With major strides having been made across the globe towards the decriminalization and legalization of cannabis, an increasing number of conferences, conventions, expositions, trade shows, and festivals have sprung up, providing industry experts, scientists, recreational users, therapeutic supporters, and would-be ‘cannapreneurs’ with a wealth of networking and educational opportunities.
These events are of great importance to the industry in terms of the dissemination of information, combating harmful stereotypes, dispelling myths, promoting use, and showcasing new innovations in both products and technology. This is all while both federal and local governments around the globe continue to contend with the complexities of regulating the burgeoning cannabis market.
Types of Cannabis Events
While there are differences between a conference, convention, expo, trade show, and festival – event organizers will usually blur the lines between them. They may also refer to an event as one type when in fact it is of another type entirely.
This overview will demystify the various types of cannabis events so that you can choose the appropriate type for your particular needs.
Cannabis conferences are organized with the intention of bringing together individuals for a common purpose, revolving around cannabis. They provide an opportunity for attendees to expand their cannabis knowledge through presentations from industry leaders, investors, doctors, patients, and those at the forefront of innovation. They also offer insights into legislative developments and shed light on changes anticipated in the future which may impact stakeholders.
An overarching theme tends to predominate at these events. Presentation styles may include speeches featuring new industry developments or case-studies, Q&A sessions, and interactive round table discussions which provoke debate and inspire out-of-the-box thinking.
Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference
Put on by Benzinga, the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is a gathering of investors and entrepreneurs across four cities:
Connecting businesses with investors is the primary objective of this event, allowing for further growth and development of the cannabis industry. Any and all topics relevant to the present state of the industry are discussed, such as the volatility of the market, as well as regulatory shifts.
The conferences themselves facilitate literal one-on-one meetings with both industry heavyweights and private companies. Entrepreneurs and investors get to converge in an incubator for the establishment of professional relationships. Panels, keynotes, and company presentations make a strong presence at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, providing market statistics, insider insights, and information on the latest industry innovations.
Featuring some of the largest growers, cultivators, and businesses in the cannabis sector, this is a conference where relationships are fostered and where networking is the highlight.
MjMicro is a cannabis conference held in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, that specifically targets investors with rising small cap and micro cap companies working within the cannabis industry. C-level executives from the best public cannabis companies lead forums with high net worth investors in order to maximize their investment returns in this industry.
Some of the topics discussed during the conference include how to navigate the legal and compliance regulatory landscape, angel-to-venture capital investing, retail opportunities for CBD, and the pros and cons of going public versus staying private.
One of the unique opportunities available at MjMicro is the ability to talk one-on-one in order to advance investments into large cannabis enterprises. Insights into growth plans and sound structured investments are readily available at this conference. This event excels in being an incubator of private capital investment in public cannabis businesses.
The Marijuana Business Conference, also known as MJBizCon, is marketed as being the largest gathering of cannabis business professionals in the world. There are 35,000 attendees every year, including 1,500+ CEOs, 8,000+ executive/c-level, 1,250+ investors, and 1,300+ exhibitors – the programming designed to benefit every sector.
At MJBizCon, you will have the opportunity to learn about aspects of the cannabis industry such as: Emerging cannabis markets (both domestically and internationally), licensing ins and outs, finances and banking, industry insights, regulatory outlook, branding and marketing business strategies, business strategies to grow your cannabis-based business, ancillary cannabis businesses and opportunities, retail opportunities, the future of the CBD market, and more.
MJBizCon is normally held during December in Las Vegas, there may be no other place like it to equip your business for growth.
Cannabis conventions are resource hubs for the rapidly expanding cannabis industry. These are events where businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, educations, patients, advocates, and consumers can all connect, learn, and grow. They are focused on the local market needs of wherever they are held, but also tie those needs into the industry at large.
Within the northeast region of the US, NECANN is the key player in terms of cannabis conventions, boasting over 10,000 attendees, 300+ exhibitors, and 100+ speakers every year. NECANN creates resource hubs for the rapidly-growing cannabis industry. These are conventions where businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, educators, patients, advocates, and consumers can all learn, connect, and grow.
NECANN believes that conventions that are focused on the needs and opportunities of local markets are more productive than generic and wide-sweeping cannabis conventions found all over the globe. This helps create a consistently higher ROI for exhibitors, sponsors, attendees, as well as the local cannabis market as a whole. Everyone wins with this method.
