The Bella's Guide to Winning the Cannabis Conference Season

The Bella's Guide to Winning the Cannabis Conference Season

No gatekeeping here- we're laying our thoughts on where your need to be in 2024 for professional events.
winning trophy in pale pink and turquiose colors

Welcome, Bellas! I wanted to create something special just for you ā€“ a guide that feels like we're in the Bellaverse, seshing with iced coffee, chatting about about cannabis conferences and listening to Taylor Swift.

Looking back at my very first cannabis conference in 2021, I remember feeling completely unprepared and overwhelmed. From navigating the bustling main floor to the good and bad afterparties, it was a whole new world for me. Looking back, I wished I had a handy guide to help me navigate it all and know which conferences were must-attends. Now, I'm excited to pass on what I've learned to you.

So, whether you're a new cannabis professional, simply canna curious, or a seasoned stoner, I've got you covered. šŸŒæāœØ

Oh, and did I mention some super savvy tips for you about where to invest your budget? šŸ˜‰šŸ’ø

Rule #1 Be a Goal Getter

Define your goals: What are you definitively looking to get out of this? Simply aiming to network with industry leaders is too broad and vague.

  • First, identify if you're there to make money (sales, investors, new partnership, etc.), grow your brand presence and general networking, or simply because you want to go personally and have fun.
  • Take a thorough look at the vendors, brand, and the panel speakers/topics (if offered). While the hallways and expo floors are great for conversations, vendor relationships, and connecting, panels help you deepen your knowledge about specific topics. Whether you're seeking investment opportunities or hoping to gain insights into the latest trends and innovations, spend your time wisely.
  • Next, research two to three people/brands you'd like to meet and what your concrete goal with them is. Make sure to look up their names, backgrounds, and recent news, it's a sign of respect and professionalism.
  • Reach out ahead of the event to plan meetings can significantly enhance your chances of success, rather than simply relying solely on chance encounters during the event.

Tip: Conferences typically announce their speakers, participating companies, and vendors online well in advance, allowing for strategic planning and cross-promotion between brands and event organizers.

Bonus: For ticket holders, download Benzinga's Connect app, it's the perfect way to maximize your event's ROI. You can chat with and set meetings with all the attendees and speakers from the ease of your phone.

#2 Own Your Experience

Be honest about your experience level: Evaluate your level of expertise in the cannabis industry. Are you a seasoned professional looking to expand your knowledge, or are you just starting and seeking introductory insights, connections, and base knowledge?Ā 

  • First, how many years of actually working in cannabis do you have? Being interested in or having used cannabis for years is not the same as industry experience. Even if you are experienced expert in an outside field looking to get in, there's a learning curve to conquer.
  • Whether you're an investor with serious funds or a start-up with low cash but high potential, identifying the best playing field is important for a win. The right event at the wrong time can be a pivotal moment in your business's future. Take a good look at your options and see how they align with your vibe and vision. Set yourself up for success.
  • Selecting events according to our expertise isn't a matter of doubting our capabilities; rather, it's about making thoughtful choices that lay the groundwork for substantial accomplishments.
  • Consumption reminder that all events (except HOF) are NO CONSUMPTION on-site. Most people will bring their stash and seem to congregate offsite while networking.

Tip: Remember, from bud tenders to the boardroom, there's an event that's perfect for where you are now, and where you're going. The event may not be for you today but that doesn't mean it can't be the perfect event next year.

Bonus: Ditch the paper business cards and download the Hi.Hello app. It's a digital business card that's perfect for connecting and includes your picture, email, links, etc. Once your code is scanned, the person can send you their contact info as well. HiHello has a fantastic free plan so it's budget and eco friendly!

#3 Keep Your Budget Balanced

Bella on a Budget: It's cannabis, so we all know funding is low and expenses are high. When dollars are limited, choosing where and when to go because's a necessity, not an option.

