The National Cannabis Festival returns to RFK Stadium’s grounds on Saturday, April 22 with a food-filled Muchies Zone, ice cream-eating competitions, regulatory awareness around the rise of cannabis cafes, and a debut restaurant week leading up to the weed-friendly event.
Now in its seventh year, the one-day D.C. festival with upwards of 25,000 anticipated attendees bills itself as the largest ticketed cannabis gathering in the U.S. The elevating event (noon to 10 p.m.) also includes a concert headlined by big-name rappers 2 Chainz and Juicy J. General admission passes are $85.
A first-ever “420 Food Week” (April 17 to 21) features $4.20 and $14.20 deals at nearly 10 participating restaurants around D.C. Think: a CBD mocktail at All Purpose, chocolate lava cake at Madams Organ, and tots at Tight Five Pub.
The Muchies Zone, comprised of over 70 on-site food trucks, vendors, and booths, includes newcomers like Atlanta’s hit burger bar Slutty Vegan (which plans to debut in D.C. on H Street NE) and D.C.’s Little Miner Taco serving cheesy beef birria tacos, burritos, and carne asada fries. Returning favorites include Peruvian Brothers and Jerk at Night, the Caribbean fast-casual that’s been part of the festival since day one.
A culinary pavilion, back by popular demand for its second year, offers cooking-with-cannabis tips on food pairings and flavor profiles, live demos, and a beverage industry-centric panel moderated by local CBD pioneer and Disco Mary Collective founder Maria Bastasch. View breakout sessions here.
Food-eating contests, another all-day attraction in the culinary pavilion, invite crowds to watch contestants battle through brain freeze to finish Ben and Jerry’s sundaes in mere minutes. A pizza-consumption edition full of pies from DC Slices is also back. And instead of a hot dog round—which apparently was less appealing to viewers last year—there’s now a cake-devouring competition featuring local Black-owned bakery MiaSaiz Yummy.
The growing festival that got its start in 2016—two years after D.C. residents voted to legalize cannabis—anticipates a strong showing of attendees from up and down the East Coast and as far away as California.
LA is home to America’s first licensed cannabis consumption lounge and restaurant, in which diners can eat a meal while consuming cannabis or infused edibles on-site, and West Hollywood is currently at the center of the green rush. Meanwhile, NYC is “opening cannabis consumption lounges as we speak,” says festival founder Caroline Phillips. Maryland just hopped on the trend with the debut of its first-ever cannabis cafe, and D.C. is starting to consider licensing for social-use spaces.
“It’s exciting these restaurants can come out of the ‘cannabis closest,’ so to speak, to have these conversations in public without fear of retribution,” says Phillips.
Here’s a running list of 420 Food Week specials on munchies and meals.
H Street Country Club: A pair of “Baked Bliss” cookies with a scoop of ice cream for $4.20 April 20 to 23
Tight Five Pub: Basket of fries or tots for $4.20. April 17 to 23
Jerk at Nite: Jerk box and mac and cheese for $14.20. April 18 to 21
Madams Organ: Chocolate lava cake for $4.20. April 17 to 23
Little Miner Taco: Use promo code “NCF” at any location for a birria de res munch wrap (large flour tortilla, slow-braised beef, queso sauce, crispy corn tortilla, chipotle aioli, lettuce, tomato, raw onion, sour cream). April 17 to 23
Dolcezza: The DMV-wide gelato shop comes up with a TBA festival-themed flavor that promises to throw “everything EXCEPT nacho cheese Dorito’s into gelato form for those post-bong-hitter moments.” April 17 to 23
El Sol: Mexican chef Alfredo Solis puts his spin on traditional cochinta pibi, a Yucatan favorite featuring slow-roasted pork wrapped in a banana leaf. The debut dish comes with rice, beans, and tortillas ($14.20). April 15 to April 21