A number of events are held throughout the United States, including places such as Boston, Chicago, and Salt Lake City. NECANN combines presentations with the trade show / expo style, meaning that there will be stands with on-site advertising of new technologies or products.
Expositions & Trade Shows
Cannabis expositions and trade shows are public exhibitions which operate as a microcosm of the activities taking place in the cannabis market. They tend to offer an array of activities for a much more engaging experience with the subject matter of the day. They also feature an inherent dynamism. This is created by the presence of interactive exhibits, workshops, the showcasing of innovative technology by various vendors, and the wide variety of participants from different industries and walks of life.
Unlike its name suggests, 4.20 Hempfest is actually an expo and is not just about hemp. Located in Milan, Italy, this event is held in an 8,000 sqm center, featuring over 170 exhibitors and attracting thousands of attendees from all over the world. The main goal of 4.20 Hempfest is to educate the public about the many uses and benefits of hemp. In addition to hemp and industrial hemp, there is also a focus on extracted CBD, seed banks, and various cannabis paraphernalia. Information, music, and entertainment can all be found at 4.20 Hempfest as well.
A unique component of 4.20 Hempfest is the inclusion of the Cannabis Light Cup. This is a cannabis competition lasting three days with four categories: indoor, outdoor, greenhouse, and extracts. Over the course of the Cup, awards are given out to the best products based on a public vote. Producers and growers from all over the world come to take part in this competition.
Athens Cannabis Expo
The Athens Cannabis Expo is an annual event geared towards educating the public about the latest products and developments in the cannabis world. Discussion and information about the medical, pharmaceutical, and industrial use of cannabis is heavily focused on. Some of the industry’s leading companies showcase their latest products and services, ranging from cultivation, medical equipment, food and beverages, cosmetics, and much more.
This trendy Greek cannabis-themed event, which is normally held in January, features over 7,000 square meters of exhibitions, 150+ exhibitors, 20+ speakers, and 10+ DJ sets. This event caters to both the B2B and B2C arenas, bringing together the entire cannabis world under one roof.
Greece is a completely new market for the cannabis industry and has extraordinary opportunities for businesses looking to expand their reach into this country of 10 million people.
Europe Canna Expo
Organized by the London Canna Group, the Europe Canna Expo is a hybrid event that is both a consumer trade show as well as a conference. This gathering has been heralded as Europe’s leading cannabis-themed event series, drawing thousands of attendees from all over the world. People from the cannabis industry, medical industry, national and local governments, media and press, as well as everyday cannabis connoisseurs, flock to the ECE every year to learn about all the latest developments with CBD, cannabinoids, and medical cannabis.
The ECE is held in multiple countries all over Europe, including the United Kingdom (London), Ireland (Dublin), and Croatia (Zagreb). The conferences in Ireland and Croatia highlight the opportunities available to those countries as they move towards capitalizing on CBD and medical cannabis. The conference in England is focused on providing detailed scientific and business information for its attendees, with an incredibly robust educational program.
Within the business-to-business (B2B) space, the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition, also called CWCBExpo, is a dominant force, hosting events that combine a traditional conference with interactive workshops and expositions three times per year in New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. This cannabis exposition and trade show predominantly attracts those interested in the cannabis industry from a business perspective. Therefore, expect to encounter growers, investors, and entrepreneurs keen to grow new strains, operate new outlets, and expand or become aware of new developments in the market.
Every year features a new theme, such as a focus on recent technological innovations and developments in scientific knowledge. The CWCBExpo is normally held during May in New York, September in Los Angeles, and October in Boston.
A festival revolving around cannabis has a focus on music, advocacy, education, activism, and having fun. You can expect a jam-pakced program of events and entertainment with a focus on consuming cannabis surrounded by positive vibes, and novice, as well as seasoned, cannabis enthusiasts.
High-Times Cannabis Cup
High-Times Cannabis Cup is the most prominent and well-known cannabis festival in the world. It has a much older pedigree than the other cannabis events described so far. This festival is actually a competition and an awards show – hosted by the famous cannabis aficionado magazine High Times. Cannabis Cup takes place every year in places such as California, Amsterdam, Colorado, Michigan, and even the Midwest of the United States, but recently has expanded to be held in locations around the world such as Jamaica, with the likelihood of more locations featuring this event in the future.
