Canna Events to Keep an Eye On

Stephen Andrews
22 Jun 2023

From Seattle to Barcelona, from cups, fairs, trade shows, conferences, network events and protest movements, these annual events have earned a special place in cannabis culture and the canna business world. Whether you own a cannabis enterprise yourself or you're are just the occasional weekend user who likes to toke and chill with some weed, here are some of the events you should definitely visit if you have the chance.

Fairs and Trade Shows

The MJBizCon, Las Vegas

Each winter, the Las Vegas Convention Center hosts one of the most exciting cannabis events in the US. The MJBzConf is a must-visit venture for all brands hailing from every segment of the industry. The trade show attracts over 500 exhibitors. Participants showcase their brands, novelties and latest tech to audiences ranging from buyers, retailers, business professionals and recreational users. The three-day conference and accompanying forums that are part of MJBizCon gather in one place the most influential names in Cannabis, innovators and CEOs alike, discussing the hot topics of the day and shaping the future of the industry. 

CannaCon, Detroit

Croptober is that time of the year when all the hard work comes to fruition — it's time for harvest. But also when growers can visit the CannaCon, one of the most significant business and networking events primarily focused on farmers. The event is taking place in multiple cities, including Chicago, Detroit, Oklahoma City and New York. The CannaCon trade show attracts approximately 20,000 and 500 exhibitors each edition. So, you don't want to miss it if your business is about cultivating cannabis. 

Spannabis, Barcelona

Spannabis is the biggest cannabis event hosted in Europe. It has been held in Barcelona since 2002. Visitors at the Spannabis fair can find various products like hemp cosmetics, footwear, building material, recreational use products, as well as seeds and tech for growing. Spannabis is complemented with conferences and lectures that discuss the use of cannabis, the latest research, consumption trends and risks. It's usually held in March, and though off the tourist season, it's a great excuse to arrange an early spring trip to Spain. 

CannaTrade, Bern

CannaTrade is an international hemp fair and festival hosted each summer in Switzerland. Held at the Exhibition Centre BEA Expo in Bern, the event gathers over 150 exhibitors from all over the world who come to present their tried-and-tested products, novelties and innovations. Those who are up for business can join the Business Lounge at CannaTrade. Those who simply want to see and taste some of the goodies can drop by the Chillout Area for all visitors. Among the festival's highlights is the excellent hemp cuisine presented at one of the events. 

Cannabis Cups

The Emerald Cup

It began as a friendly contest almost two decades ago, and now it's one of the most famous cannabis cups in the US and beyond. Rooted in the rugged mountains of Northern California's Emerald Triangle, the cup has stayed true to its tradition. Every year the Emerald Cup Awards cherish the plant, the culture around cannabis, and the farmers who bring it to harvest each year. Several events are part of this initiative, including the Emerald Cup Annual Competition, the Awards Show and the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball. Without a doubt, it's California's biggest annual celebration of weed. 

The HighLife Cannabis Cup

First hosted in 1994, the HighLife Cup takes place in the Netherlands and is one of Europe's longest-running cannabis cups. It's held each summer so it's a great excuse to visit Amsterdam. The cup's judging process involves two months period where 15 connoisseurs blind test each and every strain. The High Life Cup sets the standard for the quality of buds and hash sold throughout Amsterdam's coffee shops and beyond. Check out some of the highlights of this year's edition on the link here

The CannaSwissCup

This European Cup debuted in 1998 and rewards the best Swiss cannabis cultivars. The early festival editions focused on the best outdoor strains grown in Switzerland, where the jury would make its picks based on taste and appearance. Only six cannabis strains were presented in the first year of the cup, but over the years, the event evolved and got bigger. The CannaSwissCup is held each summer, with a hiatus between 2006 and 2017. The festival was revived thanks to Swiss growers who launched legal cannabis flowers as substitutes for tobacco on the country's market. 


The Ann Arbor Hash Bash

Last year, Michigan's Ann Arbor Hash Bash celebrated its 50th anniversary. The Hash Bash has a special place in weed culture and history. It started as a protest against rigid drug laws at the peak of Nixon's administration. The Hash Bash was initially held every April 1 but has since changed to the first Saturday of April at noon, with the annual gathering taking place on the University of Michigan Diag grounds. Usually, there are speeches, live music, and the occasional civil disobedience. The event still sends the same message as it did before: we want real reform in federal, state and local marijuana laws. 

Seattle Hempfest

Another voice in the fight to repeal cannabis prohibition is Seattle Hempfest. It started in 1991 originally as the "Washington Hemp Expo," with the first edition being attended by around 500 pot smokers. In the 1997 edition of the event, as many as 60 people were cited for the illegal use of marijuana. Seattle Hempfest today is one of the nation's most important annual gatherings advocating the legalization of weed. Famous artists and politicians regularly headline the event. It's held the third weekend in August each year in Myrtle Edwards and Centennial Parks on the Seattle waterfront. 

Stephen Andrews