How to Plan a Successful Dispensary Event

dispensary event

Hosting an event at your dispensary is one of the fastest ways to increase your cannabis customer base, showcase your store, and stir up buzz for your business.

But all events are not created equal. If you don’t put the right planning and effort in, you won’t see the results you want.

Read on for dispensary event inspiration, and 8 important steps to take your event from idea → plan → well-executed success.

Dispensary event examples

There are endless ideas for events you can hold at your cannabis dispensary. Below are some creative options that will help your store stand out.

Educational events

Consume education cannabis event

Cannabis consumers need reliable information. An education-based event provides your audience with a fun, interesting way to learn about cannabis. If your state allows for home growing, consider hosting a grower Q&A event either with your own grower or with a grower from a brand you carry.

Consume Cannabis regularly holds cannabis classes that feature topics such as "Chronic Pain," "All About Edibles," and "Inhale, Exhale, Relief."

You can also host classes that highlight specific brands or consumption methods to educate your customers on finding the best cannabis products for their particular needs and goals.

Holiday events

Many of cannabis’ top sales days come during the holidays.

The most popular cannabis-specific holidays are:

  • 420

  • 710

  • Green Wednesday

Dispensaries can also host events to celebrate national holidays or month-long observances, such as:

  • New Year’s Eve

  • Black History Month

  • Valentine's Day

  • Memorial Day

  • Pride Month

  • Juneteenth

  • July 4th

  • Labor Day

For inspiration, check out these 31 holiday promotions for cannabis retailers.

Meet and greets

Dispensary meet and greet

Meet and greets with cannabis influencers, local celebrities, and even cannabis-friendly politicians running for office are an enticing way to get more people into your dispensary and win them over to become loyal customers.

There’s nothing more fun than sharing an edible, concentrate, or other THC/CBD product with someone famous – or at least getting a photo or autograph!

March and Ash had Tommy Chong available at their shop for a meet and greet. Tommy was in-store and available for customers to meet with.

This style of event is also an effective way to establish your brand reputation. The special guest at your meet and greet will imply what type of brand you are. Your dispensary may be driven by a cause, focused on medical benefits or creating immersive brand experiences — whatever it may be, make sure your guest and your brand are aligned.

Industry nights

A cannabis industry night is a great way for those who work in cannabis to meet up, network, share stories, and generally have a good time together.

Secret Sesh hosted an industry night featuring multiple domes of immersive art to walk through and experience, as well as 20 of California’s top licensed cannabis brands exhibiting their products. The event was invite-only and exclusive to those in the cannabis industry.

If your state allows for cannabis consumption lounges, you could consider partnering with a local consumption lounge to host a fun cannabis-friendly event. Otherwise, you can host the event at your dispensary or consider bars, restaurants, and other attractive event spaces.

Cannabis consumption festivals

the fire station camp cannabis

How to Host a Cannabis Consumption Festival: Advice from The Fire Station

While holding a large-scale festival or music event can be expensive, it creates an opportunity to curate a magical experience for attendees — which they'll forever associate with your brand.

The Fire Station’s Camp Cannabis is an example of an arts and culture festival centered on cannabis.

Their lineup includes major names like The Floozies, Afroman, and Asher Roth!

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, you can partner with local musicians, artists or other entertainers.

More creative dispensary event ideas:

  • Grand opening / anniversary party

  • Product launches

  • Brand activations

  • Private events

  • Cannabis cups

  • Vendor, patient, or customer appreciation days

  • Infused dinners

  • Cannabis conferences

  • Yoga or meditation classes

How to throw a dispensary event

Once you have an idea of your event’s theme, the next step is planning and execution.

To bring your event to life, you'll need organization, strong leadership, the right technology solutions, and clear direction throughout the process. Remember that each step will vary depending on the type of event you're planning to throw. You will also need to identify any state/local regulations surrounding cannabis events to ensure compliance.

Free template

Easily organize and manage tasks for any dispensary event

1. Decide on your event type, date(s) and goals

First things first, you need to know what type of event you’re hosting, when you’ll be hosting it and why you're hosting it. Ask yourself:

  • What else is happening in the community around this time? Will my event date clash with anything major that could keep people from coming?

  • Will this be multiple days, an all-day event, just a few hours, or after-hours?

  • What is my budget?

  • How many people do I expect to show up?

  • What is the definition of success for this event?

  • What results am I looking to achieve?

It may help to look to others around you and even ask customers, friends, and employees what sort of event they would attend. Try posting a poll on Instagram or LinkedIn to crowdsource ideas!

2. Choose your specials

Special promotions are often the deciding factor in whether new customers will show up to your event or not.

This is a perfect opportunity for retailers and brands to partner up on exclusive deals. Agree on your sales goals, then create and co-market those enticing product offerings in advance.

    When you’re picking out what product promotions to offer for your event, keep in mind that you can also discount products for longer than just the single day of the event. Consider offering specials in the week leading up to the event to stretch the promotion. Here's a list of creative ideas for deals you could run.

