Red Stick Cannabis Street Fair returns to downtown Baton Rouge for its second year

Jessica Potts was in the worst pain of her life when she first tried medical marijuana. She was diagnosed at 21 with multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. For 10 years after her diagnosis, she had accumulated drawers and cabinets full of prescriptions including fentanyl, morphine, Percocet and steroids. The harsh drugs had harmful side effects leading to her having two hip replacements and depression. No traditional medical solution worked. 

Just when she had given up hope, her mother recommended she see a doctor in California who suggested Potts try medical marijuana to treat her symptoms. “Before, it was something I would have never considered,” says Potts, now 41. “I took a 10-milligram gummy that took away the pain for the first time in four years. Not the fentanyl, the morphine, the six to eight Percocets. It changed my life at that moment.” 

This Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Potts is organizing her second Red Stick Cannabis Street Fair in downtown Baton Rouge. Inside Galvez Plaza, the festival will be jam-packed with 30 local business vendors, food and drinks, live music, yoga sessions, local politicians, legal professionals and cannabis industry experts. There will also be nine educational sessions held on the fourth floor of the River Center Branch Library.

Vendors will include Cypress Hemp, Capitol Wellness Solutions, Five Leaf Laboratories, vintage clothing businesses, candle and jewelry makers and a master loctician. 

Local artists like rapper Max Minelli, hip-hop musician Dylan Cage, genre-bending band Universal Language, hip-hop artist Quikkdraw and reggae band Ambush will be performing. DJ Bootsie will set the vibes, and comedian AO will host the festival. 

Potts expects more than 500 attendees at the event, which aims to make huge strides for the cannabis community and beyond. Attendees with a qualifying medical condition will be able to get a medical marijuana card recommendation on-site for $50 from Transformative Health Center. Southern University Law will be sponsoring 10 free expungements for cannabis and non-cannabis-related felonies and misdemeanors.

Today, Potts is a cannabis consultant, lobbyist, policy maker and advocate. The Columbia, Louisiana, native has spent decades making it her mission to educate people on how to heal themselves with cannabis.

“I know how it feels to feel lost and wake up every day and feel bad,” Potts says. “It’s such a dark place. I want to shine a light here and say ‘Try this.’”

Through the festival and her community work, she hopes to destigmatize cannabis use and advocate for cannabis legalization and decriminalization. 

“Once you get a healthy and informed person, you also get a great citizen,” she says. “Once a person feels better mentally and physically, they are more likely to help others and be involved with the community.” 

General admission tickets are $20. VIP tickets are $42.20 and include a drink ticket, access to the VIP tent with catered food and beverages, seating with fans and a swag bag. Learn more about the festival and street fair on its website, and grab tickets on Eventbrite.