Who cares about that forbidden grass cannabis? Well that would only be the countless thousands that passionately attend the High Times Cannabis Cup festival each year in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The government of Netherlands has decriminalized the controversial grass in most parts of the land making it an annual destination for marijuana users. Tourists and curious enthusiasts alike are welcomed with open arms every November for the most attended event in the country.
The festival has its own competition rules and is overseen by an envied platform of approximately 2,000 or more judges from all around the world. They get to sample and vote for their favorite cannabis variety and eventually, the overall Cannabis Cup winner. Entrants are judged on many levels concerning the weed; best booth, best new by-product, best grass, best hash, etc. A selection of VIP judges presides over the judging of which ‘seed company’ grows the best marijuana. To heighten the excitement, there is usually a segment of the event where judges test a surprise strain of the cannabis.
Apart from the concentrated aroma of this grass which permeates the air at the festival, attendees are treated to entertainment like live music, comedy and an Expo of cannabis-based products from companies that promote the use of the grass. Appropriately, most of the cannabis used at the festival is supplied by coffee shops in and around Amsterdam.
High Times Magazine, a New York based monthly publication, laments the promotion and legalization of cannabis in the United States in the face of Congress who classified the plant as an illegal substance, making it illegal in 1937. The Cannabis Cup was founded by Steven Hager in (1987) and has reached ‘higher strains’ so to speak each year since its inception. It proudly witnessed the first staging of the Cup on U.S shores in Denver, Colorado April 20, 2013 which saw an attendance of over 40,000 patrons, making it the largest attended Cup in its history to date.
Recently High Times created the Medical Cannabis Cup which celebrates the lobby of medicinal marijuana use in America. The first High Times Medical Cannabis Cup took place in San Francisco, California June 19-20, 2010. That successful staging spurned additional High Times Medical Cannabis events in Denver and California. Dan Syke, Editor in Chief of High Times has confirmed that the 2015 staging of the Cannabis Cup will be hosted in Portland, Oregon right on the heels of the State’s legalization. High Times currently produces six Cannabis Cups and will, come July 2015, add Oregon to its list of hosting locations who have legalized marijuana.
The theme of the 2015 Cup as per Sykes will be somewhat of a tradeshow, allowing vendors in the marijuana industry to come together and ‘strut’ their stuff. Since it will be legal by then in Oregon, the vendors will be able to offer free samples of their products including palatable treats. Considerations and preparations are also in place for the overzealous youngsters. The Portland Cup will be a ticketed event open to persons 21 and over. ID’s WILL be checked.
Some countries who years ago vehemently banned and outlawed the use of the cannabis seem to however be slowly turning a page by considering legalization, e.g., Jamaica and Uruguay. Jamaica is considered the hub of the weed generation, from the reggae belting Rastafarians to those in higher society who in secret indulge for recreational use. Do we see a Cannabis cup being hosted there in the near future?. The pace at which its government creeps concerning legalization is a mystery to many although some progress has been made. The medical fraternity there has definitely taken the bull by the horn and has gone ahead to bottle marijuana-based products.
The High Times Cannabis Cup now enjoys its 27th year as the hippest free open air pot fest in the world. Its newsletter already has over 45,000 subscribers.
So the writing is already on the proverbial wall. cannabis is steadily becoming a force to contend with all over the world.