Spring is about to be sprung, so you know that means the haziest of holidays is fast approaching: 4-20! With the international cannabis appreciation season fast-approaching, we at Haute Health thought it was high time that we see what kinds of cannabis festivals are happening as we lead into another big 4-20 celebration.
Before we list off all the best weed music festivals, let’s first define what you can expect from upcoming weed festivals and why you should attend this year’s cannabis festivals:
Cannabis conferences, weed expos, canna cups, pot shows and weed fests are all interchangeable names for similar core concepts: hosted events that bring together many different people with unique skills, knowledge and assets in cannabis cultivation, culture and consumption. Cannabis events include many unique kinds of shows, festivals, talks, presentations and competitions alike. Weed fests are the best reason to travel with weed, for weed.
If we had to categorize cannabis festivals, here’s how it would breakdown:
Cannabis Music Fests
Good dope, great music, good vibes and a healthy amount of glow-in-the-dark accessories & cannabis decorations
Betting premium-grade nugs against other world-class strains to crown a “King of Kush” or “Best New Strain 2023” and other titles for worthy growers & their ganjas, always held at some of the top destinations for cannabis lovers
Experts of all kinds congregate to teach and inform, to present exciting new findings in the cannabis space, and to share ideas that continue to propel the industry forward in its quest for innovation, discussing topics like "can cannabis help restore bee populations?" and "activating cannabinoids without decarboxylation".
Cannabis Trade Shows
A place for vendors, growers, consultants and consumers alike to get together and exchange good/services or to showcase new & exciting developments from cannabis businesses all over the world - it's also a fantastic place to seek cannabis careers!
Cannabis Culture Shows
Kind of like art & craft fairs, but all centered on this wonderful plant in all its beautiful varieties
Weed festivals can be an amalgamation of multiple categories, or they can center on one specific, core idea. The best and most popular weed fests seem to combine trade shows for vendors with guest speakers, in addition to a variety of weed parties, cannabis culture events like art presentations or live music.
The majority of the upcoming weed festivals offer certain services and experiences centered on the location/area they are hosted at - i.e. a lot of cannabis shows on the west coast involve music festivals, whereas eastern big cities seem to play host to the majority of cannabis business conferences.
The best weed and music festivals are obviously popular because they’re just a ton of fun. When it comes to cannabis conferences or trade shows it might be a bit tougher to convince people to come out in droves, so they have to continue to expand their horizons to keep people intrigued. There are vendors who sell equipment for growing, some who offer edibles samples, and others who seek to provide services to both cannabis growers and consumers alike.
There are also a ton of cannabis-curious individuals who come to these events in all their varieties in order to uncover the mysteries of marijuana they’ve heard so much about. What motivates people to attend cannabis events has as much to do with the medical/scientific findings as it does the passionate cannabis culture community.
Most of the upcoming weed festivals try to compete for your attention around 4-20, but there are also a few popular “trade show seasons” during springtime bloom, the dog days of summer and the autumn magic of early fall. On average, the majority of trade shows happen in January, April, June and September - although this can change due to scheduling conflicts with other events, professional sports or other kinds of concerts.
There are many cannabis shows and events that have entrenched themselves in certain seasons, such as Cannabis Cup season seems to dominate the months of April - July, as do cannabis music festivals. On the flip side, many weed expos, conferences and trade shows take up the less busy months of January - February and August - September.
Now that we know what kinds of cannabis festivals there are and we’ve even determined some of the reasons behind the showrunners and their attendees, let’s map out the list of best weed festivals and upcoming weed trade shows you should be attending in 2023. All of the upcoming weed festivals have been organized by month, starting with April 2023 - because it’s already mid-March and finding tickets for any March events might be tricky at this point.
An annual event that happens over a few days in early April, CannaCon South is part of the CannaCon family of events that also includes CannaCon North, West and East. CannaCon South is being hosted in Oklahoma City and includes a diverse group of vendors, services, speakers, shows and plenty of unique experiences for greenhorns and greenthumbs alike.
Cannabis Science Conference West:
In Portland, Oregon you’ll find the Cannabis Science Conference (West) taking place during the 4-20 holidaze. This event is home to a bevvy of expert keynote speakers, presenters, demonstrations and round table discussions on some of the most groundbreak cannabis technologies, research projects and more. The CSC-West also offers workshops where attendees can interact with exhibitors and tenured professionals of their crafts, making it a very valuable experience for anyone with a passion for cannabis learning.
BC Cannabis Summit:
4-20 wouldn’t be the same without a trip to the incomparable Bud Country province of B.C. Taking place in the sunshine-filled streets of the jewel of the Okanagan - Kelowna - the BC Cannabis Summit is the perfect blend of casual and professionalism as the folks of the BC Craft Farmer’s Co-Op folks combine forces with organizations like RCCBC - Retail Cannabis Council of BC - to talk, shop and showoff everything do with BC’s thriving craft cannabis markets.
