It seems like every day there is a new marijuana convention being promoted somewhere around the country. The emergence of legal marijuana has led to the convention industry becoming very saturated. This has led to many attendees and companies feeling let down when they have left the convention. I know this because I have attended several cannabis conferences (over 10) during the last year. My experiences at these conventions has been mixed. Some of them were great. Some of them were not. The degree as to how these conventions vary is remarkable, specifically related to the number and type of attendees.
Who organizes the best conventions?
The answer to this question will vary from person to person and it depends on what you want to accomplish at the convention and how much you are willing to spend.
Marijuana Business Daily- They organize the best marijuana business conventions. If you are someone who owns or works for a cannabis business or if you want to start a cannabis business, you should attend this convention. Tickets to attend the convention cost $800. Marijuana Business Daily organizes this event twice a year during May (in Chicago) and November (in Las Vegas).
NORML- NORML organizes a number of conventions and festivals around the country throughout the year. The organization has chapters all over the country and the conventions are usually (if not always) free to attend.
Cannabis Career Institute- The Cannabis Career Institute holds conferences every month in various states around the country. The organization’s events are usually in states where a legal marijuana market exists or is coming soon. There is a one-time fee to attend (not very costly) and after you pay the fee you can attend conferences anytime. Due to the frequency of its conferences, attendee turnout may vary significantly.
High Times Cannabis Cup- This is one of the most well-known conferences and it always draws a crowd. High Times hosts the Cannabis Cup a few times a year in Denver, Seattle and Amsterdam.
What to look into before purchasing a ticket
Anyone who is interested in attending a marijuana convention should look into the following features before attending:
Which organization is hosting the convention: This is a very important factor when determining whether or not you should be attending. It is no surprise that some organizations are better than others, but you would be surprised to find out the degree as to which these organizations vary.
Location, Location, Location: Conventions that are held in a state with a legal marijuana market will have a much larger turnout than states where it is illegal, or states where marijuana is on the ballot. The rationale behind this is simple: There are more marijuana supporters in states where a legal marijuana market exists.
How long has the convention been in existence: Is this the organization’s first convention in that city or its fourth. Conventions tend to see more attendees year over year. For example, the Marijuana Business Daily Conference and Expo saw its number of attendees grow by nearly 300% from 2013 to 2014. You can also conclude that the attendee growth has be due to the overall support for marijuana grew substantially from 2013 to 2014, but experience definitely plays a role.
What is the convention’s theme: This factor plays an important role because some themes draw a larger crowd than others. More people want to attend a dispensary convention than a pharmaceutical convention. There is just simply a larger target market.
Who is the keynote speaker, is there a keynote speaker: This plays a major role in overall success of a convention from both an attendee and exhibitor perspective. A convention will see more attendees if they have a well-known keynote speaker who fits the purpose of the convention. I would expect more marijuana users to attend a convention where Willie Nelson is the keynote speaker. This would in turn drive more traffic to the exhibitors’ booth setups at the convention.