When any industry begins to grow, it is inevitable that events supporting or celebrating said industry will start popping up all over the place. In the case of marijuana, the “place” is global, and the events are seemingly endless. From conferences to competitions, festivals to summits, cannabis advocates need barely see a week go by without a get-together in some neck of the woods.
Since the international list is far too long, let’s take a look at six events taking place in North America this year.
Hosted by High Times, the Cannabis Cup is perhaps one of the best-known annual marijuana gatherings. Rather than a single event each year, the Cannabis Cup is held in various locations at various times. The Medical Cannabis Concentrates Cup in San Bernardino begins July 22nd, while Michigan is holding a Medical Cannabis Cup and County Fair at the end of August.
The Cup, hosted in states (in various countries) that have legalized the medical and recreational use of marijuana, has been grading strains and bringing in crowds for almost 30 years.
At the end of September, the 46th Harvest Fest is taking place in Wisconsin; and yes, that’s more than four decades of weekend celebrations dedicated to everyone’s favorite natural medication.
The Festival spans three days and plays host to significant political speakers, as well as an array of musical guests and vendors. Best of all? It’s free!
In a truly groundbreaking move, Denver, Colorado hosted the World’s Only Cannabis Wedding Expo in January, aimed at couples who wish to include the plant in their upcoming nuptials.
Yes, you read that right. The event – which is loud and proud about being the only one of its kind – was envisioned and hosted by Love and MariJ, a company that links interested couples with cannabis-friendly vendors, and sports the tagline “cannabis is the new champagne.”
The expo wasn’t just a place for vendors to show off their goods. Industry pros were also present to share safe group consumption tips, and the best marijuana food and drink pairings!
Not to be left out, in May Canada hosted the first Lift Cannabis Expo in Toronto, and the sequel is coming up in Vancouver, in September. The Toronto expo enabled more than 100 marijuana-industry businesses to showcase their wares and services, and boasted a guest list that included licensed producers, hydroponics manufacturers, and everyone in between.
People from all over the world came to the event, which featured talks from notable groups like Women Grow, Tweed, and Cannabis Culture.
The 25th Seattle Hempfest will take place the weekend of August 19th. All about bringing cannabis and hemp into the national mainstream, the initiative’s platform includes goals to “release all non-violent cannabis offenders” from prison, improve “parental rights and protections for cannabis users,” and legalize home growing.
The festival itself is titled a “Protestival,” and is pegged as the largest annual marijuana protest rally in the world. World-renowned speakers regularly make appearances (I spotted a photo of Woody Harrelson), and attendants can rock out at multiple music stages, and shop down rows of craft and food vendors.
- Cannabis Business Summit and Expo
To sum up on the somewhat more serious side, the Cannabis Business Summit and Expo took place in late June. Held over three days in Oakland, California, the expo welcomes growers, dispensaries, and “infused product manufacturers,” and saw upwards of 3,000 attendees. It is, apparently, the “highest concentration of legitimate buyers and sellers all in one place.”
In addition to the exhibition, book signings, and special speakers, workshops, and seminars offered talks on topics such as “Keeping the Soul of the Movement Alive in the Industry,” and “Starting and Operating a Successful Medical Cannabis Dispensary.”
As this is only a small sampling of the yearly offerings around the continent, it’s a safe bet to assume, if you really want to show your support for the industry alongside other advocates, you can probably find an event within a few thousand miles of you, wherever you live.
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