It’s not too early to plan. Cannabis events roll out early in the year. There are the usual and the unusual, the local and the foreign. All cannabis festivals look to add something new to the conversation.
And, what will the conversation be in 2019?
- Advocacy will still hold center stage. The forces will forge new frontiers in the legalization of medical and recreational use cannabis. They will push for rights in states contiguous to legal states. They will seek to expand access in medical marijuana states. And, they target states geographically central to regions that have remained untouched.
- Economics drive the canna-industry from seed to sale. Any supply and demand economy functions on several levels. Some festivals will focus on reporting the economic facts of the existing markets. Others will forecast numbers and investment potential. And, some will mine the revenue stream for indications of marketing directions.
- Fun follows when festivals open outdoors. As cannabis becomes more socially acceptable, bigger attractions will headline events. Bigger name bands, A-list celebrities, and better festival amenities will greet festival goers and their families.
Top Cannabis Festivals
- Cannabis Wedding Expo events run throughout the spring. The roaming tradeshow starts at The Venue in Las Vegas on January 13 before moving to Los Angeles (1/26), San Francisco (2/17), and Denver (3/2). Brides and couples join wedding caterers, planners, and venue providers. Reps offer hemp wedding gowns, cannabis flower arrangements, and photography and videography for themed weddings soon or down the aisle.
- CannaCon hits Seattle (1/31-2/2) at the Washington State Convention Center. This show attracts 12,000 plus for an interactive gathering of professionals, pioneers, entrepreneurs, and investors. This expo moves on to Oklahoma City (4/18-19), Detroit (6/21-22), and Springfield (8/23-24).
- The Hemp & Cannabis Festival takes over the spacious Ventura County Fairgrounds from February 16-17. It moves onto Medford-Ashland, OR (3/2-3), Merced, CA (3/16-17), Bend-Redmond, OR (3/30-31), Salem, OR (4/13-14), and several later unconfirmed dates. These THC Fairs expose guests to experts in cannabis culture and horticulture from farm equipment to the latest in munchies.
- Kind Music Festival is a first-time event produced by Mike Tyson on February 23. The former world-class boxer is promoting the event as a pop-up festival on the 412-acre location of The Tyson Ranch Resort in Desert Hot Springs. They promise a unique festival experience for people of all ages with food trucks, a “chillville” area with specialty bean bag chaise, a fun zone with inflatable rides, mazes, and obstacle courses, a bar area, and a vendor village. There has been no announcement on the concert lineup.
- Kushstock meets on March 30 at the Adelanto (CA) Stadium & Events Center. The festival also opens at The Auto City Speedway in Clio, MI on April 20. There are three stages for music and comedians, free water everywhere, and available medical marijuana doctors.
- World Medical Cannabis Business Conference & Expo meets at the Monroeville Conference Center near Pittsburgh, PA on March 30-31. Managed by Compassionate Certification Centers, the Expo offers speakers, workshops, and vendors of all-things medical marijuana.
- Ann Arbor Hash Bash is fun for those local to the University of Michigan where it gathers for one day at high noon (April 6) on the Campus DIAG. Thousands have been gathering since 1972 to listen to speeches, enjoy live music, and patronize street vendors. The open space still has an admission fee supporting Michigan NORML.
- National Cannabis Festival is a 4/20 event taking over the RFK Festival Grounds with fence-to-fence entertainment, experience, and education. It even includes The Veterans Lounge, a retreat from the noise of the festivities where those who have served can connect over shared experiences. Its A-list concert schedule has not been announced, but you can look into early tickets, VIP experiences, wedding plans, and more.
- Cannabis Drinks Expo meets for the first time at the South San Francisco Conference Center on July 25. You’ll meet mixologists, oenologists, chefs, and beverage manufacturers. Brewers and distillers will meet with chemists, investment analysts, and business advisors to pioneer the hottest direction in cannabis by-products.
- Seattle Hempfest gathers at Myrtle Edwards Park August 16-18. The huge, lively, and loud event remains one of the leading festivals of the year. Somehow, the waterfront weather is always beautiful for guests who want education, training, food, drink, and great varied entertainment.
There are more, of course
There are many more local, regional, and national events, especially around April 20. There are the moving High Times competitions. NORML and other advocates sponsor meetings, trade shows, and business conferences.
Unfortunately, each year some festivals disappear from the schedule. Denver’s Mile High Festival has been searching for sponsorship, and many meetings have yet to disclose their venues, schedules, and entertainment agendas. So, this list of ten is not exhaustive, and it includes some shaky first-time shows. But, it does cover trade shows, expos, and music festivals. If you only make the National Cannabis Festival, the Ann Arbor Hash Bash, and the Seattle Hempfest, you will see it all.