Orchestra embraces pot fans who love classical music

Perhaps the marijuana debate in Minnesota should’ve been framed as a way to help struggling orchestras, too.

In Colorado, Slate reports today, the Colorado Symphony, staged a “Classically Cannabis” concert, a bring-your-own pot event.

Here’s something you don’t usually read when buying tickets to the symphony.

The purchaser, holder and/or user of this reservation acknowledges that this event is being held on private property and, only individuals with paid reservations may enter.

Participant understands that attendees may use marijuana at this event, as is their right under Colorado law. Cannabis will not be sold at the event, however, and the price of the reservation is entirely unrelated to whether one chooses to use cannabis or not. Those who choose to use cannabis assume any and all risk associated with such use.

Information about the health effects of marijuana are available on the State of Colorado website here. Participants are advised that it remains illegal under Colorado law to drive while under the influence of marijuana.

Participant hereby agrees to release, hold harmless, and indemnify the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and their owners, partners, employees, directors, officers, agents, affiliates and related entities from any and all claims by or on behalf of Participant arising directly or indirectly out of Participant’s use of THC and premises.

Slate says Denver and Colorado officials tried to kill the concerts by noting it’s illegal to smoke pot in public. So the orchestra made the event an invitation-only affair.

Marijuana business stakeholders likewise seemed eager to collaborate. While their industry might be flush with cash, it’s lacking the one thing the symphony could provide: cultural cachet.

“What’s great about the event for both the marijuana industry and the symphony is they both suffer from a similar stigma: ‘This is not for me,’ ” said Shawn Coleman, a former principal clarinetist of the Wyoming Symphony who now works as a marijuana lobbyist, as he made his way about the Classically Cannabis event with a glass of punch in his hand and a stylish straw hat perched on his head.

These concerts, however, are about more than just shattering stereotypes about marijuana smokers and symphony goers. Thanks to city lawyers getting involved, the performances are also forcing people to confront a major lingering question about the legal pot industry: Since public pot consumption is still prohibited, how can you hold marijuana-related events?

“It’s obviously a huge issue in this state, since we are now telling people from around the world that you can come here and buy cannabis here, but there is nowhere they can smoke it legally,” said marijuana businessman and consultant Kayvan Khalatbari, who produces a invite-only marijuana-friendly Denver stand-up show called Sexpot Comedy.

“The discussion about marijuana and public events had to be had at some point, and I would rather have this discussion over an insanely talented group like the symphony rather than a Snoop Dog or Wiz Khalifa concert.”

In Minnesota, meanwhile, Gov. Dayton today signed the medical marijuana bill, which should have absolutely no effect on classical music in the state.

  • Joe

    But I thought Orchestras were supposed to be organized, concerted efforts… no place for cannabis consumption! It’s as if seventy years of falsehoods and propaganda about cannabis can only lead my brain to juvenile jokes to deflect from the actual issue.

  • Guest

    It’s been done before.

    • Joe

      They had a religious exemption.

  • Dave

    I went to a Steely Dan concert with my dad a long time ago. Ganja smoke wafted thru the air. I told him, “I never thought of them as a big stoner band.” He said, “Well, people will get high and listen to classical music.”

  • KTN

    What a brilliant marketing campaign. As we all know, orchestra’s around the country are struggling to attract young patrons. Just go to our own OH on a Friday night, and see all the blue hair. Getting younger people into classical music has proven more and more difficult, but this, this is just what will bring a new generation to the music, and that my friends has only good attached to it.