Public occasions that enable the on-site sale of cannabis merchandise current an enormous monetary alternative for cannabis companies. For example, Exterior Lands, the annual music competition held in San Francisco, offered seven figures value of cannabis merchandise in simply three days. With the legalization of cannabis, and adoption of native rules and comparable pilot applications authorizing such particular occasion gross sales, we anticipate to see comparable numbers at different public occasions. Under, we lay out how one can promote cannabis merchandise at occasions, and the varied steps of the licensing course of.

The California Bureau of Hashish Management (the “BCC”) applied a non-statutory license scheme to supply the authorized framework of the cannabis occasion gross sales license. This license permits for the on-site sale and consumption of cannabis merchandise at public occasions. Following the implementation of the BCC rules, a number of native jurisdictions, together with San Francisco, launched pilot applications throughout the framework that the BCC set forth. Essential to notice at outset, informational or academic cannabis occasions the place no cannabis items are offered or consumed are usually not required to acquire a brief cannabis occasion license.

State Licensing Course of

The BCC requires that each public occasion that enables for the on-site sale of cannabis be licensed. Subsequently, in case your occasion is open to the general public, or you might be promoting tickets publicly, you have to get licensed. Nevertheless, in case you have a non-public get together that isn’t open to the general public, you do not want to get licensed.

Subsequent, it’s essential to acquire an annual cannabis occasion organizer license. The annual cannabis occasion organizer license should pay a price primarily based on the variety of occasions organized by the licensee per yr. As you might be making use of for the annual license, you have to be conscious that you’re not solely required to reveal private data, however data of your cannabis enterprise. Particularly, you might be required to checklist the entire house owners (anybody who owns greater than 20%) of your cannabis enterprise, and anybody else who’s deemed to be a monetary curiosity holder. As well as, the BCC requires you to signal the applying underneath penalty of perjury. Subsequently, it’s vital that you’re forthcoming in your software, in any other case you possibly can not solely jeopardize your software for the annual occasion gross sales license, but additionally different potential lively licenses you might maintain. The appliance price for the annual even license is $1,000 together with the required annual license price it’s essential to pay relying on what number of occasions you might be planning to host in a given yr. The annual license price ranges from $3,000 for as much as three occasions to $20,000 for organizers planning to host greater than 20 occasions in a single yr.

When you secured your annual occasion license, you have to apply the for the non permanent cannabis occasion license for every particular person occasion the place you want to enable the sale of cannabis merchandise. The appliance price for this license can also be $1,000 and you might get this license for as much as 4 days. Along with disclosing sure private data, you even have to connect the next paperwork to the applying:

  • a diagram of the bodily format of the occasion;
  • a written approval from the native jurisdiction; and
  • a listing of all licensees and workers that might be offering onsite gross sales of cannabis items.

You will need to submit your software at the least 60 days previous to the occasion. Nevertheless, should you choose to keep away from final minute annoyances, you would possibly think about submitting the applying even earlier. As a reference, the BCC accepted the license for Exterior Lands solely 67 hours earlier than the competition began. Subsequently, it is very important plan far forward and submit your software with loads of lead time in case the regulators have feedback or issues about your software.

Authorized Issues

As you might be navigating via the licensing course of laid out above, it’s important to concentrate to the next with a purpose to keep away from points with state and native regulators.

First, whereas the cannabis occasion gross sales license is state-wide, native jurisdictions are free to permit it or not. For instance, San Francisco applied its pilot program simply earlier this yr. We anticipate that San Francisco, and different cities, will ultimately introduce everlasting applications. Regardless, if you apply for this license, you have to seek the advice of native rules which can probably have a myriad of advanced and financially burdensome allowing necessities.

Second, an occasion gross sales license doesn’t provide the means to domesticate, distribute, bundle, transport, and even promote cannabis. It solely provides you the license to carry a public cannabis occasion. To be able to distribute, bundle, transport, and promote cannabis merchandise you both have to get the correct licenses, or you have to rent third-party distributors who’ve the suitable licenses. For those who do determine to rent third-party distributors, understand that the BCC requires you to reveal all licensees and workers that might be promoting cannabis on-site. Importantly, fee to a cannabis occasion organizer will not be decided primarily based on, or tied to, the sale of cannabis items.

Third, it’s essential to be sure that the cannabis merchandise adhere to retailer necessities pertaining to shows, exit packaging, buyer returns, every day gross sales limits, and free samples. If you’re utilizing third-party distributors, it could be smart to have the distributors signal nicely thought out contracts obligating them to stick to the varied license and occasion necessities, amongst different issues. That is essential as a result of you’ll have much less means to manage the atmosphere and dangers, particularly at a bigger scale occasion. Specialised contract provisions relating to adhering to the rules, indemnity, legal responsibility points and insurance coverage protection protections are important.  You will need to work with an lawyer with the talent and data on this very specialised and fast-paced space.  Whereas alternative abounds, will probably be crucial to acquire particular insurance coverage protection for the complexities and dangers inherent at a public occasion providing cannabis on the market.

Lastly, with the cannabis occasion gross sales license, it’s essential to promote solely throughout the accepted space and solely to these 21 years outdated or older. Gross sales via use of a cellular cart or comparable means are prohibited.  You won’t be able to promote alcohol throughout the cannabis items gross sales and consumption space both.  Alcohol should solely be offered at a individually licensed space.


After Exterior Lands, it’s clear that an occasion the place you may promote cannabis merchandise on-site generally is a nice advertising and marketing occasion supplying you with the power to succeed in your shoppers in a very completely different means.  Nevertheless, earlier than you might be allowed to have such an occasion, it’s essential to navigate an intensive, and generally burdensome, course of that varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For those who want assist in navigating the varied necessities, we recommend you contact a authorized counsel who may also help you maneuver the varied authorized and allowing necessities.