Cannabis Cup Kicks Off in Denver

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The annual United States Cannabis Cup kicked off over the weekend in Denver, Colorado. The High Times event took place at the Denver Mart and featured vendors and speakers from all across the country. Thousands of marijuana enthusiasts lined up to be apart of the event. Smokers from across the country gathered to see the booming marijuana industries new growing and extracting processes as well as new smoking accessories. Hundreds of booths will be set up during the event by both out-of-state and local dispensaries, all trying to be recognized for having the best strain of marijuana in the country.

Spectators at this year’s Cannabis Cup will be happy to know that many of these booths will be handing out free samples of their product. The samples will unfortunately only be provided by out-of-state companies due to Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (CMED). The CMED issued a memo that threatened sanctions against any state licensed cannabis shop that provided any free samples to the crowds present at the 2015 Cannabis Cup. The samples include edibles, smoke-able marijuana buds and hash, all given out by these out-of-state companies that had nothing to lose. Many local dispensaries were not quite as enthused by the news of out-of-state companies dispensing free samples. “It’s really frustrating for dispensaries who are trying to be compliant. For us, it’s our license on the line.” Says Tiffany Goldman, director of operations at Colorado pot shop The Health Center.

Even though these companies from out-of-state may give out samples of their various products, they still have to abide by Colorado state laws. This means that these companies are not able to sell their products at the event without a Colorado state business license. They also can not provide samples to anyone under the age of 21. This, however, has not stopped many of these booths from selling their products to people at the event. The state law enforcement was more concerned with public safety rather than focusing on the business done at the individual booths. Some out-of-state dispensaries opted out of giving out free samples though. Oregon based Medi Brothers owner Marcus Lentz decided to leave his 25,000 edible samples in Portland saying, “At $20 a sample, that’s a lot of money.” He decided to bring out cannabis free edibles to this years Cannabis Cup.

Even though some of the local businesses are left a little unhappy by the CMED’s memo, many who came to see the event were ecstatic. People drove from all across the country to not only see the Cannabis Cup for the first time but to be in a state where it is legal to carry and consume marijuana. Bill Stewart drove from Madison, Wisconsin to partake in the festivities. “I’ve been smoking for 40 years and just visited my first dispensary,” said the 63-year-old Stewart.

Even though free weed might bring out large crowds to this year’s Cannabis Cup in Denver, their will be many people attending to see some of the speakers that are lined up for the event. On Saturday night, the Grateful Dead’s Bill Kreutzmann will be speaking to the crowds. Then, on Sunday, he will be inducted into the Counterculture Hall of Fame during the cup’s award ceremony. Kreutzmann will be accepting the honor on behalf of the entire Grateful Dead. Sunday night will also be featuring a screening of the CNN docu-series High-Profits. The event will wrap up on the well-known smoker holiday April 20 with more samples and a screening of the cult film Super Troopers presented by Broken Lizard. The entirety of Broken Lizard will be in attendance for the screening.

The Cannabis Cup will not be the only marijuana event going on in Denver this weekend. The annual 420 rally will also be going on over the weekend. The annual rally will be going on Saturday and Sunday. It will run from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. PST on both days.

The Cannabis Cup, which is taking place in Denver, is an annual event put on by High Times. The event was started in Amsterdam, but the magazine always dreamed of bringing the event to the U.S. The first American Cannabis Cup took place in San Francisco in 2010, even though marijuana was only legal for medicinal purposes at the time. The cup moved to Denver in 2011, partly to accommodate a larger number of people. They had chosen the best possible location in Denver though, because marijuana was legalized in Colorado just a year later in 2012. Since legalization, the event has just grown and grown. The annual event is here to promote this new industry and give something back to the people who have helped push the legalization efforts over the past few years. With Oregon and Alaska joining Colorado and Washington in legalizing marijuana, it might not be long before High Times decides to take the Cannabis Cup on the road to cities such as Portland, Anchorage, and Seattle.

By James Dixson

The Cannabist
Denver Post
303 Magazine
Photo by: docmonstereyes – Flickr License