  • First, set a realistic budget that includes not only the cost of the conference ticket but also travel expenses, accommodation, meals, and any additional activities you plan to participate in. Factor in your airport coffee, ride share costs, and any emergencies that might come up.
  • Local, Regional, or National conferences can make a world of difference in terms of cost and convenience. From the number of attendees to the level of sponsorships and tickets costs, where the event is is a key factor. It's more important than ever to remember your specific goals and not get caught up in what seems fun or popular. FOMO can be very real but better to miss out and not break the budget.
  • See if you qualify for scholarships. There are social equity, women owned, small business, and other scholarships waiting for you so don't be shy and apply! Women Grow has successfully worked with Benzinga, MJ Biz, CWBC expo, and more to help provide opportunities for women in cannabis.
  • Buy tickets early if you can. Look for early bird discounts or group rates to save money on tickets, and sign up for conference email lists so you don't miss out. Also consider sharing accommodations with someone you feel comfortable with to cut down on hotel costs (a good friend or colleague). From ride shares to the hotel room, splitting costs can save you up to 50% or more.

Tip: Spend what you can comfortably afford and don't take a risk on borrowed money.

Bonus: Download our free 2024 CBL Calendar Template to give you an organized head start. It's a yearly cannabis calendar for major events, social media scheduling, budgeting, and more!


MJ Unpacked

Next Event: April 9-11th, 2024

Where: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, NJ


At MJ Unpacked, not only are you surrounded by good vibes and shared values, but you also get access to the right connections that can help your THC brand grow. It's a carefully curated event for brands, where you can meet industry leaders, potential partners, and clients who can take your business to the next level. So, if you're a new brand looking to make waves in the cannabis industry, attending MJ Unpacked is a no-brainer!

Founded by Kim and George Jage, two amazing individuals who are deeply committed to their values and positivity, the team behind MJ Unpacked infuses these principles into every aspect of the event. From the way they interact with attendees and exhibitors to the content they curate and the atmosphere they cultivate, their dedication to fostering a positive and inclusive environment shines through.

It's simply a fantastic event for those interested in cannabis CPG, buying or selling.

Good for: Showcasing new and established brands, dispensary and retail executives, investors. If you're looking to become a multi state brand, this is the key conference to attend!

Ticket Cost: Base tickets start at $99 and go up to $299. You can purchase additional upgrades for networking and education starting at $29+. This is an industry only event and attendance is exclusive to cannabis retail and brand executives, with the title manager and above, R&D and licensed lab professionals working directly in research, and investors actively investing in the space

Scholarships: They have a range of scholarship, so apply for a 50% off discount here.

Dress code: Business casual from blazers and jeans to button downs and baseball hats. Add in comfortable footwear for walking around.

Additional Info: Check out and add on their Official MJ Unpacked Afterparty powered by Farechild Events.

Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference

Next Event: April 16-17th, 2024

Where: Hollywood Beach, FL


The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is an event I never miss because it's the destination for cannabis investors, entrepreneurs, and industry professionals looking to network and stay ahead of the game. I love going to Benzinga and connecting with so many amazing women and men doing big things nationally. They intentionally do a great job of making sure it feels open and welcome and diverse. The air sizzles with success and smiles as the panels are packed with attentive listeners.

It's the perfect size event to connect with key players in the industry, discover the latest trends and innovations, and gain valuable insights to help you succeed in the cannabis market. With a serious range of expert speakers, panel discussions, and networking events, it's a must-attend event for anyone serious about cannabis investing and entrepreneurship.

Make sure you catch up with the lovely brothers, Patrick Lane and Elliot Lane and do not miss seeing the wonderful writer/roving reporter Javier Hasse.

Good for: Mid to Senior Level, C-Suite. This conference isn't ideal for new bud tenders or new start ups; it's geared towards investors, entrepreneurs, and professionals ready to take their successful cannabis ventures to the next level.

Cost: Tickets start at $347 and go up. Benzinga thoughtfully provides a delicious breakfast and lunch both days.

Scholarships: Benzinga does an amazing job of offering opportunities and selecting their scholarship recipients. They have ones for women owned businesses, as well as minority/BIPOC owned social equity initiatives here.

