Guide To Cannabis Events For Brands

Connor Anderson

May 7, 2022

Table of Contents

Cannabis events are playing a major role in pulling the industry into the mainstream, especially with new state and city legislation granting permits to allow consumption at larger venues. 

These events bring the entire cannabis community together to celebrate our beloved plant over a few days of fun, networking, and education. As such, canna events are the perfect venues to garner attention from the media, potential partners, investors, and consumers. 

Green Street Festival Rundown

We are honored to announce that WaxNax will be featured at the upcoming Green Street Festival, a cannabis event taking place on May 13th and 14th in Los Angeles, California. Hosted by Green Street, the event will include globally recognized musicians, California-based and national cannabis brands of all types and sizes, and some of the best cuisine in LA.

Green Street is the brains behind the revolutionary 718 South Hill cannabis incubator, which houses many of the top artists and companies in the industry, bringing them together under one roof in a stunning building. 

718-south-hill-green-street-

The incubator is designed for collaboration. Communal areas are outfitted with everything a cannabis professional would need to toke up, talk shop, and get to work. 718 is also home to Gusto Green, an award winning restaurant featuring dishes made from hemp products.

And, thanks to issues with the city of Los Angeles (classic), Green Street is hosting the festival at 718 South Hill. Though it means less visitors will get to experience the weed fest, it could be a blessing in disguise. Many attendees will experience the “Cannabis Community Epicenter” for the first time. 

If you’re a brand and you’re kicking yourself for not signing up for Green Street Festival in time– fear not! There are a number of great weed events coming up this summer that are perfect for showing the community what you’ve got. Stay tuned for a run down.

But First, What is a Cannabis Event?

Cannabis events can take a variety of forms. They can be divided into two broad categories: consumption and non-consumption events.

Cannabis Consumption Events

Cannabis consumption events are one-to-three day events that focus on bringing vendors, investors, media, advocates, and consumers together to network and get high on one another’s supply.

Recently, states like California have added legislation granting temporary, multi-day cannabis consumption licenses to select events. Licensed organizers can rent out larger venues that accomodate a broader stoner attendance. 

Green Street was the first to be granted such a license in LA. But, the city revoked the license when the event was only a month away. 

Cannabis consumption events usually feature a booth layout. Attendees can peruse booths, sample products, and learn about brands as they toke. 

Many consumption events take the form of weed festivals (like Green Street), featuring live music performances, speaker series, and cuisine worthy of the munchies you’re sure to get when you attend. 

Non-Consumption Cannabis Events

These weed events do not permit consumption on premises. They often take the form of conferences and conventions which focus more on industry education and research, advocacy, legislation, and medicinal use rather than testing out the products. 

Cannabis conferences and conventions are phenomenal networking opportunities for meeting investors, expert sources, and other brands in the industry.

cannabis-conference-speaker

Cannabis Event Tips For Vendors

Want to make sure you crush your next event? We’re here with expert insights to show you why you need to attend canna events, how to obtain a booth, what to expect at events, and strategies for taking advantage of them.

Benefits of Events for Cannabis Brands

Claire Taylor, cannabis event veteran from RJ Podcast, says “Interacting with potential buyers or consumers and educating on your brand” is the biggest advantage of canna events. “This is where your story comes straight from the brand and not through a budtender or retail dispensary.”

Though it’s essential to get your brand on dispensary shelves, dispos are not the best places for educating customers. That’s where events come in.

Events allow you to tell your story, answer questions, and differentiate your products from competitors– all in your own words. Events can help foster loyal followers who actually understand your brand and its values and will support it in the future.

What Does a Day at a Cannabis Event Look Like?

To prepare for your first event, you need to know what to expect. Claire has attended a bunch of consumption events, and John Basar, CEO and Co-Founder of WaxNax, has experienced many non-consumption conferences.

A Day at a Consumption Event

“The day of the event starts with the brand unloading materials and setting up the booth,” Claire says. “Once you’ve settled in, you can scope out and network with other brands/booths in attendance,” until the event officially opens up to regular attendees. 

“The majority of the day, though, you’re manning the booth and interacting with the attendees. That means answering a lot of questions and marketing your product.” 

Pro Tip: Plan for success by foreseeing questions that brands, investors, and customers might ask, and developing distinct key messages for communicating with each group.

“Then, when the day wraps up, you break down the booth and load out,” she says.

Claire reminds us that, at the end of the day, the “most important thing is to have fun!”

A Day at a Cannabis Conference

“At conferences, you should expect an environment of chaos and hustle that is focused on building connections and learning,” John says. 

Everyone who attends these events is passionate about the industry and getting ahead in it. They are attending the conference to connect with others and stay up-to-date.

“You feel a certain communal energy throughout the conference,” John says. “Something about it motivates you to meet as many people and businesses as possible.” 

“In my experience, I’ve seen success [from conferences] in terms of direct sales, professional development, networking, and skill building.” 

How to Choose the Right Event for Your Brand’s Goals

Think about your brand’s current goals in terms of the event’s goals. Claire notes, “it’s good to be choosy about which events you choose to participate in.”

