Budtenders Association launches new travelling cannabis event

| Aly K. Benson

It’s official, and the people have spoken: trade shows are out, and safe cannabis events are in.

The cannabis event season kicked off around 420 earlier this year, with many community members and industry workers itching to attend. The Budtenders Association (BTA) launched a booming success in Calgary on September 7th & 8th with their new business branch, b. Lounge. 

Casey Hilterman, Budtenders Association CEO shared her gratitude by saying, “the purpose behind events like these is to bring our members, partners, and guests together in unique, safe, and intimate environments that offer education, deliver exclusive experiences, and grow authentic connections. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re excited to announce more b. Lounge dates in cities across Canada.”

Friends Who Weed’s Emily Reihl greets guests at registration in the Great Hall.

The Space & Brands

Located in Inglewood, Calgary, the ‘Mansion’ welcomed over 300 guests over the 2-day event and over 30 volunteers and staff on site. The space consisted of 12 activation spaces packed with educational activities. In fact, ticket sales increased by 50% in the 12 hours leading up to the event. The flow in the house kept guests rotating through activation stations, guiding their wide eyes into the next surprise around every corner.

Next Friday, Broken Coast with Tilray, Battle River, Wyld, and Versus with Valens, were the first brands set up in the Rep Room.

Off the Red Rep room was the Kitchen, where Chef Pat Newton was cooking up a storm with his demos, partnered with Emprise offering non-infused samples of hot beverages.

30 students gathered to participate in two Collector’s Cups hosted by CannaReps. Throughout the day, guests were encouraged to listen to the interviews conducted by Thomas Rothmeier with growers from BZAM & Carmel, and view a joint rolling competition hosted by The Korner Kronics. The indoor pool was not open for use but was activated by Pool Boy, who dove head first into their branding, filling the pool with miniature and giant flamingo blow-ups. 

In the backyard, Dymond Concentrates and Auxly teamed up with Clearly Gold to feature a squish bar and educate consumers on the intricacies of extracts. Past the patio and into the Garden Lounge, Carmel set up for those needing a break next to a fire pit with lounge chairs. 

The Loud Plug and BZAM (with their multiple brands) took over the Stellar Cellar, where games and interviews took place. However, one of the significant highlights of the event was the partnership that hit the heart of every participant—the Cannabis Amnesty “Legalize Us” video in the theatre. The 3-minute video played on a loop throughout the day to spotlight Cannabis Amnesty’s vision and crucial role in Canadian decriminalization. 

Tom Rothmeier investigates cannabis under an Urbanistic.ca digital microscope to encourage conscious consumption and spotlight their Cannabis Microscopy 101 Course in the #DontDriveHigh safe transport limo. Courtesy of Francis Hall from The Different Collective.

The top floor of the house was designated as Educational Hall, where The Different Collective, Urbanistic.ca, and WeedMe presented a microscope bar across the room from CannaReps blind terpene test.

The Safety

One of the most innovative strategies implemented into the b. Lounge launch was safe transportation. Maggie Jane supplied two SUV limos to ensure all attendees followed the ‘House Rules’ and agreed to follow the messaging behind the #DontDriveHigh Campaign. 

Maggie Jane Marketing CEO and Founder Meaghan Rolston and lead partner of The Budtenders Association spoke to the safety priority, stating, “We chose no alcohol for a very simple reason. We wanted the focus to be completely on cannabis, to allow for good vibes, no drama, and pure collaboration between brands and Budtenders, which was a resounding success for the attendees, organizers, and the public.”

Community Response

The atmosphere held different energy than what the industry has experienced in the past, encouraging C-Suite Executives and budtenders to engage.  Yet, at this event, it was encouraged and presented itself as a welcoming opportunity for ticket holders. Sarah Harrington from Dymond Extractions summarized the event perfectly: “this is the grassroots we knew, have wanted, and now have. It’s been an incredible experience.” 

Krista Wigston, Fire and Flower Training Administrator, attended and shared her experiences saying, “This felt like the beginning of finding new ways to enjoy consumption, education, and connections.” Other attendees shared their overwhelming support. Ticket holder W.D. Embers said “[there was] zero bad vibes from [anyone] at the event… this was cool to be a part of, to see the equity and equality shared amongst genders, and a true base level of respect and appreciation for each other.”

“…In a spacious yet cozy and intimate event that felt more like a collaboration than a sales floor, [b. Lounge] allowed cannabis lovers from all around Alberta to connect in their love and passion for the plant, cannabis products, and the industry” said the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Emprise, Max Michalowski.

CannaReps, one of the leading educational platforms in Canada, also shared their comments: “The b. Lounge event was an amazing experience and a great celebration for budtenders. It was a beautiful space to build connections and share the knowledge around this beautiful plant.”

The Future of Cannabis Events

Opportunity is knocking on every door in the cannabis industry when it comes to creating events and spaces. It’s evident that as 2022 trails on, brands like Budtenders Association are proving were not changing the game. It’s already changed.

Featured image: Sunset yoga session with party partner Roilty Concentrates and yoga teacher Sarah-Jade Cozier.