With the spread of marijuana legalization and weed entering the mainstream in a major way, the country is blooming with more amazing cannabis-friendly events to attend than ever before. It’s like weed is constantly messaging you “Wyd?”
But with such a plethora of cannabis events popping up and the major cases of FOMO one endures with each social media post, figuring out which events are worth attending and which are worth skipping can get confusing really quick.
So, we made a list for anyone looking for an introduction into the world of weed events.
This list contains the most notable cannabis events that take place year-round, including the cannabis competitions, 420-friendly meetups, advocate mobilization, trade-focused and consumer-centric alike. Mark your calendar, here is every cannabis event in the United States that you need to know about.
The Dope Cup
Features: Cannabis competition, vendors, music performance, 420-friendly
Why it makes the list: Hardcore stoners will feel right at home. The Dope Cup’s location ranges from Seattle, where it began in 2015, to its first California event in Adelanto in 2018. This cannabis consumption-friendly cup feels is always a smoke-cloud-and-music-filled party. The Dope Cup draws tons of vendors from glass blowers to ancillary companies, cannabis brands, and more. Its attendees will be consumer-heavy.
Ticket info: Reservations required for guests 21 and older, general admission is free.
Where: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Features: Advocacy, cannabis competition, vendors, music performance, 420-friendly, awards ceremony
Why it makes the list: The Hash Bash has had a rollercoaster of a history since its inception in 1971, and has grown significantly following Michigan‘s legalization of adult-use cannabis in 2018. The bash is held on the first Saturday of April each year beginning at high noon on the central square, dubbed the Diag, on the University of Michigan campus. Hash Bash still has the feel of an old-school, end of prohibition rally. It consists of college kids, cannabis aficionados, and weed icons such as Tommy Chong and John Sinclair.
National Cannabis Festival
Mary “MK” Kelly, left, and Jarrett Nassau, right, get married at the 2019 National Cannabis Festival in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Bill Barlow)
Where: Washington, D.C.
Features: Cannabis conference, vendors, music performance, advocacy, education
Why it makes the list: The National Cannabis Festival has grown to be one of the more popular 4/20 happenings in the United States. The festival takes place in Washington, D.C., on the weekend before, during, or after 4/20 (depends on when 4/20 lands), and includes both musical acts (2019 headliners were Ludacris and Action Bronson) as well as an impressive, innovative exhibitor’s fair. Its Cannabis Policy Forum educates attendees with panels packed with industry experts in the cannabis space. D.C.’s marijuana law has not yet figured out public cannabis consumption, so unfortunately, it feels 4/20-friendly but is legally considered a non-consumption event.
Ticket info: Available for purchase for ages 21 and older with a valid government ID. Reservations are available for the 2020 festival.
Where: Portland, Oregon
Features: Conference, awards ceremony, education, business-to-business
Why it makes the list: The Cultivation Classic is an event for industry leaders and highly cannabis-literate consumers that takes place throughout Portland, Oregon. The educational conference stands out with its intense science focus, showcasing speakers Adie Rae (formerly Wilson-Poe), Ph.D., of Smart Cannabis (one of the event’s organizers); Ethan Russo, Ph.D., of the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute; Guy Rocourt of Papa & Barkely; Jeremy Plumb of Pruf Cultivar, and more. It all culminates with an awards ceremony to determine who best grew the same strain.
Ticket info: General admission and VIP tickets are available for attendees 21 and older.
High Times Cannabis Cup
Features: 4/20-friendly, cannabis competition, musical performance, vendors, advocacy, awards ceremony
Why it makes the list: The Cannabis Cup is an OG in the world of weed events. Respect where respect’s due. Founded in 1988, the Cannabis Cup was hosted in Amsterdam for 28 years but has migrated stateside from the Netherlands with a slew of events in the U.S.
The Cannabis Cup’s modern iteration boasts a mysterious “fifth dimension” experience and massive musical headliners, including Ice Cube in 2019. It is historically a cannabis consumption-friendly event, so expect to see a diverse stoner crowd. In California, attendees are able to carry up to 1 ounce, or 28.35 grams, into the venue. The Cannabis Cup stands out among other competitions since it has the longest history, as its winners list shows.
Ticket info: Cannabis Cup tickets are available to attendees 21 and older.
Mile High 4/20 Festival
Rain mixes with smoke at the Mile High 4/20 Festival on April 20, 2018, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Lindsey Barlett/Weedmaps)
Where: Denver, Colorado
Features: Musical performance, vendors, advocacy, 420 friendly
Why it makes the list: Snow, rain, or shine, the Mile High 4/20 Festival goes on. Denver’s still the unofficial home of adult-use cannabis since beating other states to legalization in 2014. It’s an electric place to be when the “ball drops” at 4:20 p.m. at Civic Center Park. While in years past, this festival began as a protest to end prohibition where hundreds gathered for an illegal smokeout, it has evolved into a massive concert. Euflora has hosted the festival for the past two years and headliners included Lil Wayne, Lil’ Jon, and more hip-hop greats. The crowd is for consumers and cannabis lovers of any age, nationality, and creed.
