2020 was quite an eventful year. Unfortunately, it was not the year for hosting large-attendance events. With weed legalization in its infancy in Canada and the United States, it felt like a crucial year lost for fans of cannabis and those looking to network or get their foot in the industry side of marijuana. Fortunately, 2021 started with a bang and will have some in-person and virtual fun for stoners and industry professionals in store.
The cannabis industry provides no shortage of business expos and conferences in Canada and the United States, where legalization has quickly become the norm. The expos on this list will be perfect for keeping up to date and expanding your network. Most expos and conferences will be host to unique seminars and inspiring innovations. Some expos are entirely focused on the business side of cannabis. There are expos from coast to coast, with many of them hosting twin events in multiple locations. You are likely to be located near at least one of these events.
There are also a few social events listed below. What is weed for if not enjoying it out with friends? Be sure to follow your preferred local source of weed news for any new events announced in your town. The calendars cited at the end of this list should be updated as the year goes on.
The virtual events are perfect for people trying to social distance. They also cover an array of topics, such as sustainability and cannabis law. Virtual events are typically cheaper and easier to attend. Spark up a joint and log into one of these events.
Please be advised to make safety a priority and refrain from attending any of these events if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or are particularly susceptible to the effects of the disease. It is imperative to check with each of the events listed as they get closer to happening to ensure nothing in this article has changed. With that in mind, let the good times roll.
Cannabis Expo — Calgary and Edmonton
When: Feb. 26–28 and April 24–25
Where: BMO Centre, Calgary (February) and Edmonton Expo Centre, Edmonton (April)
What: Join industry leaders for a few days as they present innovations in the world of cannabis. Whether you are part of the industry and looking to expand your business connections or enjoy keeping up on the cutting edge, this event is the perfect place to get your fix. The mission of the Cannabis Expo is to showcase the marijuana industry as one of professionalism and maturity.
Attend seminars by top-level speakers, like CEOs, professional chefs, doctors, and medical researchers. The lectures will include topics ranging from cooking with weed to growing at home to the relationship of weed to the workplace. These in-depth looks at a variety of cannabis topics seem unique to this expo.
There will also be industry vendors exhibiting new and exciting contributions to the world of weed and weed-related products. You will be seeing new strains, extracts, and methods of consuming weed on display, along with other weed-related creative and business endeavours.
All this cannabis-related technology and research will be on display for two exciting, low-cost weekends in Alberta. Conveniently hosted in two different cities, the Cannabis Expo is a must-see event.
Grow Up Cannabis Conference and Expo
When: June 14–16
Where: Victoria Conference Centre, Victoria
What: This weekend will feature knowledgeable industry professionals discussing innovations in the science of growing and extracting cannabis. Grow your list of contacts with the thousands of other conference delegates in attendance and learn from the hundreds of high-profile speakers slated to speak. Come equipped with a readiness to learn and have fun.
On display will be the newest strains and extracted marijuana Canada has to offer, so be prepared to have your taste buds and mind blown. The conference is sponsored by Extracts magazine, so you know it should be up to your standards.
This year, Victoria Grow Up Expo will also feature the Grow Up Awards Gala. This is the second year Grow Up will be having these awards, and by bringing them to Victoria, organizers hope to feature more West Coast growers and suppliers.
International Cannabis Business Conference
Where: Westin Bayshore Hotel, Vancouver
Policymakers and entrepreneurs in the world of marijuana will gather at the ICBC. This is part of an international series of events. ICBC has sister events occurring in Zurich and Berlin. It is for people that are serious about the cannabis industry. ICBC is the place to find leads on investment opportunities and potential new business partners.
This event has a clear focus on improving industry growth. It is for business-minded cannabis professionals. You will find investment opportunities and knowledge about how to have weed work for you. ICBC even hosts an investment forum in Europe, where accredited investors meet with entrepreneurs looking to raise capital.
Speakers at ICBC events have included NBA champions, veteran California cannabis lawmakers, and executives from different cannabis companies. It seems like a promising event for 2021.
When: March 3–4
Where: Los Angeles Convention Center, South Hall G, Los Angeles
What: The Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition is an expo by industry professionals for industry professionals. This event also repeats at different times and locations. The first event of the year is in Los Angeles, with other events in New York (May 27–29) and Boston (Nov. 3–4).
The CWCBExpo is a who’s who of the cannabis industry. This is where professional researchers, growers, and anyone with a relationship to the world of legalized marijuana will meet to discuss the current happenings and future direction of this growing industry. CWCBExpo promises knowledgeable speakers and informative exhibitions. Located in Los Angeles, there are bound to be many enthusiastic attendees, as well. This is a great networking opportunity and a great place to expand your knowledge of the marijuana industry.
Grow Up Cannabis Conference and Expo
When: Sept. 1–3
Where: Scotiabank Convention Centre, Niagara Falls
What: Join growers, suppliers, extraction device manufacturers, and more industry professionals for a weekend of seminars focused on growing and extraction. This is Grow Up’s East Coast counterpart to the summertime conference in Victoria.