Competitions abound and are based on the best products, booths, cannabis strains, and more. This is an unadulterated festival, exemplifying the classic features which can be expected at a cannabis festival, as people ingest cannabis in every possible way in the pursuit of fun and a high. Cannabis Cup has expanded to now be held in locations around the world, including Jamaica, with the likelihood of more locations featuring this event in the future.
Key Topics at Cannabis Events
Cannabis events tend to focus on disseminating information of educational value, addressing existing challenges, highlighting emerging trends, and revealing new innovations in the industry. The following are a number of topics which are likely to dominate the agenda of cannabis events:
Cannabis events revolving around the plants themselves are aimed at those wishing to operate on a commercial scale, in order to provide them with critical information on this integral part of the production process. Cannabis events revolving around cultivation will normally be in the form of a trade show, with vendors exhibiting their nutrients, growing equipment, lighting solutions, and more.
Technological advancements in the cultivation of cannabis are extensively discussed. Agricultural equipment specialists will be on-site and themes such as proper ventilation and air sanitation of the cultivation site may be tackled. There is also discussion of the impact either of these things can have on the quantity, quality, and potency of the crop, as well as a plant’s susceptibility to mold.
Attendees can also expect discussions involving cross-breeding, back-crossing, the modification of THC levels, the increase of yield, the alteration of the flavor profile of a strain, and changing the durability of a cannabis plant in various climates. The more scientific aspects of the cultivation process involve panel discussions, where a panel of expert speakers are in attendance, educating attendees on the details and science of cultivation.
At CBD-focused events, you will find a space for CBD enthusiasts, business owners and more to test newly-released products, ask burning questions, and discover how CBD can be used to promote a healthier lifestyle.
Given the fact that the regulatory landscape affecting the industry is constantly evolving, CBD events seek to educate the public and garner trust in the health benefits of this non-psycoactive cannabis plant compound. With the increasing legality of CBD around the world, events with CBD as their focus are continually growing in number.
CBD Expo Tour
The CBD Expo Tour is a series of events that is a hybrid of B2B and B2C, set up by CBD Health and Wellness Magazine. Events are held in the East, West, South, and Midwest every year, touching nearly every cannabis market within the United States.
These events are focused solely on CBD, allowing for businesses to promote and offer their CBD-related products to consumers and share their knowledge of all things CBD. There are 75+ exhibitors, 3,500 attendees, and an impressive lineup of speakers and panel discussions with experts from a wide variety of fields within the CBD industry. In addition, the CBD Industry Association provides education on cannabinoids to physicians and nurses at all locations of the CBD Expo Tour.
People attend the CBD Expo Tour for a deeper understanding of CBD science, regulations, education, manufacturing, and business opportunities. The cannabis industry is ever-changing and the CBD Expo Tour can help businesses both adapt and thrive in the evolving world of cannabinoids.
Safety During Cultivation
Cannabis events dealing with safety during cultivation focus on how to ensure the safety of the cannabis grower. The importance of wearing protective gear, exposure to airborne contaminants, heat illness prevention, point of operation hazards, sanitation and pest control, pressure vessels, repetitive motion injuries, machine hazards, flammable liquids and gases, electrical hazards, and safeguarding employee health will be subjects with emphasis placed on them.
With cannabis now fully legalized in places, official health regulations are applied to the industry. It is now important for all employers in the cannabis industry, including those who cultivate, manufacture, distribute, sell, and test marijuana products, to take steps to protect their employees from all health and safety hazards associated with their work.
Panel-style discussions will tend to be arranged, with an exposition of the latest technology emerging in the cannabis industry when it comes to keeping growers safe.
Project Management Tools
Project management is at the heart of every successful business. There are constantly new tools being released, which enable business operations to be conducted more smoothly and efficiently.
Cannabis events on this subject are frequently styled as panel discussions with various cannabis business owners and managers discussing how they manage their operations, the challenges they face each day, and the systems they use to manage their companies more efficiently.
Attendees can expect to hear about the impact on how failing to properly manage a grow operation effectively can have a significant effect on crop quality or yield. Case studies are often brought up to highlight the importance of this issue. Cannabis events with a focus on product management, as well as on the product life cycle and the adoption of innovative technologies, are highly beneficial for both new and experienced cannabis cultivation business owners, as well as for investors who wish to have a better understanding of the business operating model, so they can accurately measure business risk or technological sophistication.
