarch. But I do know that a few hits of this stuff made finding the smoking area’s exit seem like I was trapped inside a labyrinth. This was par for the course.

All around me, everyone from thugs to hippies staggered around with their eyes sunk like bowling balls. Outside, you could hear Wiz Khalifa bellowing “Black and Yellow.” Inside, this sanctuary was so tranquil as to be voted LA County’s “Chillest Getaway” six years running (Zagat’s Certified).  Picture Alice in the Wonderland if the caterpillar was played by the dude who wrote “How Could I Just Kill a Man.” This is the smoking section inside the greenhouse that B. Real built—with help from Sen Dog., DJ Muggs, promoters Guerilla Union, and the fertile Gods of grass. And if you build it, they will blaze. Examine the guy with 8 Ball-sized holes in his ears queuing up at the vaporizer station. Or the jangled burners with piercings in their noses and blunts in their lips. At a Weedheads.Com t-shirt booth, two bros give the world’s softest sell—hands behind their heads, reclining in their chairs, wholly un-invested in commerce. Above them, a sign reads “Potheads: We Are What We Wear.” Then I pass by a guy in a Dwight Schrute shirt.

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