Interview with David Tran, Co-Founder of Farechild Events

Cannabis is a heavily networked industry, one where the right connection can catapult your career. Oftentimes, major deals are made at trade show after-parties and social gatherings, rather than the expo floor or cold calling. Cannabis events are by design meant to inspire, engage, and of course, facilitate a lot of fun.

David Tran is one cannabis icon who understands better than anyone else what makes or breaks an event. As the co-founder of Farechild Events, an all-inclusive event production and ticketing platform, David is known throughout the industry as the literal host with the most. His events are over-the-top and always considered must-attend, offering the ideal blend of business, pleasure, and sensory overload.

Discover more about David’s rise to cannabis fame, his recipe for a perfect party, and his advice for industry newcomers in this Cannabis Community College Q&A.

How did you get into the cannabis space? 

I have been a cannabis enthusiast since 1993 and was fully engulfed in the culture throughout college and my early adult life.  After spending years in the nightlife industry and opening four venues in Seattle, I had the opportunity to open a medical marijuana store in 2011. 
The dispensary was where I conceived a cannabis lifestyle magazine named DOPE, which stands for Defending Our Plant Everywhere. I ran the publication as the CEO until we sold it to High Times Media.

What inspired you to start Farechild?

With events being a pillar of DOPE Media, we were excited about how events in our industry evolved and how effective it was in bringing people together.  Over the course of a decade, we produced events in several markets around the US including the DOPE Cup, a cannabis competition, the DOPE Industry Awards show (deemed the Emmy’s of cannabis), and Budtender Appreciation Day, celebrating budtenders and brands.  

As event producers ourselves, we found that event ticketing platforms were a challenge, as sites like Eventbrite did not take cannabis business due to federal restrictions. Organizers were getting their events shut down, much-needed funds were being frozen, and guest lists were hijacked.  

We also saw the opportunity to work collaboratively with others to produce large-scale events. 

Farechild has spent the last three years producing events such as golf tournaments, hotel buyouts, and expo afterparties. That first-hand experience allows us to expand our network and create something meaningful that can help the industry grow.  

As an expert event organizer, what do you think are the ingredients for an unforgettable party?

Most epic parties have similar key components that make them special. 

A solid theme for your event sets the tone for your marketing and production.  As an event producer, you must determine who you are producing the event so you can build an event that is valuable for everyone involved.  

Paying attention to details is what separates the top event producers from the rest. From the venue to music to activations to who you have greeting your guest, you have the power to establish how someone feels when they walk through the door.  Having an experienced team to establish the standards will allow you to build a reputation for the must-attend events. 

Lastly, it’s always the people that make the party.  Getting the right people in the room will create the right energy that will have people talking. Ultimately if you are in the events business, you are in the hospitality business, so it’s important to make everyone feel welcome and happy.

What are some of the unknown challenges to event planning people may not understand?

There are so many unknown factors when you are planning a regular event, but producing a cannabis event is even tougher. With federal regulation, it’s hard to have the same tools that are readily available to any other event producers. 

Ticketing and marketing are limited as social platforms are regularly banning companies for promoting anything cannabis-related.  And if you want to produce an event that allows consumption, you will have another set of issues. Starting with the limited amount of venues to choose from, and then dealing with any local regulations and permits required in that municipality.   

One day, cannabis will be treated like alcohol and you can enjoy any event with your choice of a beer or joint.  

What advice do you have for people looking to get into cannabis?

Respect.  Have respect for the plant and the people within the community.  Ultimately we are all in the industry because of this plant.  There is a place for people that don’t consume or are not obsessed with cannabis. But if you want to connect, there must be a level of respect. Otherwise, you will find it difficult to relate to others who are committed to being successful in this industry.  

Long are the days of the gold rush, where people are plucking cash from a tree. Like anything else in life, you must have passion in order to withstand the roller coaster that is the cannabis industry.