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The Cannabis Events You Should Know About

Updated August 21, 2022

With the spread in the legalization of cannabis, it makes perfect sense that more cannabis events are taking place than ever before. Some of these events are designed for those who own or work in marijuana-related businesses, others are for cannabis enthusiasts, others are for potential investors, and the list goes on.

No matter the aspect of the cannabis industry that interests you, there are sure to be at least several events, conferences, and conventions that will appeal to you. Here are some of the top cannabis events that you should definitely know about.

Boston Freedom Rally – Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Freedom Rally has been in existence since 1989, taking over the large city for a single September day. Following Hempfest in Seattle, Boston Freedom Rally is considered the country’s second-largest rally for cannabis reform. The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition hosts it, and they are a branch of the larger National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Due to Boston laws, the Boston Freedom Rally is technically a non-consumption event. Despite this, it is very common for attendees to enjoy some cannabis during the festivities. You will find plenty of entertainment as well as cannabis-related vendors and more. The event also has an Education Village which shows historical pictures and provides information on the ways cannabis can help the planet and the history of cannabis, prohibition, and hemp. That area features speakers, panels, and vendors.

There is also a 21+ area for owners of cannabis-related businesses. Attendees that are at least 21 years old can also explore this area.

This event is free to attend, encouraging a sense of community. The event is always the third weekend of September and the 2019 event marked the 30th event.

Cannabis Conference – Las Vegas, Nevada

The Cannabis Conference takes place in Las Vegas and it prides itself on being a leader in dispensary education and cultivation.

It is ideal for businesses in the industry who want to gain insight into retail management, customer engagement, business and cultivation operations, and selling and cultivating hemp along with hemp-derived products. The conference also features the latest technology and innovations. There are also various industry exhibitors.

The 2020 event will be in April in Las Vegas.

Cannabis Cup From High Times – California and Michigan

The High Times Cannabis Cup is potentially the best-known cannabis-related event, as it was one of the first. The main event is the Cup itself, which is a cannabis competition. The event also features musical performances, advocacy, and vendors.

The Cannabis Cup began in 1988 in Amsterdam. It continued to be hosted there for 28 years before recently moving stateside. It has already had events in San Bernardino, San Francisco, and Santa Rosa in California and in Clio, Michigan.

The current version of the Cannabis Cup is even larger than its predecessors with big-name musical headliners, such as Ice Cube’s performance in 2019. It also has an experience it refers to as the “fifth dimension” and is definitely a consumption-friendly event. The most recent Cannabis Cup was in mid-December in Nevada and more are planned for the future.

CannaBiz Expo – California

The CannaBiz Expo prides itself on being California’s largest cannabis business event. It features thousands of cannabis businesses geared toward recreational users. The California Weed Blog hosts with some assistance from the National Cannabis Industry Association and other groups.

This is a business-to-business expo that gives cannabis companies, both new and older, the opportunity to network and connect with other businesses. There are thousands of businesses, dispensaries, legal experts, and investors at each annual event. There are panels and speakers on a range of topics, such as law, distribution, investment, tech, testing, insurance, and more.

The next CannaBiz Expo will be in Sacramento, California, in May 2020. Pre-registration is already open.

CannaCon – Tacoma, Detroit, and Chicago

CannaCon has several events throughout the year and is aimed at cannabis businesses. This is a business-to-business cannabis event, so you will not find many consumers there.

CannaCon Tacoma is the flagship event and is now entering its seventh year. There will be thousands of attendees along with hundreds of exhibitors in attendance. The conference aims to bring together the greatest minds in the industry, including investors, entrepreneurs, and more to discuss industry developments and share ideas and products.

Panels cover a range of topics, such as HR in cannabis businesses, interstate commerce, the basics of running a cannabis business, and the future of marketing technology for cannabis.

The CannaCon events are regional, with the Northwest one in Tacoma in January 2020 as the flagship. There will also be CannaCon Midwest events in Detroit in April and Chicago in July, both in 2020. Another 2020 CannaCon Northwest is also planned, with details to be announced.

Cultivation Classic – Portland, Oregon

One of the events designed for industry leaders along with consumers that are highly cannabis literate, the Cultivation Classic is an annual event in Portland. It is a conference with education and business-to-business opportunities along with an awards ceremony.

