Fresh to the cannabis scene this year, preceding the 10th Annual MJBiz Conference, and leading what has become “Weed Week” in Las Vegas, the inaugural Cannabis Industry Executive Golf Invitational produced by Lemonhaze created quite a buzz.
Cannabis & Tech Today was the media partner for this exclusive event limited to 80 of the industry’s top executives, along with 35 sponsor golfers. A far more intimate group than the over 20,000 who later attended MJBizCon.
Coined “the most coveted invitation in the cannabis industry,” the Lemonhaze Las Vegas golf tournament lived up to its billing. Hosted at award-winning Cascata golf course in Boulder City, 30-minutes outside of Las Vegas, against the backdrop of the red-tinted River Mountain Range foothills.
At Cascata, a 418-foot waterfall cascades over the steep mountainside creating streams that meander through the course, desert squirrels shuffle along pebbled pathways, and wild rams graze the lush lawns and dry desert grounds. “They ship them in from Los Angeles,” one golfer joked.
Lemonhaze found its niche in the cannabis events industry orchestrating tightly curated activities that pair the right audiences with one another to create meaningful business relationships.
“I had an opportunity to get into the industry very early when it was just becoming legal in Washington and Colorado. That opportunity went away after just a few months, but I had already fallen in love with the industry. So, I gathered up the only money I could spare and decided to take a leap off the proverbial cliff and start flapping my arms and hoped I could make my business fly,” said Lemonhaze CEO Brain Yauger.
Largely known for hosting a coast-to-coast series of Lemonhaze Budtender Parties, the company fosters relationships between brands and some of the most influential people in the retail space: the budtenders.
Lemonhaze parties of this sort aren’t open to the public, to ensure the buyers, vendors, and budtenders attending are ultimately looking to learn more about new cannabis products and do business together, but in a casual, party atmosphere.
When the 2020 pandemic isolation decimated the events space, Lemonhaze was able to pivot to virtual upfronts, using teleconferencing to match businesspeople. “It’s like speed dating for business,” Yauger told me.
On this mild, sunny day in Nevada, however, the golf invitational was a welcome respite from the bright lights, smoke-filled casinos, and jam-packed conference the week entails. “A day outside and not trapped in a casino is a welcome opportunity,” remarked Mina Mishrikey, partner at Merida Capital.
Much of the underlying camaraderie at play in this tournament stems from the universal challenge cannabis executives struggle with in the fight against age-old stigmas and misconceptions that continue to stifle progress.
“We face a lot of challenges, obviously, as an industry,” Joe Lusardi, founder and Vice-Chairman of Curaleaf said of the unified effort. “Everyone out here is working hard trying to break down barriers, and so it’s just cool to see people that have the same vision and want to be successful.”
Bringing those individuals together is precisely what Yauger and Lemonhaze do best.
Lemonhaze will be introducing new executive golf classic markets in 2022, including Northern California, Colorado, Ohio, New Jersey, and Missouri. Additionally, the company will be expanding its budtender events into Arizona, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Massachusetts while picking back up in Washington, Oregon, and California.
Catch the newly released event recap of the inaugural Lemonhaze Cannabis Industry Executive Golf Invitational below:
Collage photo credit: Andre Bourque
Hero photo credit: Cascata Golf Course
Desert Oasis photo credit: GVM Communications / Tracey Henry