Friday January 5, 2018

By Erin Hiatt

Cannabis Events: Benefits, History and Cultural Significance 420 Culture

The cannabis industry continues to boom, bringing with it opportunities and advantages for businesses, 420 culture hounds, and savvy consumers. But all this activity can also bring some confusion simply because the industry is so vast. This poses several questions, especially for newcomers to legal states, cannabis culture and the marijuana industry in general.

Cannabis events, like Seattle HEMPFEST, the Boston Freedom Rally, Denver’s 420 Rally, and the Emerald Cup draw like-minded people from all over the country and even the world to commiserate, network, share ideas, get educated, and immerse themselves in the lifestyle and history surrounding cannabis.

Popular events like these have paved the way for smaller educational and networking happenings we see today, moving cannabis from a counterculture niche to the mainstream realm.

History of Cannabis Events

Even though cannabis events now pop up nearly every day, especially in legal states like Colorado, once upon a time, they were protest opportunities, frequently called Protestivals. Seattle HEMPFEST is likely the most famous and arguably the longest-running, beginning in 1991 essentially as a smoke-in, then adding music and food as crowds and demand grew.

Denver 420 Rally
Crowds gather at Denver's 420 rally, one of the state's most well-known events.

Over the years, as cannabis has increased in popularity and societal normalcy, politicians and celebrities have signed-on to events to share their views on cannabis culture and politics. Education on the plant and culture has also played a large part in festivals, and many advocacy organizations like the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) participate and share information on advocacy, laws, and provide an opportunity for canna-consumers to also become advocates.

Cannabis Events Today

Today, attending an industry event won’t get you arrested (hopefully!) as they have in the past, and they serve as opportunities for newcomers and industry pros alike to meet like-minded individuals who share the same cannabis enthusiasm.

Friends having fun at Denver's 420 Rally
Cannabis events are a fun way to celebrate marijuana culture with friends.

Now that cannabis events are proliferating the calendar, the current dilemma is where to begin! At PotGuide, our consummate, multi-state, event calendar has a comprehensive listing of cannabis events across the map to help people connect with organizations providing educational, social, and industry happenings. We even have a dedicated weekly events newsletter for anyone interested in receiving a rundown of cannabis events that will go straight to your inbox.

To sign up for PotGuide’s event newsletter, click here!

Featuring events in some of the legal recreational states, as well as other states like Arizona, Illinois, Hawaii, and Florida, there is quite literally something for everyone. Let’s take a look at some of the many benefits going to a cannabis event can offer.

The Benefits of Cannabis Events

If you have been to a cannabis-related event before, then you may have already experienced some of the takeaways and benefits that come with attending. From newcomers to connoisseurs alike, there are many worthwhile experiences to take part in at cannabis events.

    • Benefits for Cannabis Newcomers

      If you’re new to a legal state or just plain canna-curious, knowing the best dispensaries, local laws, or even meeting like-minded cannabis folks can be challenging. Cannabis events can easily connect you with locals who are in the know.

    • Advantages for Entrepreneurs

      The cannabis industry is quite vast and holds many industry opportunities, from those that touch the plant to ancillary businesses, like testing labs or software companies. Building a new venture is tough in any market, and networking with like-minded individuals could give business a boost.

    • For the Students of Cannabis

      Perhaps you’ve wondered what the differences are between industrial hemp and cannabis. Or maybe you’ve got an inner-green thumb longing to learn the secrets of an amazing cannabis grow. Still don’t know what the heck CBD actually is? There’s likely a class for that, knowledge to be gained, and friends to be made.

    • Connoisseurs and Newbies Alike

      There are big industry events and festivals like Denver’s 420 Rally, and conferences like the Cannabis Wedding Expo and the NoCo Hemp Expo. But more intimate events are also plentiful, providing even more opportunities to build networks, engage with like-minded folks, listen to industry experts, and get to know cannabis culture.

What if I Don’t Live in a Legal State?

If you live outside of these cannabis meccas, no worries! Many events are open to the public and welcome tourists to visit and enjoy the festivities.


To make sure you don’t miss any canna-happenings, be sure to sign up for the PotGuide newsletter. Then, check out our events calendars and find an event to hit up!

Have you been to any cannabis events? What was your experience?


Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt writes about cannabis, psychedelics, hemp, politics, and drug policy reform for THC Mag and Freedom Leaf. She has also written for AlterNet and Vice. Erin's work and industry insights have been featured as the hemp and media specialist for the Cannabis and Hemp Association and as a guest on "In The Know 420," speaking on federal and international drug policy. Erin's background is in the entertainment industry, where she worked as a print model and actress on stage, film, television, and commercials. Erin is an avid hiker, trekking much of the southwest, and is a proud member of Actors Equity. You can follow her work on Wordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.


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