The conferences are heavy on science and education, with past speakers including Jeremy Plumb from Pruf Cultivar; Guy Rocourt from Papa & Barkley; Adie Rae, Ph.D. from Smart Cannabis, and Ethan Russo, Ph.D. from the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute.

The awards ceremony at the end of the event honors the best craft hemp and cannabis in Oregon. The next event will be in late May in Portland. You can also get VIP tickets that include tours of cannabis-related labs, coffee and chats with key speakers, and more.

CannaGrow – Chicago

The CannaGrow Expo will be in its 10th year in April 2020. The expo is intended to appeal to anyone with an interest in growing cannabis.

Cannabis growers, extractors, grow managers, and even grow enthusiasts are welcome, as long as they are over 18 years old. At the expo, attendees can explore the latest techniques, tools, and technology in cannabis cultivation.

There are more than 25 educational sessions focused on cultivation over two days. There are also “endless” networking opportunities available. The vendor expo hall has more than 115 vendors showing off products, tools, and technology related to extracting and growing cannabis.

The event is open to those from around the world who are over 18 years old. Since it is a business-to-business event, there is no consumption.

Dope Cup – California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington

The first Dope Cup was held in Seattle in 2015 and it also had an event in Adelanto, California in 2018. Other Dope Cups have been in other nearby states.

There is a cannabis competition, hence the name Dope Cup, but there are also vendors, opportunities to enjoy using cannabis, and music performances. Most of the attendees at this particular event are those who consume cannabis.

Emerald Cup – Santa Rosa, California

The Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa is among the most important and popular competitions involving cannabis. It is the industry favorite in terms of cups, with some people calling it the “Oscars of Pot.” This is also the world’s “longest-running sungrown contest, celebration, and farmers market,” according to the Emerald Cup’s website.

The Emerald Cup always takes place at Northern California’s Sonoma County Fairgrounds. It has a strong focus on outdoor growing and honors the growers that are the hardest-working and cleanest. The event is highly respected, so winning it is a strong honor that nearly everyone in the industry will pay attention to. There are various categories and the experts make a judgment.

Importantly, all cannabis that is grown for this event is grown outdoors. When you attend the Emerald Cup, you can buy cannabis right from your favorite cultivators. There are plenty of opportunities to listen to music with a long list of bands. There are also numerous sessions and panels on nearly every topic related to marijuana, such as vaping, regenerative agriculture and technology, federal legalization, advocacy, yoga, and more.

The Emerald Cup is strongly poised for future expansion as it recently partnered with Starr Hill Presents and Red Light Management. Tim Blake, who is the founder and producer, has previously indicated that he wants the Emerald Cup to become on the scale of Lollapalooza.

Hash Bash – Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Hash Bash in Ann Arbor has a long history, as the first event was in 1971. It should be no surprise that this festival grew in size significantly in 2018 when the state legalized recreational cannabis.

The Hash Bash is easy to find as it is always on the Diag, which is the central square, of the University of Michigan campus. It always starts at noon on April’s first Saturday. Given the location, there are usually plenty of college students in attendance, but cannabis aficionados of all ages are welcome. There have also been famous attendees, including John Sinclair and Tommy Chong.

This event also features the Hash Bash Cup, which was in its third year for 2019. Keep in mind that while you do not need tickets to attend the Hash Bash, you do have to attend the Hash Bash Cup. You can already purchase tickets for the 2020 Hash Bash Cup, which will be from Friday, April 3 at 3 p.m. to Sunday, April 5 at 8 p.m.

Hempfest – Seattle, Washington

Hempfest refers to itself as the “undisputed King of Protestivals” and takes place in Seattle. Every year sees around 100,000 attendees, a figure which lets the festival proclaim itself to be the biggest gathering for hemp and cannabis reform in the country.

The feeling at Hempfest has always been a combination of protest and festival. Historically, the event focused on free cannabis consumption and free speech. In the late 90s, some of the annual events resulted in citations as well as arrests.

Now, Hempfest is a massive festival and concert featuring five stages. Attendees can expect artists, food, grass-roots hemp and vendor booths, and more. The event also has an educational component, even listing various educational resources regarding cannabis and hemp on its website.

The next Hempfest will be in August 2020. This will be the 29th event.