Find Investors and Network at Non-Consumption Events

cannabis-investor-flower

At non-consumption events, you can find experts who can vouch for your brand and your product; investors who can give you the resources to keep innovating; and co-branding opportunities with potential partners to boost reach. 

John thinks every plant-touching company should attend conferences. “All the biggest brands are always there. You never know who you might meet and what opportunities you might find.”

Pro Tip: “There is no better place to find potential investors and partners, learn the latest trends, and meet the newest brands in the industry than at cannabis conferences.” - John Basar, WaxNax CEO and Co-Founder.

Develop Your Following at B2C Cannabis Festivals

“You should also think about the event’s attendees and the other brands that will be there in terms of your brand’s goals,” says Matt Henderson, WaxNax COO and Co-Founder. 

If you’re looking to boost reach and get as many eyes on your product as possible, conferences are probably not the right fit for your goals. Instead, you should aim for larger weed festivals where public attendance is welcome, especially if your product’s benefits are best communicated through experience.

Getting on Dispensary Shelves at B2B Cannabis Events

hall-of-flowers-outside

If you’re looking to get your brand in more dispensaries, then you should attend a B2B cannabis event (like Hall of Flowers in California, or CannaCon, which takes place in a number of central and eastern states). 

These events are for retailers to network and find products to fill their shelves. Though you can certainly network with dispensaries at larger cannabis festivals, brands will be more focused on reaching customers than taking on partners.

Upcoming Cannabis Events in California 2022

This is a quick list of upcoming weed events in California for the 2022 season, the type of event, who should attend, and the dates they are held. 

Please note that a few of the major pot festivals have already occurred, and some events, like the Cannabis Business Summit and Expo, have canceled their 2022 editions. 

green-street-fest-logo
  • Los Angeles, California.
  • Cannabis Festival
  • All brands hoping to expand reach and network should attend.
cannabis-science-confernece-logo
  • Long Beach, California.
  • Cannabis Conference
  • Brands focused on medicinal use, promoting cannabis research, innovation, and activism should attend.
national-interdisciplinary-cannabis-symposium
  • San Diego, California.
  • Cannabis Conference
  • Companies with activism at the heart of their brand identities; brands seeking to be industry leaders should participate; and brands looking to stay informed and learn.
canna-pharma
  • San Diego, California.
  • Cannabis Conference
  • Brands focused on medicinal use should definitely attend; non-medical brands looking to stay informed about the health-benefits of cannabis and regulatory compliance should also attend.

How to Land a Spot at a Cannabis Event

You’ve decided on the event that’s right for your brand and its goals. How do you land a booth?

Most event websites have a page devoted to booth applications. However, to better your chances of getting a booth, the best route is to contact event organizers directly. 

Organizers receive hundreds of applications through their websites. Names blend together. If demand is high, it will be tough to stand out. Plus, wouldn’t it be nice to see your brand’s name featured by an organizer in an interview? 

Pro Tip: Building relationships with organizers can boost your chances of getting a shoutout. Unless organizers are only citing sponsoring brands, they’ll likely note the first few brands that come to mind during the interview.

When applying or contacting event organizers, Claire says you should focus on communicating what your brand can bring to the table.

Pro Tip: When applying for an event booth, “market your assets, your brand following on social media, and your collaboration efforts with other brands.” Explain why your brand needs to be included if the event seeks to represent a full picture of the industry or sub-industry it addresses.

4 Strategies for Success at Cannabis Events

Events have the potential to host hundreds of different brands. How do you make your brand stand out against a huge number of competitors? 

1. Build a Friendly Team To Create a Fun Experience

Claire’s main advice is to “build a great and friendly team who will man the booth. Odds are, people will stop at whatever booth looks like it has the most attention or fun surrounding it.” 

The best way to draw booth visitors is to use a team of personable, relatable people who want to have just as much fun as the attendees they serve. 

Also, be sure to let your email list and social media followers know as early as possible about the event. Your prior followers will probably engage with your booth more than other visitors, a scene which can entice other attendees to come see what all the hype is about.

2. Use Concise and Intriguing Marketing Materials

waxnax marketing materials POS cobranding

Marketing materials are the signs and posters you use to identify your booth, your promotions, and the benefits of your product.

You should place larger, branded posters above your booth to communicate your brand and the main promotion. Make sure to keep these posters concise and to the point. Your smaller materials go into more detail, and your booth team can field questions. 

Present smaller signs and marketing materials on the booth’s table to communicate your brand’s mission and values, the benefits of your products, and more information on the promotions available. 

3. Promotions for Garnering Attention and Followers at Events

Before deciding on your promotion, check your chosen event’s rules and regulations to ensure your promotions adhere to them. It all depends on the event and where it takes place. 

Pro Tip: “Giveaways are a MUST, not an option.” - Matt Henderson.

There are a number of ways to use giveaways to maximize reach and gain followers at events. Though they are called “giveaways,” you should try to get something in exchange if the gift is an actual product.

Free Marketing Materials

Less costly marketing items, like stickers, pens, doob tubes, and other branded items, should be given away for free. This is because the value of these items lies in their proliferation– you want to get your brand in as many hands as possible. 