B2B & Entrepreneurship
Some cannabis events focus on the business side of the cannabis industry. These B2B-focused events gather up like-minded professionals, uniting leading pioneers and entrepreneurs with investors and experts in order to discuss the latest industry developments.
B2B events also target would-be entrepreneurs, providing them with the knowledge and resources to get ahead fast and avoid common pitfalls. This is why a conference-style event is usually adopted. There is discussion about current economic opportunities, as well as challenges, in the cannabis market at large. There are also opportunities to network with lots of different players in the cannabis industry, including highly sought after angel investors.
The area of focus is mostly on how to secure funding in what may seem like a saturated market, understanding new developments within the industry, defining distribution channels, overcoming market barriers to entry, scaling up production for export, and dealing with supply chain issues.
There are lots of events focused exclusively on hemp and everything related to this non-psychoactive version of the cannabis plant. These events promote the industrial and culinary uses of hemp. They also provide information on legislative developments with regards to the legality of hemp in various jurisdictions. Forecasts on the industry at large, along with more regional outlooks, are discussed and shared with attendees.
Politics and the Law
Cannabis events also focus on politics and the law. Generally, business-style conventions will have this as a subject of focus. Common topics of interest are the state of the law concerning cannabis production, consumption, and sale in various countries and territories. Conferences which make politics and the law topics of focus are normally targeted at cannabis growers and users, but not only.
Medical Cannabis and Research
These events are usually focused on the opportunities within the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes and its capacity to treat diseases, illnesses, and ailments. At a cannabis event focused on the medicinal use of cannabis, you will find industry professionals from all over the industry in attendance, such as licensed producers, growers, suppliers, dispensary owners and managers, and healthcare professionals.
Events that have medical cannabis and related research as focal points are usually organized as cannabis conferences. They include the dissemination of new insights and conclusions from researchers. In addition, speakers with personal experience of having used (or known someone using) cannabis for medicinal reasons may be present.
The usual program of events encompasses discussion of THC and CBD extraction, cannabinoids, the regulatory environment, products being developed at present and future opportunities, the territories in which medical cannabis is accepted or in the process of being accepted, and educating attendees on the benefits of cannabis for medical purposes.
Cannabis events with a focus on environmental issues are great places to exchange ideas on what can be done to reduce the impact that the industry will inevitably have on the environment.
As the question of reducing environmental degradation takes center-stage for governmental policy-makers and citizens worldwide, cannabis conventions have sprung up, arming attendees such as existing and prospective cannabis business owners, with the knowledge that will enable them to build environmentally-sustainable practices into their business model.
Non-Commercial Cannabis Consumption
Some people simply want to indulge in cannabis. With the number of cannabis enthusiasts growing each day, a large number of cannabis events have appeared with the intention of allowing attendees to enjoy cannabis, usually within the boundaries of the law, although sometimes held as ‘protestivals’ to make a stand in the form of civil disobedience. This usually takes the form of a festival and may be organized as an indoor or an outdoor event.
At these events, the main focus is smoking, vaping, or partaking in cannabis in some other way. These are fun events that sometimes attract over 100,000 people, such as the famous Hempfest in Seattle, Washington.
Hempfest is a “protestival” with a major activist component, where attendees enjoy cannabis in all its forms. Besides being an exercise in this kind of free speech, it also shares information on how to reform cannabis laws and policies within all levels of government. What’s more is that Hempfest has been responsible for registering over 10,000 Washingtonians to vote in state and national elections.
There are as many as 400 arts, crafts, food, and political vendors in attendance every year, as well as 100 music acts and 80 guest speakers. Also featured at this event is a “Hemposium” circus tent, featuring panel discussions and presentations, keynote speakers, displays, and workshops. Hempfest is the largest cannabis policy reform event in the world. This festival has gone from hosting approximately 500 attendees in its first year, to nearly 100,000 today. This is the event that is responsible for bringing cannabis legalization to Washington state.
Final Words – Cannabis Events
The flourishing cannabis industry shows no signs of slowing down at this point. As more countries and states continue to pass laws decriminalizing and legalizing cannabis, a greater number of cannabis events of different types can be expected. There are already a plethora of events centered around this beloved plant.
This comprehensive overview of the wide array of cannabis events has hopefully shed some light on some of the most interesting events taking place around the world, while also offering ideas for cannabis events you may wish to organize yourself.
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