Blowing Smoke: How Weed-Unfriendly Nebraska Landed Snoop Dogg on 4/20 | local

When concert promoter Mammoth raised the possibility that Snoop Dogg could perform a concert in Lincoln on April 20, Pinnacle Bank Arena took the opportunity to showcase one of pop culture’s most prominent marijuana advocates on International Cannabis Day Celebration. .

“You’re always trying to figure out if you can do something that makes the concert even more special,” said arena manager Tom Lorenz. “Having Snoop in Lincoln on 4/20 is like having a really great Irish band on St. Patrick’s Day….We got it. A lot of places would have loved to have him.”

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How Lincoln landed Wednesday’s concert had little to do with 4/20 or whatever it represents. On the contrary, promoters and agents agreed on a different kind of greenery.

“The main thing that drives artists to a venue is the amount of the guarantee,” Lorenz said. Mammoth and Snoop’s booking agents have “found a mutual guarantee number to play on 20-4 in Lincoln, Nebraska.”

Marijuana use remains illegal in Nebraska, while recreational use is allowed in 18 states, including Colorado, Illinois and Michigan.

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The likelihood of using marijuana at Wednesday’s concert is so high that a Lincoln police spokesperson joked Tuesday that if Snoop sparks Dogg onstage, “he’ll be one of 10,000 people who do.”

But the show won’t draw every cop into Lincoln. But, perhaps coincidentally, there will be an increase in drug driving ban enforcement.

The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office and the Nebraska State Patrol have announced plans to work overtime this week in an effort to fight drug-driving enforcements linked to 4/20.

The sheriff’s office will specifically deploy additional officers between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., with overtime funding from the state’s Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office.

But based on Snoop Dogg’s Pershing Center shows and previous hip-hop concerts at the arena, Lorenz expects few, if any, problems on Wednesday.

“We’ve had Snoop (here) twice already,” he said. “It’s not like it’s something new. Those shows, and the other hip-hop shows, are among our best audiences as far as they have few problems. They don’t create problems.”

For the most part, there are few problems to be expected due to the nature of the audience that will come to see Snoop and rising country star Koe Wetzel, who will open the show.

It is expected that many in attendance grew up with Snoop’s 90s hits, the music that came to mind during the halftime show at the Super Bowl in February.

“It’s a bunch of 30 to 40, 45 year olds,” Lorenz said. “It’s kind of a nostalgia show.”

The show comes amid ongoing efforts to legalize marijuana nationally and allow the use of medical marijuana in Nebraska.

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Earlier this month, the US House of Representatives passed a bill, by a vote of 220 to 204, that would legalize marijuana nationwide, eliminating criminal penalties for anyone who produces, distributes or possesses the substance. The Senate legalization bill is expected to be introduced this summer and implemented before the end of the year.

In Nebraska, a citizen-led campaign is circulating petitions to get medical marijuana in November’s general election. In 2020, the campaign was successful, but the petitions were disqualified for violating state petition laws that limit issues to one topic.

Wednesday’s show, Lorenz said, was not slated to make any sort of political or cultural statement.

“We keep politics out of it,” Lorenz said. “Our job is to book concerts.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or kwolgamott@journalstar.com. On Twitter @KentWolgamott

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