With medical marijuana and recreational cannabis becoming legal in more states, more businesses are pushing to create events for it. Of course, these events come at a hefty price, literally. Tickets can go upwards of hundreds to thousands of dollars for some of these events, and it’s hard to tell what they offer.
If you’ve never been to a cannabis event, good news – I’ve been to plenty. From the High Times Cannabis Cup in California, Colorado, and Washington to MJBizCon in Las Vegas, the Emerald Cup, and local events around the west coast, there’s no limit to the amount of live events, festivals, conferences, expositions, and conventions featuring the plant.
Of course, you can still throw your own, something we learn every year. In Arizona, we only have medical marijuana, but there are plenty of themed events happening. You can do 420 yoga, take educational sessions on the science, legal, and business aspects, or attend events like the Errl Cup/710 Cup and various Women Grow events.
I recently attended the Pink Kush Network’s one-year anniversary in Phoenix, and was inspired by the local party touch to the common cannabis event. It inspired me to come up with some tips for whoever wants to follow in their footsteps and throw cannabis events.
1. Book a Venue
You need a 420-friendly spot to gather people. Not everyone supports the industry in recreational states, and that support gets thinner in medical states, practically disappearing in states where neither industry exists. Whatever venue owner you’re working with will want to know you’re professional about everything. This means limiting consumption to designated outdoor areas and properly checking identification.
2. Gather Sponsors
Whether it’s a large event in a convention center or a smaller club event, sponsorship is key to making money. In cannabis, it’s relatively easy to find event marketing staff. That’s because cannabis advertising is so restricted that many brands have street teams dedicated solely to attending these events. They give out samples and swag, repping hard for their brands and pushing patients to remember the name.
3. Create a Theme
It’s important to have a theme for your event, and “cannabis” in itself is rather tacky. What makes the Pink Kush Network work is it’s a female empowerment group focused on created safe spaces. This is a premium in an industry where women often have to deal with sketchy guys who got into street dealing specifically to “fuck bitches. Get money.” Tampon donations, and pink-colored everything hit women with a pink tax by women.
4. Have Lots of Products
The key to the success of a cannabis event is the cannabis. If you’ve ever made a bar your crew’s spot because of the server or bartender hooking you up, you know what I mean. Every booth in Pink Kush’s medication area had free samples for medical marijuana patients to try. Rigs often had replaceable mouthpieces, and those that didn’t were wiped immediately with alcohol wipes.
5. Seriously Tho – Have Free Weed
Ultimately a cannabis fest is just like a beer fest. In fact, if you’ve not seen Beerfest, it’s a classic, and the High Times Cannabis Cup truly is everything you imagined Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson being involved in at the end of that movie. The Errl Cup is a smaller version of that, and the Pink Kush Network is an even smaller one. However, the tradeoff in size comes with a quality experience.
6. Also Focus on Art and Education
While people are there, you can also school them on science, culture, and politics of cannabis. Bring activists and anyone passionate about sharing their story. It’s a celebration of life, health, and happiness, but there’s also a lot of history behind it. Take the time to teach people on top of selling to them so you have a well rounded event.
Cannabis events are a dime a dozen these days. They still carry a stigma and aren’t easily accessible to the average person. As every new state legalizes cannabis, a whole new audience of people is introduced to the product. I’ve now attended cannabis events and bought legal weed in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada, California, and Arizona.
Each has its own unique twists, but the story remains the same. Successful cannabis events get people together with quality people, products, and places to make a memorable night for everyone involved.