Ticket info: The event is free and open to all ages but organizers strongly recommend attendees be at least 18 years old due to the “adult nature of the celebration.”
Oregon Hemp Convention
Where: Portland, Oregon
Features: Product auction, cannabis conference, vendors, educational, business-to-business, networking
Why it makes the list: 2019 is the Oregon Hemp Convention’s sixth year running, and it will feature more cannabidiol (CBD) businesses and hemp cultivators than ever before. With 80 growers promised, the Oregon Hemp Convention aims to educate and connect decision makers within the industry. The event is unique because of its product auction. Don’t expect to see consumers; instead, it’s a business-focused crowd there to propel the hemp industry forward.
Ticket info: This event is a trade conference.
Caption: Sensi Night at Temple in Denver, Colorado, on April 19, 2018. (Photo by Lindsey Barlett/Weedmaps)
Features: Vendors, musical performance, education, networking
Why it makes the list: The folks at Sensi Magazine know how to throw a party. The famed Sensi Nights has popped off across the U.S. — from Las Vegas Eclipse Theatre, Boston’s Royale, not to mention Denver and Los Angeles — and exists to celebrate the industry in the moment. A substantial lineup of local companies on the floor will look different and specific to each market. Sensi Nights also offers exciting DJ lineups. The crowd is full of consumers and the vibe is vibrant, but, until consumption laws change, these are non-consumption events.
Ticket Info: These events are free with registration.
Features: Vendors, cannabis conference, musical performance, advocacy, education
Why it makes the list: There is no better time to visit Seattle than late summer, thanks to Hempfest, the self-proclaimed “undisputed King of Protestivals.” This festival is entering its 28th year in Seattle, and proclaims itself the largest gathering on cannabis and hemp reform in the U.S. with about 100,000 attendees each year.
Hempfest has always had a protest feel. It is historically centered on free speech and cannabis consumption long before cannabis legalization, even ending in citations and arrests in the late ’90s. Today, it has evolved into a massive concert and festival with 5 stages looking over the Emerald City’s waterfront. Expect tons of artists, grass-roots hemp and ancillary vendor booths, food, and good vibes.
Ticket Info: Free
Boston Freedom Rally
Features: Advocacy, musical performance, vendors
Why it makes the list: Since 1989, the Boston Freedom Rally has taken over the city for one day in September. Hosted by the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann) branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijiuana Laws (NORML), the Freedom Rally is the second-largest cannabis reform rally in the U.S. (after Seattle’s Hempfest). While it’s technically not a 420-friendly event (it’s illegal to smoke in public parks in Boston), attendees have a history of lighting up.
Why else do we love the Freedom Rally? There’s currently a call out for artists to design the poster for the rally’s 30th year with a prize for the winner.
Ticket Info: The event is free
Attendees line up to get MJBizCon badges at the Las Vegas Convention Center on November 13, 2018. (Photo by Lindsey Bartlett)
Features: Conference, vendors, education, business-to-business, networking
Why it makes the list: The largest cannabis business-to-business trade show in the world, MJBizCon happens in Las Vegas (an additional, smaller conference recurs in other major cities) and deserves a spot on this list. The 2018 conference garnered more than 27,000 attendees. Its strictly professional speaker sessions and keynotes have seen the likes of Kevin O’Leary of “Shark Tank” fame, Gene Simmons, Bruce Linton of Canopy Growth Corp., and more. The company also hosts conferences in New Orleans, Toronto and most recently, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Ticket info: Tickets can be purchased ahead of the conference at a discounted rate for people ages 18 and older.
The Emerald Cup
Where: Santa Rosa, California
Features: Cannabis competition, cannabis sales, musical performance, vendors, 420-friendly
Why it makes the list: Dubbed the “Oscars of Pot,” the Emerald Cup is considered the industry favorite cup of the year. Held in the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Northern California, the Emerald Cup focuses on outdoor-grown practices and highlights the cleanest, hardest-working growers in the cultivation game. It’s a highly respected event in the eyes of industry heavyweights and old-school growers alike.
True to its Northern California roots, all of the cannabis grown for the Emerald Cup is cultivated outdoors. Attendees can also buy cannabis directly from cultivators. Each of the Emerald Cup’s winners is chosen by experts in the given category (these are the 2018 winners). The Emerald Cup has its sights set on expansion with the recent partnerships with Red Light Management and Starr Hill Presents. Founder and producer Tim Blake told Weedmaps News that he hopes the cup will become a “modern Lollapalooza.”
Ticket info: Tickets can be purchased by attendees 21 and older on its website.
Feature image: Hempfest 2018 (Photo by Rocky Grimes/Hempfest)