HempFest Canada – Various Canadian Cities

HempFest has multiple dates throughout the year, with different sizes of events featuring a range of focuses. Past locations have included Winnipeg, Halifax, Edmonton, Hamilton, Calgary, and Saskatchewan.

This is an event designed to appeal to cannabis businesses, giving them the opportunity to show off their products and make networking connections. You will typically find vaporizers, strains, and more.

So far, planned events in 2020 include a Growing Summit in late March and early April, the C45 Summit in May, the Edmonton MMXP in May, Hempfest CUP in September, Calgary in September, and Saskatoon to be announced.

As an example, the Hempfest CUP lets people submit their own cannabis for professional testing to ensure quality and safety. The C45 Quality Summit aims to set standards for Canadian cannabis by bringing together industry leaders.

International Cannabis Business Conference – San Francisco, Berlin, Bern, Barcelona, and Vancouver

As the name implies, the International Cannabis Business Conference is a conference for those in the cannabis industry, offering a range of networking opportunities. The events tend to bring in international audiences with attendees including policymakers and entrepreneurs from more than 60 countries.

The upcoming events in 2020 include in San Francisco in February, in Barcelona in March, in Berlin in April, in Bern in May, and in Vancouver in September.

Mile High 4/20 Festival – Denver, Colorado

The Mile High 4/20 Festival takes place in Denver, Colorado and always occurs regardless of the weather conditions. It always takes place on 4/20 at 4:20 p.m. at the Civic Center Park. Denver remains the unofficial area for recreational cannabis consumption, as Colorado was the first to legalize it in 2014.

When it first began, the festival was a protest designed to encourage lawmakers to legalize cannabis. At the time, hundreds of people would gather annually to participate in the illegal consumption of cannabis.

Now, with the legalization in the state, it has turned into a huge concert that attracts big names. Past headliners include hip-hop greats, such as Lil’ Jon and Lil Wayne.

This event is free to attend and technically open to all. However, it is an adult-oriented celebration, so the organizers strongly encourage only attendees over 18 years old.

MJBizCon – Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; New Orleans, Louisiana; Copenhagen, Denmark

MJBizCon is among the largest cannabis events geared toward professionals in the industry. It offers networking, business-to-business opportunities, conferences, education, and vendors.

This is the world’s largest trade show for cannabis business-to-business. The biggest event is always in Las Vegas with smaller versions in some other cities around the world.

You can expect to see big-name speakers, including for the keynote. Past speakers have included Bruce Linton from Canopy Growth Corporation, Gene Simmons, and Kevin O’Leary from “Shark Tank.” The event usually pulls in more than 35,000 attendees and the programming spans every sector.

National Cannabis Festival – Washington, D.C.

The National Cannabis Festival always takes place in Washington, D.C. on the weekend that is closest to 4/20. This is an all-encompassing cannabis event with something for everyone.

There are major musical acts, with 2019 performers including Ludacris as well as Action Bronson. You can also explore the vast exhibitor’s fair, where you are sure to find items to buy. The event also features a Cannabis Policy Forum that provides education to attendees via the panels that feature industry experts.

Just keep in mind that Washington, D.C. does not yet have official legalization for public cannabis consumption, so this event is marketed as a non-consumption one. However, you will likely still see plenty of people enjoying cannabis while there.

Oregon Hemp Convention

The Oregon Hemp Convention had its sixth annual event in 2019, featuring products, education, and networking. This is more of a trade conference than a cannabis event geared toward consumers.

The 2019 event included more hemp cultivators and CBD businesses than in previous years, along with 80 growers. The goal of the Oregon Hemp Convention is to connect as well as educate the decision-makers within the industry. It also features a unique product auction.

The seventh annual Oregon Hemp Convention will be in June 2020 in Portland and registration is already open. The organizers, who also curate, expect more than 5,000 attendees, including the industry’s biggest names.

Sensi Night – Massachusetts, California, Colorado, and Nevada

Sensi Night began small but has since spread across the country with multiple events including in the Royale in Boston, the Eclipse Theater in Las Vegas, and events in Los Angeles and Denver.

The idea behind Sensi Night is celebrating the current industry. Each event has its own selection of local companies to show off the local market. The events also have DJ lineups for plenty of fun.

The Sensi Night events are still non-consumption events, due to the laws that are in place regarding consuming marijuana. Most of the attendees, however, are consumers. Sensi Nights is usually free to attend but does require registration.

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