It’s no secret that the cannabis industry is booming. From the consistent, annual increase of jobs created in the industry to the sweeping legislative changes across the country, we are seeing cannabis settle in as a legitimate sector of business – even despite the stigma and federal legal status.
As these changes take place, professionals within the industry are moving towards a more fitting landscape for cannabis networking and collaboration between brands. The more established the industry becomes, the less we are burdened to follow the rigid expectations of corporate America.
It is for this reason that Cannabis Creative CEO, Seth Worby decided to launch the TeeHC Open, an industry-disrupting cannabis networking event. Taking place on a golf course in New England – aptly named the Highfields Country Club and Golf Course – the TeeHC Open is a preview into the future of cannabis networking.
“The idea for TeeHC isn’t just about the golf,” says Seth. “The idea is to bring people together to help each other out…You can network and activate your brand with other brands and players that you want to target.”
In partnership with Joint Venture & Co., Cannabis Creative hosted the first annual TeeHC Open on September 9, 2022 in Grafton, Massachusetts. The event boasted over 200 attendees from every area of the industry, including dispensary owners, influencers, marketing professionals, cannabis product brands, and more.
Cannabis Brand Activation on the Golf Course
With a variety of activities and programming available to attendees, the day was free from the corporate expectations of tradeshows and other traditional cannabis networking events.
As guests came in for registration, our sponsors and charity partners took the floor. Tricann gave out some exciting gummy samples, while brands like Jupiter and Commonwealth Alt. Care provided branded goodies in the gift bags, such as a round hand fan and some exclusive dispensary deals.
Although the main highlight was an 18-hole golf tournament, the TeeHC Open was far from the average golf networking event. Sponsor brands set up tents all along the course to connect with players and showcase their brand experience in between rounds of golf.
One of the main attractions was Cann’s THC seltzers, which fit perfectly into the day’s social atmosphere. “This is a fantastic event. We’ve had people stopping by trying all the flavors, getting a refreshment while they’re on the course,” said Julia, a Cann team member.
In addition to building relationships with new dispensaries and other pivotal players in the cannabis industry, Cann was able to grow its brand awareness through the TeeHC Open’s hundreds of attendees.
All hole sponsor brands were able to share this experience in their own way. Salt Construction sponsored nostalgic tin lunch boxes for all golf players featuring the event’s mascot personality, Happy; Root & Bloom hosted a game of Plinko and handed out exciting branded knick-knacks and prizes; Nimbus organized the longest drive competition, called High in the Sky; Ration Cannabis shared their mission and educated attendees on the progress being made for veterans seeking cannabis for medicinal use; golfers tried their hands at an air cannon competition (full with live, snarky walkie-talkie commentary) and received Bask merchandise; Treez even sponsored the army of golf carts to help attendees get around at their own leisure.
These brand activations alone completely change the game for cannabis networking events. Cannabis is a sensory product and it only makes sense for industry events to leverage interactive experiences that allow you to get your hands on the product you’re selling.
Rather than buttoning up that classic, laidback energy into a stuffy suit and restrictive conference spaces, the TeeHC Open created space for genuine connection and flexible consumption policies.
On the course, we spoke with Advanced Cultivators, a Latino-founded dispensary in Lowell, Massachusetts. Their team shared their incredible journeys of how they broke into the cannabis industry and how they hope to use their Aztec and Mexican roots to inspire the dispensary brand.
“I just moved out here three years ago,” said owner Richard Borges. “We’re bringing the good flower from Cali to Mass. We’re trying to get out here and network.” In fact, the TeeHC Open was one of their first official events as Advanced Cultivators and set the bar high for future events.
Building Industry Relationships off the Course
Of course, of the 200+ attendees, many were not necessarily golf pros, but the TeeHC Open came prepared. In addition to 18 holes of golf, there were a variety of off-course activities to participate in.
One of the event’s many media partners, Different Leaf, brought on its star personality, Brit Smith, to host a cannabis trivia game show alongside standup comedian, Zenobia Del Mar.
The duo made for an entertaining – yet educational – few rounds of jeopardy-style trivia. Attendees buzzed in and competed against one another in some friendly competition (including our own Cannabis Creative team!) on a wide range of topics, including cannabis history, pop-culture references, and more.
Alongside a few rounds of jeopardy, non-golf attendees were treated to a relaxing stoned flow and sound bath experience. Hosted by The Love Offensive in partnership with independent sound bath artists, guests followed a series of restorative yoga sequences accompanied by meditative music.
Outside, non-golf attendees could also enjoy an air-conditioned cigar lounge, thanks to Rolling Stogies, a local New England business. Or, they could try their hand at golf-for-beginners, also known as mini golf in the parking lot.
Writer and wellness contributor Jill attended the event and said, “This event is so great; it’s really what cannabis should be.”
Redefining Community at the 2022 TeeHC Open
Once the golfers returned from their long day on the course, the Highfields Country Club was brimming with energy. Attendees mingled with one another in a canna-friendly environment to celebrate a day well-spent.
As the day shifted into the dinner and awards ceremony, sponsored by Needham Bank which offered full-service financial support to cannabis businesses (a rarity to find amongst other banks), the 2022 TeeHC Open felt larger than life.
Most people in the cannabis industry have attended tradeshows and set up expensive, over-the-top booths. They walk away exhausted with some business cards. Instead, the TeeHC Open prioritized its people – and the joy was truly tangible.
All guests were given the freedom to create space and connect with others on their own terms. Introverts thrived in smaller group settings, and extroverts enjoyed building relationships with people from all walks of the industry.
This authentic space was perhaps the most important aspect of the event. After years of hunkering down during the pandemic, the TeeHC Open redefined the professional cannabis community and pushed the envelope for how the industry should be hosting networking events.
RSVP for the 2023 TeeHC Open
With some pleasant New England weather, a day out on the golf course, and some engaging off-course activities, cannabis professionals can tap into unbound creativity. New brand collaboration, strategic partnerships, and genuine connections have been born from this event.
We are proud to have been a part of such an industry-disrupting event, but we could not have done it alone. We have to thank our operations partner, Joint Venture & Co., as well as our media partners, Sensi, Worcester Magazine, Pro Cannabis Media, and Talking Joints Memo.
In addition to our many hole sponsors, we are grateful to our other event sponsors – New Leaf, Click, Plant, Outfront Media, Mass Alternative Care, 1906, and Rasta Rootz – for taking a leap of faith with us in the first-ever TeeHC Open.
Our event was such a success that we have already locked in several sponsors and attendees to join us next year. As we plan an even better event for 2023, we invite you to contact us to join the waitlist and be the first to know when tickets are available next year!