While giving away actual products can also accomplish this, their value as marketing items comes with an expiration date. After the products are consumed, the packaging is usually thrown away. 

Marketing materials, on the other hand, continue to promote your brand to whoever sees your branded sticker on an attendee’s laptop.

Product Raffles

waxnax-give-away-promotion-events

For costly products, you should run a raffle to limit incurred costs. Require visitors to sign up for the raffle by following your Instagram and tagging you in a post. This secures a new follower while promoting your brand to many more potential followers.

For relatively less expensive products, like joints, you can run direct giveaways in exchange for tagging your brand in a post and following it on social media. This is more expensive but will likely generate the greatest response at events. People love free stuff; stoners can’t say no to free weed. 

Discounts for B2B Sales

Discounts are great for those in search of dispensary or brand partners. Though discounts can work at any event, they work best at B2B events. 

For example, you can run a 15% discount for dispensaries if they sign to purchase a given number of units while visiting your booth.

You can also ask them to tag you on social media as part of the deal, which can increase exposure significantly since brands usually possess greater followings than individuals.

4. Partnerships to Improve Brand Image and Experience

If you’re a producer, you can partner with device brands and packaging brands. Or, if you’re a device or packaging brand, you partner with producers. Such partnerships add value to your product and extend reach due to the broader combined audience partnerships afford.

Device Partnerships

Device partnerships are perfect for events. You need a way for booth visitors to try your product, right? 

Plus, these device brands may have their own booths at events. They need products like yours so visitors can try their devices. It’s the perfect opportunity to double the size of your net. 

“Since the partnership is mutually beneficial to both brands and really helps with marketing, sales, etc. there’s an organic inclination to showcase the products together at our booth and the device’s booth,” John says.

Device partnerships also open the door to increasing the value of product giveaways, like a device plus some samples as the main prize for a raffle.

Pro Tip: If you’re a concentrate producer, Matt says the best partnerships are those with electronic device manufacturers. “Electronic rigs and nectar collectors remove the torch, allow for easier cleaning, and create a more consistent experience for all involved.”

Packaging Partnerships

Partnerships with packaging brands are perfect for differentiating your brand, especially as more and more consumers make purchase decisions on the basis of sustainability. A partnership with a packaging company like WaxNax, which uses much less glass than standard concentrate packaging, can help you attract these environmentally conscious stoners.

Some packaging companies also use innovative technologies that enhance the experience of using your products and help streamline the sampling process. WaxNax inserts are perfect for concentrate producers offering samples at events. 

Our inserts are pre-filled to eliminate the time it takes to dose out your samples; precisely measured to ensure you don’t over serve visitors; keep dab temperatures low so visitors can experience the full flavor of your products; and prevent material from escaping the insert, so you never have to worry about rig-cleaning during the event.

Problems at Cannabis Events and How to Prevent Them

A lot of things can go wrong at events.

Forgetting Event Materials

Claire notes that “Forgetting products or booth set up items” is the most basic and easily prevented problem you can encounter. 

Pro Tip: Make a checklist for everything you need to bring.

Dosing Problems at Consumption Events

It is easy to get booth visitors too high at events, especially when sampling out dabs since they are difficult to dose. “A lot of people get too high at concentrate booths because booth operators portion out dabs as if they were portioning for themselves,” Matt says. “Sure, fat dabs are great for those daily users looking to get as high as possible. But a lot of visitors are flower users who wanted to try something new and different, or infrequent users who wanted to see what cannabis events were like.” 

There are a few ways you can prevent this issue from occurring. The easiest route is to package your product using WaxNax. You’ll never worry about miss-dosing, dose-training, or measuring dabs by hand.

Dirty Devices

A huge issue for concentrate producers is dirty rigs and bangers at events. You could be handing out over 1,000 samples on a given day. That means a ton of dabs are burned on the same few rigs and bangers. “This leaves dark stains that disrupt the flavor of your product and the functionality of the device,” Matt adds.

As noted, our inserts prevent concentrate from touching the banger, which eliminates rig cleaning and enhances the flavor profile of your concentrate. 

You could clean up after every use or every few uses, but that would take a lot of time, slowing down the sampling process. Visitors won’t wait 10 minutes to sample your product– they’ll just head to the next booth.

You have to package your product somehow. Why not use a company that simplifies the event sampling process, creates a consistent and flavorful experience, and generates less environmental waste?

What will cannabis events look like in five years?

Planning for the future is always a good idea for brands looking to stay ahead of the game. And getting your name out in the cannabis event space early can help you when more exclusive events start popping up down the road. 

Current weed events are great practice for the massive ones that are likely to arise when federal legalization comes about and the industry REALLY begins to boom.

I asked Claire what she envisioned as the future of cannabis events. “I see larger events [cannabis festivals] occurring as often as they do now– a few times a year, maybe a few more,” she says. “But I also see way more smaller events like farmers markets popping up. With more awareness and acceptance towards cannabis, I see smaller consumption and brand activation events taking place more frequently.”