photography by Denise Truscello / Getty Images.

Thousands of Members of the Cannabis Industry Flock to Vegas tor Two Days of Awards, Education and a Special Performance by Cypress Hill


Las Vegas, NV, October 18–On Friday, October 11th, the first ever Budtender Awards kicked off two days of education, entertainment, parties and networking at Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas.

The event culminated in an over the top Awards Ceremony hosted by comedian Rachel Wolfson and Modest Jones with a very special performance by Cypress Hill at Light Nightclub on October 12th.  It was the first-ever CBD sales, distribution and sampling event and cannabis exposition at an MGM property that sought to pay homage to the world’s top Budtenders and cannabis culture.

Sponsored by Canna Paid and Clover Leaf University, organizers selected 45 finalists from over 700 publicly nominated candidates with five nominees for each of the nine award categories the Budtender Awards created: community; social acceptance; personality; creativity; medicinal; overall knowledge; CBD; concentrates; and edibles.

The nine well-deserving winners are in:

Medallion Award (Community) Sponsored by Canna PaidRocky Hernandez (Planet 13-Las Vegas, NV)

Ambassador Award (Social Acceptance) Presented by SkinnyWeed & High TimesTara Berger (Atrium-Woodland Hills, CA)

Spotlight Award (Personality) Presented by Medicated MarleyRiley Travers (805 Beach Breaks-Grover Beach, CA)

In the Arts Award (Creativity) Sponsored by Lowell FarmsJazziymn West (Captain Jacks-San Bernardino, CA)

Dr. Cannabis Award (Medicinal) Joe ”SleepyJo” Nelson (Buddha’s Wellness Center LLC-Port Orford, OR)

Mastermind Award (Overall Knowledge) Brandon Scott (Mission-Chicago South Side, IL)

CBD Award (CBD) Zulema Lino (Essence Dispensary-Las Vegas, NV)

710 Master Award (Concentrates) Sponsored by Guild ExtractsAlex Almadova (Apothecary 420- Sherman Oaks, CA)

Dazed & Infused (Edibles) LaRain Miller (Kind Leaf Pendleton-Pendleton, OR)

In addition to these nine, the Budtender Awards awarded special “your choice” audience awards as well as a previously unannounced Budtender of 2019 toWilliam Brown (Harborside-Oakland, CA). The awards additionally honoredlegendary hip-hop group and life-long cannabis advocates Cypress Hill with a lifetime achievement award. 

Special guests from celebrities and influencers included Cypress HillThe Real “Freeway” Rick RossKoala PuffsMariza VillarrealSilenced HippieMedicated Marley andJackey_420

Thousands of other members of the cannabis community took to Mandalay Bay including sponsors and delegates from Canna PaidClover Leaf UniversityAlternative Medicine AssociationCanna HempDr. GreenthumbHillhouse ReserveRemedium CBDRoyal BluntsRove Brand, and Skinny Weed.  They were treated to neon donut walls and nitrogen popcorn in addition to education tracks on topics ranging from social media to career building and beyond from Brant PinvidicBrian BlatzDan Herer and others. A full schedule of happenings can be found here.


The world of cannabis and CBD is changing daily. Over the last several years, the world of cannabis and CBD has catapulted itself from counterculture pariah to mainstream consumer culture, and most important to America, to an economy. Stitched into the fabric of this economy are the people who carry the message from plant to consumer: The Budtenders. Budtenders help the less experienced make educated and informational choices and help the pros learn about updates and new offerings. They are the frontline. The Budtender Awards recognizes the pioneers and professionals of this new and budding landscape. These are the incredibly skilled and talented personalities who are paving the road of this ever-growing industry. These are the architects; these are the Budtenders.The Budtender Awards aims to educate and entertain the public as well as dispensary owners, their employees and other cannabis industry professionals on the rapidly growing medical and recreational industry as well as entertain visitors with panels and parties.For more information follow @budtenderawards and visit the Budtender website.


Founded by prolific entrepreneur Keith Allen, Canna Paid is a premier banking and merchant services solution provider for cannabis and CBD. Canna Paid utilizes a unique and proprietary compliance technology which enables consumers to swipe their credit cards the same way as they do at any other business. The Canna Paid transaction process meets all technological and regulatory requirements, as well as securing the merchant and transaction from liability. Canna Paid serves dispensary owners with a competitive, industry-standard retail banking solution.The Canna Paid platform enables the cannabis industry to be taken seriously in the world as a legitimate business following robust best practices. Canna Paid is establishing itself as an industry-standard resource for all facets of the industry including cultivators, distributors, dispensary owners, budtenders and the end consumer for ALL products in the cannabis space.


Clover Leaf University is the first accredited university specializing in phytotechnology to be approved, regulated and licensed by the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s Private Occupational School Board. CLU provides the highest quality industry training and the most comprehensive curriculum available today.  Clover Leaf University’s faculty incluBUDTENDER AWARDS WRAP UP FIRST CEREMONYdes the industry’s top-level executives, professionals, attorneys, instructors, cultivators, manufacturers and industry leaders from all over the world. For more Information, visit the Clover Leaf University website.

Special thanks to Alexa Oliphant of Platform Media Group for the media release.