Cannabis Industry Events: Then & Now

April 02, 2023 4 min read

The cannabis industry has undoubtedly experienced a significant decline in events and community since the COVID-19 pandemic. As one of the fastest-growing industries globally, cannabis has become a force to reckon with over the past two decades, creating an unparalleled ecosystem of trade shows, conferences, and festivals that have helped shape its growth and acceptance worldwide. 

From Amsterdam's annual High Times Cannabis Cup to California's Emerald Cup, these events have provided an essential platform for entrepreneurs, cannabis enthusiasts, and industry leaders to network, share knowledge, and showcase their product offerings.

However, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, these events' future has been uncertain, leaving many companies and stakeholders feeling lost and disconnected.

In this article, we delve into the decline of the cannabis industry events and community since the pandemic. We take a look at some of the top cannabis industry events from 2000-2020, their significance, and what they represent. We also examine the impact of Covid-19 on these events and what the future holds for the cannabis industry.

The Evolution of Cannabis Industry Events

The cannabis industry has come a long way since the legalization of medical marijuana in California in 1996. In the early stages, the industry was made up of a small group of cannabis activists, medical professionals, and entrepreneurs who saw the potential of the plant beyond its recreational use. However, as more states legalized marijuana, the industry grew exponentially, creating a vast ecosystem of players, including growers, retailers, manufacturers, and investors.

The expansion and evolution of the cannabis industry created a need for events and conferences that would bring together people with shared interests, create networking opportunities, and showcase new products and innovations. Companies started hosting events that ranged from small, intimate gatherings to large-scale industry trade shows.

By the early 2000s, the High Times Cannabis Cup had emerged as one of the most popular cannabis industry events. The event originated in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where cannabis enthusiasts from across the world would gather to celebrate the plant and crown the best strains of the year. The High Times Cannabis Cup quickly became a staple in the industry, attracting thousands of people each year.

Other notable cannabis industry events of the early 2000s included the Hempfest in Seattle, the National Marijuana Business Conference in Denver, and the Cannabis Business Expo in Portland. These events played a pivotal role in the industry's growth and acceptance, providing an opportunity for cannabis entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services and connect with potential clients and investors.

Cannabis Industry Events in the Modern Era

In recent years, the cannabis industry has experienced a significant shift as more states have legalized marijuana for adult-use. This has led to the emergence of new events tailored to the growing market, with events such as the Emerald Cup, the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo, and the Marijuana Business Conference becoming major fixtures in the industry.

The Emerald Cup, held annually in Santa Rosa, California, is one of the largest outdoor cannabis events in the world, attracting over 30,000 attendees annually. The event features music, talks, and competitions for the best cannabis strains and products, making it a must-attend event for cannabis enthusiasts across the state.

The Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo, founded in 2014, has grown to become one of the most significant cannabis industry events globally, attracting thousands of attendees from across the world. The event features exhibits, keynote speakers, and networking opportunities, making it ideal for entrepreneurs, investors, and companies looking to showcase their products and services.

The Marijuana Business Conference (MJBizCon) is another major cannabis event held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event attracts over 35,000 cannabis professionals, making it the largest cannabis industry event in the world. MJBizCon features education sessions, keynote speakers, and networking opportunities, providing a comprehensive experience for attendees.

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The Impact of Covid-19 on the Cannabis Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the cannabis industry, with many companies facing economic uncertainties and operational challenges. The pandemic has also led to the cancellation of numerous cannabis industry events, including some of the biggest and most popular ones.

In March 2020, the High Times Cannabis Cup, set to take place in Illinois, was postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic. Other notable events such as the International Cannabis Business Conference, the Spannabis conference in Spain, and the Indo Expo in Denver, Colorado, were also canceled or postponed indefinitely.

The pandemic's impact on the cannabis industry extends beyond the cancellation of events, with many businesses struggling to adapt to new regulations and supply chain disruptions.

The pandemic's economic fallout has also affected the financial viability of some cannabis companies, leading to layoffs and scaling back operations.

The Future of Cannabis Industry Events

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the cannabis industry remains resilient, with many companies adapting to new realities and seeking creative solutions to keep the industry thriving. Virtual events and webinars have become increasingly popular, providing an opportunity for businesses and industry leaders to connect and share knowledge.

However, many people within the industry remain optimistic about a return to in-person events.

2023 cannabis events


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