California Popups: Creating Community, Building Business

On certain Saturday nights in Bakersfield, California, you can find a group of vendors and patients in an empty parking lot, meeting up for an evening of medication, education, music and community.

The images here are captured from a Saturday, August 27 “popup” — there is another of these gatherings, however, scheduled for this Saturday, September 10, from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Bakersfield plays regular host to one among dozens of popups that happen on weekends throughout California.


Operating on a grassroots level, popups allow patients to meet face-to-face with the people who grow their cannabis, make their gummy bears and strive to bring them new ways to experience the plant. It gives patients a chance to sample new products and buy their medicine at affordable prices.

Popups also provide vendors the opportunity to chat one-on-one with patients. Too often, there is a disconnect between cultivators and entrepreneurs who sell wholesale and never even see the people who are buying their products. Popups help bridge that gap, though be warned: some popup transactions may be considered unregulated as far as local cannabis laws are concerned.


Popups are found through word of mouth and hashtags. For instance, #popupsesh — which hosted the Bakersfield popup as well as others throughout California — got their start with the #weshouldsmoke movement on Instagram. There was already a large fan base following #weshouldsmoke, so it was a natural segue to organize popups and advertise them on social media. The website maryjgoods also offers updates and information.

Instagram, Twitter or one of the dedicated cannabis community networks are good places to start finding local events. If you live in a cannabis-friendly state, there could be a popup happening nearby.

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