Everything You Need to Know About the National Cannabis Festival in DC

Learn about cannabis legalization efforts across the country, see Wiz Khalifa perform live, and attend a weed-themed wedding.

National Cannabis Festival | Photo by by Doug Van Sant
National Cannabis Festival | Photo by by Doug Van Sant

The holiday for getting high may come but once a year, but the National Cannabis Festival is helping draw out your 4/20 celebrations with a multi-day festival that runs through the weekend.

The event started in 2015 as a celebration of cannabis legalization across the country and aimed to advocate for further legalization progress. And after a pandemic-related hiatus, the sixth iteration of the festival is back and bigger than ever.

From food and drinks courtesy of DC’s best restaurants to educational panels and musical performances by Wiz Khalifa and Ghostface Killah, there are plenty of ways to have some weed-inspired fun at the festival. Just note: the celebration doesn’t permit the consumption or sale of marijuana per DC law, so leave the rolling papers and vape pens at home, and read up on everything you need to know before attending the National Cannabis Festival this weekend.

When and where is the festival?

The three-day festival kicks off on Friday, April 22 at 10 am with educational panels and advocacy work at the National Cannabis Policy Summit at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Saturday’s festivities start at noon and include musical performances, a market of cannabis-related vendors, educational opportunities, and a sprawling food and drink market at the RFK Festival Grounds, and the festival concludes on Sunday with the National Cannabis Championship presented by Gentleman Toker at Echostage, where growers compete in various categories for awards and prizes.

What’s on the agenda?

Although the festival runs all weekend, Saturday is the main event—and there’s a lot going on. Education and advocacy are the cornerstones of the event, so festival-goers can attend a Grow School that will teach participants how to cultivate their own flower or listen in on panels like “the Future of Beverage and Cannabis” with DC Brau’s Jeff Hancock and “The Future of Cannabis in DC Hospitality” with chefs from local restaurants like Maydan and Moon Rabbit.

At the exhibitor fair, you can check out grower demonstrations, learn about cannabis products, and shop from more than 100 vendors across art, fashion, wellness, and other categories. Plus, there’s a full-scale concert running throughout the day with performances by Wiz Khalifa, Lettuce, Backyard Band, Ghostface Killah, and more. Oh, and just before the headlines take the stage, you’ll have the opportunity to watch two stoners tie the knot as part of the Ultimate Weed Wedding.

National Cannabis Festival | Photo by by Doug Van Sant

What are the food and drink options?

No weed festival is complete without an epic “Munchies Zone.” This year, the event is upping the ante with food trucks, vendor stations, and cooking demonstrations. Local favorite food trucks like Peruvian Brothers, Bun’d Up, and DC Slices will be parked at the event. Top-tier culinary talent will be offering bites and demonstrations as well: Maydan’s head chef Darnell Thomas will offer a taste of the restaurant’s Middle Eastern fare; Disco Mary, a holistic bar concept from Maria Bastasch, will serve up non-alcoholic drinks; and chef Kevin Tien of Moon Rabbit and Hot Lola’s will team up with Maketto’s Erik Bruner-Yang to run a Stop AAPI Hate Night Market.

What do tickets include?

Tickets to the festival start at $65 for general admission, and vary by day, access, and activities. You can check out the options and purchase tickets here.

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Liz Provencher is an editor at Thrillist. You can follow her on Twitter or see what she eats on Instagram.