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Concerts & Cannabis: 5 Tips to Avoid Getting Bounced

By Jon Young

Concerts & Cannabis: 5 Tips to Avoid Getting Bounced

Bouncers have been the barrier to you and good times since that episode in your early youth when they took your fake ID and threw you out of the drinking section of a Modest Mouse concert, but that doesn't mean they are the bad guy. They're just doing their job, hoping the second band has an early encore so they can get home, relax and ease away their frustrations, just like you. In the meantime, they're paid to stop you from smoking up their venue. Having spent the better part of two years as concert security, I know the tricks to enjoying cannabis at a concert. The following are five things concert security doesn't want you to know.

1. How to Sneak in Cannabis

Several factors will determine if you'll be able to sneak in cannabis, most of it depending on how strict the venues policies are, but there are ways to bypass even the most rigorous of interpersonal pat-downs. Start by casing the place. Is it busy? Are there a lot of bouncers? Are they doing pat-downs? If people are just getting their tickets scanned and walking right in, you're golden. If not, it's all about timing. There's no line and the bouncers look bored? Not the best time. The line is wrapped around the corner and the main act is about to go on? Go with the flow, my friend. In the rush, pat-downs can become a formality. Show no fear, and you could probably walk in with a bong in your pocket.

If security is tight and the pat-downs are getting personal, it's time to get creative. There are many ways to smuggle contraband through security, but these are a couple effective methods. One is to roll your joint with cigarette-sized filters and put in your cigarette pack, filters up. They'll look identical and we won't waste our time pulling out every cigarette to make certain. The other method is to hide it somewhere on your person. Inside a hard case in the bottom of your shoe or in a small bag taped with a Band-Aid to a no-touch zone (groin for men, chest for women) can be effective. If you have it somewhere else, somewhere only TSA would go, then go on champ, you’ve earned it.   

2. Where to Smoke

Once you're in, don't waste your effort by smoking in a place that's going to get you caught. There are a couple rules of thumb bouncers go by when it's a busy night. First, if the venue is packed, we only go after what's within arms reach of the barricade. So get to the middle and stay there. Sardined between the sweaty masses is not somewhere a bouncer wants to be. Second, if smoking reaches critical mass and there is no longer any way to contain it, they’re going to let it go unless you smoke in their face. Bouncing is about maintaining control. Once it's lost, there's no getting it back, at which point it becomes prioritized damage control, and smoking a joint is at the bottom of the list. Smoking in the stall of a bathroom is not ideal, however, as the smell is easily traced, and bouncers don’t generally have their own bathroom. They will be coming through often, leaving you nowhere to run. And finally, if the venue has a re-entry policy, smoke outside during the set-break. Simple, effective.

3. When to Light Up

Now that you're in the middle of the crowd swapping sweat, don't draw attention by lighting up in the darkness between songs. Fire, believe it or not, is bright, a beacon, and bouncers get a great look at your shining face when your lighter is sparking up that joint you smuggled in. They may not want to swim through a sea of people to get you, but if they see you later, they might have some questions for you. The best time to light up is when the strobes are full-force and the stage lights are blinding. Do it standing, avoiding the jack-in-the-box maneuver, and keep the lit ember low and out of sight. (If you’re looking for a fail-safe time to smoke, light up near the end of the concert. By then, most bouncers don’t care because a warning is meaningless as the concert will soon be over.)

4. Have a Decoy

If all else fails and you get that little tap on the shoulder, have a decoy. A decoy is any half-lit joint or tiny throwaway piece you don't mind losing. They will take it, give you a warning, and leave you alone, while your five-inch blunt is safe and sound. But don't let that make you overly bold because they’ll be watching you, and the next time they catch you, you're gone.

5. Use a Vaporizer Pen

Vape pens may be a smoker's best friend. With some venues allowing e-cigs and others just giving warnings, the easiest way to get away with smoking cannabis at a concert is the vape. From afar, it looks like an e-cig, and at most we'll tell you to put it away.

Bonus Tips:

  • Wear ambiguous clothing, hats and beanies are easily pointed out.
  • If you’re caught, be cooperative. By being polite, most of the time the bouncer will go easy on you.
  • Face the same direction as the crowd. Bouncers spot the anomaly, and if you are the only one facing backward, you’re probably up to something.
  • Block the lit ember with your off-hand to avoid being seen.

With that being said, there’s a huge variety of venues and bouncers. Some are chill, some are assholes, just like the rest of humanity, so not everything will work in every situation. Be aware, be courteous and enjoy the show—with or without cannabis.

Image credit: Wikipedia.

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