cannabis events in california

The 12 Cannabis Events You Need To Know About

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.

In 2019, Adelanto Mayor Gabriel Reyes passionately kicked off the event, which featured a wild performance from Waka Flocka Flame .

Ticket info: Reservations required for guests 21 and older, general admission is free.

Hash Bash

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 Sinclai r.

Ticket info: The Hash Bash is free; tickets are required for Hash Bash Cup

National Cannabis Festival

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 .

Cultivation Classic

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 highlight the best craft cannabis and hemp across the state.

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

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.

Sensi Night

Where: California, Colorado, Nevada , Massachusetts

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.


Where: Seattle

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.

Boston Freedom Rally

Where : Boston

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


Where: Las Vegas ; New Orleans ;, Toronto ; Copenhagen, Denmark

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)

The most notable cannabis events in the U.S., including the cannabis competitions, 420-friendly meetups, advocate mobilization, trade-focused and consumer..


Posted by Alexa Steinberg, Esq. | Jan 20, 2019 | 1 Comment

It’s the beginning of the year and that means planning for springtime festivals – Coachella, High Times, County fairs, Cannabis Cup, and StageCoach – to name a few. However, this year may bring a different flair to California events – Cannabis. As cannabis events are tapping into the Golden State’s love of outdoor festivals, event licenses are becoming increasingly more popular. Now that California has adopted its final regulations, we can start planning! Let’s take a look at what cannabis events have in store.

When You Would Need An Event License

In short, every cannabis event must be licensed if it is a public event. If you are hosting an event that is open to the public, you are selling tickets to the public and/or there are vendors showcasing and selling product, this is a public event and a cannabis event license is needed. The one exception to the license requirement is private events.

The Double License Process

California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (“BCC”) regulates and licenses cannabis events. Unlike any other licensing application, cannabis event organizer applicants must FIRST apply for an annual cannabis event organizer license and thereafter they must apply for a temporary cannabis event license for each individual event.

Annual license fees vary based on the number of events organized by the licensee per year – $3,000 for an organizer planning 1-5 events per year, $5,000 for 6-10 events, 11-20 events is $9,000 and any more than that is $20k for the year.

The Temporary Event Application

Every event organizer must have an annual cannabis event license in order to throw cannabis parties, conventions, and fairs. For each individual event, a secondary application must then be filed with the BCC for a temporary permit. Temporary applications have to be filed at least 60 days before each event and an event license will only be granted for an event that is 4 days or less. Temporary event applications must include a diagram of the layout of the event showing the sales and consumption areas, and a list of all licensees providing on-site sales at the event.

Now that you know how it works, here are some details you want to keep in mind when planning a licensed cannabis event.


Cannabis events must be held at a county fair or district agricultural association event unless the city approves an alternative location. Before you get too excited about having a beer and a blunt, it’s important to know that a temporary cannabis event license CANNOT be issued for premises that are licensed for the sale of alcohol or tobacco.

Local Authorization

A cannabis event license is just like any other cannabis license – written approval from the local jurisdiction authorizing on-site cannabis sales and consumption is required for each temporary event application.

Cannabis Sales

Cannabis may be sold at a cannabis event. Every temporary event license must submit a premise diagram designating a specific retail area and naming all cannabis vendors that are going to set up shop there. CAUTION: An event license DOES NOT give the event organizer the ability to sell cannabis themselves. Only a licensed retailer or microbusiness can sell cannabis at an event. BUT – if an event organizer applies for a retail license as a storefront/delivery in addition to their event license, then they can sell cannabis at their own event. Otherwise, sales of cannabis at events are strictly limited to third-party licensed retailers.

Cannabis Consumption

Cannabis may be consumed at a cannabis event, however, if the event is not 21 and over, there must be a specific consumption area that is restricted to 21 and older. This area cannot be visible from any public place or non-age-restricted area.

21 and Over

All cannabis goods sold and or consumed at the event must be limited to persons 21 years and older.


The sale of alcohol or tobacco is not allowed on the cannabis event premises.

Free Cannabis and Giveaways

Events have to follow the same rules that retailers do when it comes to free goodies. That is – events can only give out free cannabis to medical patients or caregivers who have a medical cannabis ID card issued by the Health Dept. Sorry guys – California said no to free dab stations and sampling.

Other Cannabis Activities

An event license does not allow the holder to cultivate, distribute, manufacture, or sell cannabis or cannabis products unless the holder of the license also holds a separate license to engage in those commercial cannabis activities.

Events can be tricky, always consult with a cannabis attorney to make sure your event is legal. Let the planning begin!

Disclaimer: This article has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice.

Legally-Blunt Posted by Alexa Steinberg, Esq. | Jan 20, 2019 | 1 Comment It’s the beginning of the year and that means planning for springtime festivals – Coachella, High Times, County fairs,