Taking things ‘across the pond’ is another surprise event in London, UK in the Cannabis Europa convention. Focusing on the trends and developments on the global cannabis front, Cannabis Europa will have 1500+ experts, speakers, delegates and exhibitors crowded into the Barbican Centre in the heart of London. This event is a favorite haunt for investors and even politicians interested in the “bloom boom” wave that’s quickly spreading from North America to other parts of the world.
CannMed represents another major networking opportunity for cannabis professionals, medical advocates or investors and market experts. CannMed continues to bring together some of the brightest minds in cannabis science to present the latest exciting findings around cannabis medicines & treatments. Cultivation technology demonstrations, extraction workshops and keynote speakers on cannabis law reforms are just a sampling of the kinds of experiences you can look forward to at this consistently popular event.
High Times Cannabis Cup:
With contestant submissions happening throughout early May, the vaunted High Times Cannabis Cup - SoCal is one of several High Times Cups that happen throughout the year. Judges rule on the top strains, best buds and award their growers with prestige, all while popular musicians play for cannabis influencers, celebrities, guest speakers, vendors and more. High Times is THE big name in cannabis product competitions, so if you’ve got something special in your grow rooms get your submissions in ASAP.
Grow Up Conference:
The 7th annual Grow Up Conference & Expo has moved to Western Canada at Edmonton’s massive Convention Centre in the province’s capital. Grow Up was designed to be a premier B2B - Business to Business - conference that gives suppliers, manufacturers, growers, analytical labs and many others a chance to establish connections and reach out to their greater audiences. Grow Up is sponsored by numerous big names in the cannabis cultivation and technology spaces, so it’s a fantastic expo for networking with the big players.
This conference has been doing much of the heavy Lifting in Canada when it comes to bringing together business professionals with passionate orators and lifetime advocates for cannabis. Lift Toronto happens yearly at the Metro Toronto Convention Center in Tdot city, and this year’s lineup and unique spread of themed days - Business Conference Day 1, Budtender Day 2, Consumer Day 3 and After Party Day 4 - have generated a ton of buzz for this consistently popular event.
Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo:
If an expo is hosted in NYC, you know it’s got to be a big deal. The Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo is a fantastic opportunity to have your voice heard or to listen to industry experts of all walks of cannabis life - politicians, producers, entrepreneurs, dealers, growers, marketers, medical professionals, lobbyists and more. The CWCB is a great event hosted in a central, world-hub location like New York because people from all over the globe flock to this particular expo in order to share ideas, discuss difficult topics and continue to grow the business of growing weed on the worldstage.
Lift San Francisco:
Another Lift event that has garnered a solid following in another high-flying city full of cannabis culture and experiences. Lift is one of the leaders in crafting a weekend of business deals, exciting technology or services demos, riveting group discussions with experts, hot debates with policymakers, and a lot of camaraderie amongst the most passionate of cannabis users. A really exciting update with Lift’s 2023 expos is their “live shows, live flowers” announcement - yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like… you can have cannabis flowers on your person throughout the grounds of the convention! If that doesn’t upLift your weed-loving spirits, we don’t know what will.
Lucky Leaf Expo:
When you think of Albuquerque, New Mexico, you likely conjure up images of that ‘crystal blue persuasion’ that Walt & Jesse cooked up, not the green scene of cannabis. This is where the Lucky Leaf Expo comes in as one of the premier Southwestern cannabis trade shows. Held at the Albuquerque Convention Center, Lucky Leaf brings together all the industry favorites you’d expect at a big event, and several surprise guest speakers and maybe some lesser known companies that don’t get enough attention out there in one of the desert states.
One of the later cannabis conventions, and also the second CannaCon on this list, happens in Detroit during Canadian Thanksgiving season. CannaCon Detroit offers all the same benefits as CannaCon West, but with a focus on big-time growers, cultivation technology innovators and all the coolest developments in the cannabis sector for the year ahead. The state of Michigan and its surrounding states are home to a strong contingent of cannabis growers, not to mention the acclaimed High Times Michigan Cup just happened in March of 2023. This is one of the biggest cannabis events in the Midwest, so be there or be a square.
MJ Biz Vegas:
We can’t believe it’s taken this long in the yearly calendar for an MJ Biz conference to show up! MJ Biz Con in Vegas is one of the biggest, so it makes sense that Sin City’s version of this very popular event takes center stage as the only noteworthy show in November-December of 2023. Taking place in the world-renowned Las Vegas Convention Center, MJ Biz combines thousands of exhibitors with tens of thousands of avid fans, consumers and experts alike. There are between 150 and 200 guest speakers, a dozen professional shows/demonstrations and an untold number of chances to bump elbows with the industry’s top dogs.
These are just a handful of the biggest cannabis festivals and cannabis tourism events happening in 2023. If you know about any other local events, last-minute weed music fests - we’re looking at you CannaFest in Grand Forks, BC! Bring it back!! - or other weed-themed events we might’ve missed, reach out to the Haute Health team on social media and we’ll add your events to this guide to upcoming weed festivals in 2023.
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Check out some of these popular buys and many others as you stock up for your next cannabis trade show: