Top 7 Cannabis Festivals Worldwide in 2024: A Journey Through Marijuana Advocacy

January 08, 2024

As the global movement towards legalizing marijuana gains momentum, a fascinating trend has emerged: a flourishing calendar of marijuana festivals and events. These gatherings are not just celebrations; they're powerful platforms that bring together communities to share knowledge, advocate for political legitimacy, and enjoy the freedoms associated with the cannabis movement. This trend reflects a broader shift in societal attitudes and legal perspectives on cannabis.

In this article, we spotlight 7 of the most prominent cannabis festivals, parties, conferences, and events around the globe. From the iconic High Times Cannabis Cup with its competitive edge and educational thrust, to the Seattle HEMPFEST's blend of activism and celebration, each event is unique in its mission and experience. Whether you're a cannabis enthusiast, industry professional, or simply curious about the evolving cannabis culture, these events offer a window into the vibrant and diverse world of cannabis. Read on to discover key details about these must-attend events, their locations, and what makes each of them a significant fixture in the cannabis community calendar.

High Times Cannabis Cup (Multiple Locations)

The HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup, first held in Amsterdam in 1988, is the premier global festival and trade show celebrating cannabis culture. It features competitions, seminars, expositions, and product showcases. Competitors participate in various categories like Flowers, Concentrates, CBD, and Edibles, with regional winners advancing to the World Championship Cannabis Cup.

In 2024, the Cup will occur in two major U.S. locations. In California, it's scheduled for August at various sites, highlighting competitions, music, and educational events. In Detroit, Michigan, the event is set for November, offering opportunities to explore cannabis trends, with competitions, seminars, workshops, and exhibits of industry-related products and services.

Originating in Amsterdam, the Cup has expanded to the U.S. and other countries, reflecting the growing acceptance of medical and recreational marijuana. It's a key event for cannabis enthusiasts, industry professionals, and newcomers alike.

Seattle HEMPFEST (Seattle, WA)

The Seattle HEMPFEST, known as the world's largest annual cannabis reform rally, is a seminal event in the cannabis culture and activism scene. Since its inception in 1991, it has been a cornerstone of free speech and advocacy for the repeal of cannabis prohibition. Taking place traditionally on the third weekend of August, the 2024 event is expected to follow suit. Seattle HEMPFEST typically occupies Myrtle Edwards and Centennial Parks along the Seattle waterfront, offering a picturesque setting for its diverse range of educational and entertainment activities.

In 2024, these parks, including the Olympic Sculpture Park, are anticipated to be the venues again, although official confirmation and exact dates are still pending. The festival's ethos centers on educating the public about cannabis and advocating for legal reforms, making it a unique blend of protest and celebration. As for the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup, a definitive date and location for the 2024 event were not found, suggesting that detailed plans might not yet be available or publicized.

The Emerald Cup (Northern California)

The Emerald Cup, California's longest-running and most authentic cannabis culture and quality celebration, is set to mark its 20th anniversary in 2024. This distinguished event is known as "The Academy Awards of Cannabis," showcasing the best in cannabis cultivation and culture. The 2024 Emerald Cup will be held on May 4-5 at the historic Henry J. Kaiser Center for the Arts in Oakland, California, by the scenic Lake Merritt. 

The competition at the heart of the Emerald Cup annually evaluates hundreds of entries across more than four dozen unique categories. Over 100 official judges, thoughtfully selected, spend over a month analyzing entries and lab tests to determine the finest cannabis flowers, edibles, drinks, vape carts, topicals, concentrates, and more. This meticulous judging process culminates in the Emerald Cup Awards ceremony, where the winners are announced.

The Emerald Cup is more than just a competition; it's a comprehensive celebration of the cannabis community. The event includes a two-day festival featuring music, education, food, and the Emerald Cup Craft Cannabis Marketplace, a hub for cannabis enthusiasts and industry professionals. The event provides a transparent and trusted platform for California's top cultivators, extractors, and product creators to showcase their best work.

Now in its 20th year, the Emerald Cup continues to offer a unique entheogenic experience for competitors, judges, speakers, and guests, making it a must-attend event for anyone interested in cannabis culture and industry advancements.

New England Cannabis Convention (Boston, MA)

The New England Cannabis Convention (NECANN) in Boston is a major event in the cannabis industry, especially in the New England region. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2024, NECANN is expanding to accommodate unprecedented demand. This expansion includes the addition of a third exhibit hall and a more extensive array of programming and workshops.

Set to take place on March 22-23, 2024, the convention will be held at the Hynes Convention Center, located at 900 Boylston Street, Boston, MA. This venue is known for hosting large-scale events and is well-suited to accommodate the diverse range of exhibits and activities planned for the convention.

NECANN has become a key platform for professionals, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts in the cannabis industry to network, learn, and explore the latest trends and developments. Its comprehensive program is expected to cover various aspects of the cannabis industry, from cultivation and production to legal and regulatory issues. The event also serves as a hub for innovation and education, providing attendees with valuable insights and opportunities to engage with industry leaders.

Tickets for the event are available for purchase online, and on-site tickets can also be bought for an additional fee. The "Exhibit Hall Only" registrations are valid for both days of the event, offering attendees ample time to explore all that NECANN has to offer.

National Cannabis Festival (Washington D.C.)

The National Cannabis Festival, first held in 2015, is a unique event celebrating the progress of marijuana legalization in Washington, D.C. and across the United States. Created by a group of cannabis enthusiasts, the festival acknowledges the efforts of non-profit groups working towards ending marijuana prohibition. The 2024 National Cannabis Festival is scheduled for April 19 & 20 at the RFK Stadium Grounds in Washington, D.C. This event is a full-day celebration of music, culture, and activism, featuring various activities including concert performances, an exhibitor fair, Grower’s World, education programs, and a Munchies Zone.

The festival's first edition showcased a diverse cannabis community with a full-day concert headlined by hip-hop legends, remarks from members of Congress, and a range of activities such as education sessions, yoga, games, contests, food, and drinks. This event, held near the U.S. Capitol Building, emphasized the diversity in age and culture within the cannabis community.

An integral part of the festival is the main stage and Policy Summit, which features the voices of activists, advocacy partners, cannabis experts, community leaders, lawmakers, and veterans' groups. This component highlights the festival's commitment to both celebration and serious discourse about cannabis policy and its social implications.

Hanfparade (Berlin, Germany)

The Hanfparade, Germany's largest and most traditional cannabis march, is set to take place on August 10, 2024, in Berlin. Established in 1997, it draws thousands of participants, with over 8000 attendees in 2022. The parade serves as a platform for advocating cannabis as a medicine, a natural resource, and a recreational drug, highlighting the plant's diverse uses and benefits.

In 2024, Hanfparade aims to counteract the deficit of information regarding cannabis among the population, emphasizing education in various areas. The event seeks to rekindle interest in hemp for its extensive utility, while also addressing and reducing the stigma and misconceptions surrounding it. The parade features a large commercial hemp area and a hemp mile with information booths, showcasing the full product range of this versatile plant.

Moreover, the Hanfparade addresses issues related to medical cannabis in Germany. Despite legal coverage by health insurances since 2017, acquiring medical cannabis remains a bureaucratic challenge. The event advocates for reduced bureaucracy and the right for individuals to grow their own medical hemp. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of responsible cannabis use and the need for regulation and effective youth protection, arguing that the current prohibition has more detrimental effects than the consumption itself.

Cannabis Liberation Day (Amsterdam, Holland)

Cannabis Liberation Day in Amsterdam, also known as Holland's biggest cannabis event, was a free, day-long celebration that took place in the city's Flevopark. This event was renowned for its vibrant atmosphere, featuring bands, DJs, a hemp market, and unique activities like a medical cannabis bicycle tour and a film festival. It served as a significant celebration of international cannabis culture, showcasing the benefits of the plant and advocating for its tolerance and wider use, particularly of hemp as a durable resource.

However, it's important to note that the last Cannabis Liberation Day was held in 2018, and there has been no continuation of the event since then. The festival had a notable run starting from 2009, with its final year marking its tenth edition. During its time, it was an accessible event, with reasonable pricing for food and drinks, and its timing typically ran from the afternoon into the evening. Many visitors combined their attendance at the event with exploring the broader offerings of Amsterdam.

As of now, there are no plans or announcements regarding the revival of Cannabis Liberation Day in Amsterdam for 2024. The event's history and its significance in celebrating and advocating for cannabis culture remain a notable part of Amsterdam's rich relationship with cannabis. 


In conclusion, the rise of cannabis festivals and events worldwide is a testament to the growing momentum towards marijuana legalization. These gatherings, far from being mere celebrations, serve as influential platforms for community engagement, knowledge sharing, and political advocacy. They reflect a significant shift in societal attitudes and legal perspectives towards cannabis, signaling its increasing acceptance.

Our exploration of seven prominent cannabis events highlights the diverse and dynamic nature of the global cannabis community. From the competitive and educational spirit of the High Times Cannabis Cup to the activism-infused Seattle HEMPFEST, each festival offers a unique experience. They cater to a wide audience, including enthusiasts, industry professionals, and the cannabis-curious, providing insights into the multifaceted world of cannabis.

These events, occurring in various global locations, underscore the importance of cannabis in contemporary culture and politics. They offer enriching experiences that blend enjoyment with enlightenment, celebration with advocacy. As the cannabis movement continues to evolve, these festivals and events will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping public perception and policy, marking important dates in the cannabis community's calendar.

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