“Hats in the air,” and the crowd gleefully obliges. The cannon is pointed, and then, every cannabis enthusiast’s dream come true. Fire. The cannon erupts with a loud hiss, and rains cannabis products all over the crowd: joints, edibles, whole buds. A cup without cannabis? Forget about it.
Cannabis Cup 2015 – Day One: No free samples?
Welcome to the 2015 High Times U.S. Cannabis Cup; an event which draws thousands from Colorado and beyond, to celebrate their love for the kind bud. However, this year, in contrast to last year’s event, it was initially reported that no vendors should be handing out samples of any marijuana products. I explored the Cannabis Cup on Saturday to figure out the truth to this claim, and to see how it’s affected people’s attitudes and moods. I mean, people come from all over the world to sample some of these products, right? It’s almost like if you were to go to the Great American Beer Festival, another event that Colorado has become known for, to only grab stickers and information about the breweries, and not get to drink all of their frothy, delicious craft brews!
As I pulled up to the event, the line to get in already stretched around the entire Denver Mart complex. As I walked my way around the line, isolated puffs of smoke rose from the crowd, which is to be expected. See, this year, the Cup has a very lenient BYOB, or Bring Your Own Bud, policy. Want a dab? Find a vendor with one of their dab rigs, and they’ll let you medicate with your supply. For the most part, from my day of walking around, people were smoking joints, but every sort of cannabis consumption was greatly represented. My point is, despite the fact that no Colorado dispensaries were allowed to give out product, people were in no shortage of product to celebrate with.
It turns out, the MED’s warning was specifically aimed at Colorado’s marijuana dispensaries. Any Colorado dispensary found giving out, or selling marijuana products at the event were told they would lose their license. “They even told us to relocate from the medicating section,” claims Erick Gerber, the store manager of High Country Healing, a medicinal and recreational dispensary in Silverthorne, Colorado. HCH has three other locations in Colorado Springs, and one in Alma, Colorado. However, some dispensaries chose to keep their outdoor spots, like the Native Roots chain, who had an entire smoker’s lounge set up, complete with a DJ playing some transcendental electronica. No weed, though.
So, where was the weed? The answer? Any booths that were run by companies from outside of Colorado did not have the same restrictions on them. In Colorado, every individual is allowed to possess up to an ounce of cannabis at a time, so any individual at these out-of-state booths was allowed to give out product. And some did, very freely. The scene described in my first paragraph was put on at the Vader Extracts stage, where the MC even shouted to the crowd, “Did anybody hear that they weren’t gonna let us give out stuff this year? Fuck the po-lice!” as a shower of bud hit a section of the crowd. Vader Extracts is a California-based extraction company, so the restrictions on free products do not apply to them in the same way it might apply to a Colorado extraction company, like Mahatma, for instance. Some booths were completely going against state law and MED guidelines by selling product at the event, which Cup attendees picked up with haste. Does it seem a little unfair? It certainly makes the Colorado dispensaries seem desolate, with one or two people looking at their booths at any given time, compared to the long lines that formed at places handing out product freely. Of course, we do what we have to do, given that licenses are on the line, and Colorado has the gaze of the entire world’s cannabis legalization movement on it.
Though I was initially concerned, the weed was not in short supply at the Cannabis Cup. People certainly took it upon themselves to purchase products at dispensaries on their way to Denver Mart. This was especially apparent when the clock hit 4:20, and the entirety of the medication section was blanketed in a thick cloud of skunk. Cannabis cup is in full swing people, with plenty of awesome events for Sunday 19th and the big day, Monday, April 20th. I’ll keep you updated. Happy holiday!