Dress code: Definitely more business then casual. Jeans acceptable but a button down, collar, or similar is the vibe. I'd say overdress versus underdress here. Leave your baseball cap at home.

Additional Info: They also have a fantastic September conference in Chicago. If you subscribe to their email and social, you can grab $99 tix when you buy early.

Hall of Flowers

Next Event: September 20-21, 2024

Where: Sonoma, CA


Hall of Flowers is the perfect B2B cannabis trade show for cannabis enthusiasts, industry professionals, and entrepreneurs looking to connect with top brands and innovators in the California and West Coast industry. The expo features a curated selection of exhibitors showcasing the latest cannabis products, strains, and technologies. Enjoy connecting with old friends, networking with new ones, and learning the latest innovations. A great way to plan is by using their online ENGAGE program to set up meetings beforehand.

This is truly the most beautiful cannabis trade show and it allows consumption on-site. To truly experience the products in a normalized environment is above and beyond and sets the standards for the future of event. HOF meticulously vets the showcased brands, establishing a trustworthy and verified ecosystem that ensures the buyers feel confident their choices. They successfully achieve a holistic retail experience that creates a one of a kind sensory event to be remembered for years.

Good for: With a gorgeous backdrop, sunshine, and some of the best brands on the business, this event is a must if you're a brand or buyer.

Cost: Complimentary for verified buyers. Brands pay to exhibit but there is no cost to attend. This is an industry only event.

Scholarships: n/a

Dress code: Casual and comfortable, allowing attendees to focus on the experience rather than formalities. It's Cali so dress functional and fashionable.

Additional Info: They also have a Toronto, Canada conference in June for those looking to the North for cannabis opportunities.


Next event: June 5 ā€“ 6, 2024

Where: New York City, NY


The CWCB Expo in New York is a fantastic opportunity for anyone passionate about the East Coast cannabis industry to learn, connect, and grow. If you're looking to keep with the latest innovations, network with industry leaders, and gain valuable insights on NY, MA, NJ, and more.

When in a newer market, this is a great place to meet people at all levels. You're going to see everything from cultivation to career recruiters, so it's really for every level of attendees. Whether canna curious, a bud tender, or a legacy grower, this is a worthwhile event to see the expanding landscape.

Good for: The floor price makes it accessible for any level of experience, so this is must for the East Coast Tri-State.

Cost: Tickets start at $99 and go up.

Scholarships: Women owned businesses, as well as minority/BIPOC owned social equity initiatives can apply here.

Dress code: Friday Business casual.



Next event: Dec. 3-6th, 2024

Where: Las Vegas, NV


While this is arguably the Super Bowl of cannabis conferences, it's definitely about quantity over quality. In all honesty, this is a good show for West Coast locals to attend or brands with budget to bring their employees and see what's happening. The actual floor is huge, overwhelming, and good if you need machinery, lights, and cultivation supplies. It's an expensive ticket with little ROI besides a large exhibit hall and mass amounts of people. It tends to cater more to men, and as a woman, I've experienced uncomfortable advances or behavior that are said to be quite common.

Overall, this is great for companies, larger groups, and people who enjoy the more party filed side of cannabis. It's all about the Vegas location. It's an event to be seen and the after parties are always in high demand.

Cost: Tickets start at $399 and go up. There are additional events and experiences you can add on a la carte.

Scholarships: They proved a Social Equity Scholarship Fund you can apply for.

Dress code: Everything goes.

Additional Info: MJBiz Week is definitely a thing! Check out all the pre and post events for some some amazing parties, events, and networking.


I truly hope this guide serves as a compass on your journey, guiding you toward your cannabis dreams while keeping your budget in check. The ultimate aim is to demystify these events, sharing my knowledge and experiences openly, and break down any barriers that might stand in your path.

My wish is for it to empower you to flourish and navigate through the cannabis conference world with confidence, helping you achieve your goals and alleviating any anxiety along the way.

And don't forget to keep an eye out for the latest updates and events from Cannabis Business Times ā€“ they'll help you stay in the loop and make the most of every opportunity that comes your way! šŸŒæāœØ

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