When one thinks of music venues, they generally don’t associate them with cannabis, especially not in such a positive light. At Cannabash, a music festival set to take place in West Michigan once again this July, the stigma surrounding the consumption of both cannabis and alcohol is being brought to the forefront, especially by those who help run the festival.

“We’re just normalizing and destigmatizing cannabis consumption and alcohol consumption as an experience,” Connie Maxim-Sparrow, the co-founder of Grams & Jams Productions, the company behind Cannabash, said. “Whether you consume both or not, we just want to be able to provide everybody legally the recreational choice that they would prefer.”

The drive to normalize and destigmatize cannabis and alcohol consumption at music events has been a driving force since Cannabash first began in 2022. However, it wasn’t until last year that Connie Maxim-Sparrow realized that she wanted her own venue to host the music festival, especially when she considered the amount of money that was being spent on power, water, lighting, and other expenses. As a result, she founded Baldwin Provisions and opened Field of Greens, a cannabis dispensary located on twenty-three acres of what was formerly a gun and golf driving range. The property is already fenced in, and Maxim-Sparrow estimates it can accommodate up to 25,000 people. Maxim-Sparrow has also brought in 3-time Grammy Award winner Ludacris, a risk that she says has paid off. The rapper’s presence has attracted about 12,000 people to Cannabash.

To comply with state laws, Maxim-Sparrow, who has a marijuana event organizer license, said that a bike rack will run down the middle of the venue, where security will guard the cannabis vendors on one side, and the alcohol and food trucks on the other. To allow for the sale of cannabis and alcohol products during the five events Field of Greens intends to hold on the property, Maxim-Sparrow will obtain a temporary marijuana event license and a temporary liquor license through a nonprofit arm.

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Though alcohol and cannabis consumption has been allowed at events before, few mainstream events or venues allow the consumption of marijuana. Previous events—such as those held at the Smoke on the Water Music and Cannabis Festival in Manistee, and at Arts, Beats & Eats in Royal Oak—have allowed the consumption of marijuana, but Cannabash aims to redefine the experience for its attendees. Maxim-Sparrow doesn’t believe cannabis, nor the enjoyment of it, should be treated as an ugly happening. “I don’t think that cannabis should be shoved in a corner,” she said.

Field of Greens is set to feature five events in 2024. These include Bikes, Buds, and Brews on May 18, 2024; Grams & Jams Country Night on June 14, 2024; the aforementioned Cannabash on July 13, 2024; Bluegrass Night on August 23, 2024; and Croptoberfest on September 21, 2024.

Tickets for these concert series, as well as ticket and sponsorship opportunities, can be found at GramsandJams.com. You can also reach out to [email protected] for more information.