Come here to get updated on the latest technologies and methods associated with cannabis horticulture. You will also be able to try new strains and concentrates. This event seems to have a focus on extracts. It is sponsored by Extract magazine. It will also feature a Grow Up Extraction Zone, where, judging by the name, you will be able to learn and experience all things THC extract. This weekend should prove to be both fun and informative.
Thursday Night Smokedown Comedy Show
When: Every Thursday Night
Where: Vapor Central, Toronto
What: What sounds better than getting stoned and listening to some stoner stand-up? Perhaps live stoner stand-up. What sounds better than that? How about comedy at a venue where you do not have to hide that you are smoking?
This weekly indoor comedy show will have you geeking in more ways than one. Vapor Central hosts a weekly 420-friendly comedy night on Thursdays. If you are looking for something fun to do after work or are just on vacation in Toronto, look no further. Bring friends, light up, and enjoy a healthy laugh.
Vapor Central is a vapour lounge located in Toronto. $5 per day allows you to use their Volcano or e-nail dab bar. They have snacks and sodas, too. It seems like a dope spot to stop at if you are in Toronto in general.
Super Smash Saturdays
When: Every Saturday Night
Where: Hotbox Lounge and Shop, Toronto
What: This weekly tournament at Hotbox Cafe invites casual “Super Smash Bros” players to compete for glory (and a $25 gift card to Iceman Video Games). This tournament can get heated, but it is always fun. The rules are BYOP (bring your own piece, presumably, though Hotbox claims to sell them) and bring your best attitude. It is hosted by local comedian Will Noye, so be prepared to laugh, too. Attendance is free, but tournament admission is $5.
Hotbox Lounge and Shop is home to The POTio, a cannabis lounge where people can delight in smoking with friends. Bring some weed and get ready for a night of fun. The store partnered with Iceman Video Games, another local business, to put this tournament together. It is worth checking out Hotbox’s website for more events and information, as they appear to have other semiregular social events that are weed-friendly.
Montreal Cannabis Expo
When: Feb. 2–3
Where: Palais des Congres, Montreal
What: The Montreal Cannabis Expo is a place where cannabis industry professionals meet to discuss all things cannabis. It takes place at the beautiful Palais des Congres (Montreal’s Convention Centre). Growers, investors, media, and people from all walks of the world of cannabis can enjoy exciting talks from industry leaders and demonstrations of new weed innovations. There will also be discussions about recent cannabis medical research.
This event is another expo if you are interested in the business and policy side of cannabis. This year, the expo will also include a Cannabis and Healthcare Conference. In years past, speakers have included doctors and company executives. This event is another that will afford a unique networking opportunity. Follow their website for updates.
Cannabis Act Review
When: Jan. 20 (11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. MST), Feb. 3, and Feb. 17
What: For those Canadians interested in the lawmaking side of cannabis, this event will prove interesting. The review of the Cannabis Act was launched on Oct. 17, 2020. It was launched on the second anniversary of the legalization of weed in Canada. This review of the law was included in the original language of the cannabis act as compulsory. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is required to conduct this review. They chose Eric Foster to lead the charge owing to his expertise in cannabis law.
Foster is a Dentons Canada legal partner. He leads their cannabis practice, which is why he was chosen to lead the law review. The format of this review includes six roundtable discussions with professionals in relevant fields.
The first three discussions have already taken place. The first discussion was on Health Canada service standards, licensing, and regulatory burden. The second involved economic development and environmental sustainability. The third was a discussion about marketing, promotion, and labeling.
The upcoming discussions will occur in 2021. The first is on Jan. 20 and will pertain to medical cannabis and related products. Following that is a meeting about the illegal cannabis market and how to prevent money laundering on Feb. 3. The final roundtable will be on Feb. 17 and will involve experts from ancillary businesses. To tune into these discussions, follow the registration link above.
Virtual Roundtable: Promoting Sustainability in the Cannabis Industry
When: Jan. 14 (11 a.m. to noon MST)
Where: Find out how to register here.
What: The Cannabis Council of Canada’s Tri-Chair Sustainability Caucus will host this virtual discussion focused on sustainability in the cannabis industry. Please attend if you are interested in seeing cannabis grown conscientiously.
The Cannabis Council’s Sustainability Caucus’ mission is to focus on environmentally responsible ways of promoting growth in the industry. This can and should be done at every level of the industry.
They believe that environmental sustainability is also key to sustainable economic growth. Keeping growing regions stable will help keep the cannabis business alive and prospering. This is good for everybody: entrepreneurs, cannabis consumers, and medical patients. The cannabis industry depends on sustaining life on this planet and should be active in dealing with climate change. If you are passionate about an equitable world and quality marijuana, please consider attending.
Hopefully, something on this list looked interesting. From the array of expos, social events, and virtual conferences, 2021 will be an exciting year for cannabis. Find something you enjoy and pencil it into your calendar. Do not wait to expand your knowledge in the world of marijuana.