    3. Create marketing materials

    Next, you must develop the assets your brand can leverage to promote your cannabis event. Take into consideration the type of people you want to show up to your event, where they are, and what kind of marketing is effective for those demographics.

    At a minimum, you should be ready to promote your event with:

    • Dispensary signage: create posters that capture attention — think colorful, easy-to-read, and on-theme

    • Social media posts: use consistent imagery and clear copy that provides important details about the event

    • Flyers: keep a stack next to your register and hand them out to every customer who stops in the week(s) leading up to the event

    • Website: Drive website visitors to an event registration page or landing page with FAQs and key information

    4. Market your event

    With your date picked and your marketing materials created, it’s time to start spreading the word. Traditional marketing avenues can be tricky for cannabis, but fortunately, more options are becoming available.

    Social media

    Social media is an effective channel to market a cannabis event, but you need to make sure you’re putting effort into the right platform. Linkedin is one of the most cannabis-friendly mainstream social channel, but you can also post to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and even TikTok as long as you’re careful to follow their strict rules.

    Read the Guide

    Social Media Marketing for Dispensaries

    Here's what to include in your event promotions on social:

    • Event details, including the when/where/why of the event
    • Ticketing information
    • Reason for the event
    • A custom hashtag
    • A cohesive theme (colors, language, specials, etc.) across all posts

    Programmatic ads

    Large outlets like Newsweek, USA Today, HuffPost, and ESPN now accept cannabis advertisements on their websites, and they allow for programmatic retargeting. Retargeting allows you to display ads to potential customers who have shown interest in your website in the past. That means you can create an online ad for your event and have it target people in your area that are already interested in what you’re doing.

    Digital marketing campaigns

    Tapping your audience with email or SMS campaigns is an easy strategy to increase attendance. Building demand through an email campaign with several touches weeks before, leading up to, the day of, and even after your event helps to keep you top-of-mind without overstaying your welcome.

    Text message open rates are significantly higher than email so if you want your audience to open more messages, send them texts. Remember that text messages are seen as more of an interruption than emails and should be used more sparingly. Find a partner to help with SMS here.

    5. Prepare your inventory

    This step should take place at least a month before your event so you can ensure you have all the products you need by the event date. You’ll want an estimated headcount for your event so you know how much product you should order.

    Reach out to your vendors and let them know about your party and the discounts you’re offering to see if they can offer you a bulk discount.

    When the cannabis products arrive, be sure to organize, store and display the cannabis correctly so your staff can easily sell and access them during the event.

    When you have a large crowd at your store, you don’t want any time that could be spent making sales wasted searching for products.

    6. Prepare your staff

    Team training is often one of the most overlooked aspects of event planning. Keep your dispensary staff informed on event details, including the schedule, the discounts you’ll be offering, and the headcount you’re expecting.

    Make sure everyone is trained on the product(s) you’re promoting so they can answer any questions your customers may have, especially any new ones that show up who may not be as knowledgeable. Practice upsell techniques and consider bonus incentives if goals are hit or a post-event celebration to show appreciation for all their hard work.

    Staff preparation also includes having a tight schedule with enough support to get you through the event. Make sure everyone knows their duty for the day, any new workflows, and if possible, have some staff on standby should any team members have to call out the day of.

    Also, consider any contractors you may need to hire, including:

    • Photographers/videographers

    • Caterers

    • DJs or musicians

    • Social media influencers

    • Additional security

    7. Throw your event

    Remember there will always be hiccups, but if you’re organized and ready, your dispensary event should go smoothly. Don’t forget to enjoy it!

    dispensary event

    8. Debrief for future dispensary events

    After your event, have a debrief with your team to go over what went well, what didn’t go well, and what needs to be edited for future events.

    • How many people showed up? Was it more or less than expected?

    • How did marketing perform? Do you have stats from social media, ads, email campaigns, etc. that you can review to find strengths and weaknesses?

    • Did you have enough products, food, drinks, etc. to support the crowd? Did you have too much?

    • What did the team hear attendees saying about the event? Anything notable?

    • Did you achieve your goals?

    You will also need to look at your data to take a deeper dive into your event. You can understand quite a bit from event data, such as:

    • Total sales

    • Average cart size

    • Demographics

    • Busy times of day

    • Popular product categories

    • Effective specials

    Ready to host a dispensary event?

    Almost every dispensary will hold an event in some capacity. A key to leveling up with this strategy is to effectively market, brand, and pull off events on a regular basis.

    No matter the market you serve, your customer base, or your competition, hosting dispensary events is going to benefit your cannabis retail business.

    To better prepare for any dispensary event, download the Dispensary Event Planning Template!


    Angela Schweers

    Cannabis Advocate and Flowhub Blog Contributor

    Angela Schweers is a freelance copywriter in the cannabis industry. With almost 10 years of writing and marketing experience, she’s spent the last two focused solely on cannabis in an effort to debunk propaganda and inform the canna-curious. Connect with her on LinkedIn or check out her work at

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