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Stoners Delight in the HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis CupBonnie King Salem-News.com
A sold out crowd enjoyed every minute under the sunny skies of Santa Rosa, California.
(SANTA ROSA, Calif.) - The Fifteenth HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis Cup was held at the Santa Rosa, California fairgrounds the last weekend of June, and we were there. It is the fifth time the massive two-day trade show and EXPO has been held in the San Francisco Bay Area. Each year, this event has increased in size and attendance.
HIGH TIMES Magazine has been a staple for marijuana enthusiasts since the summer of 1974, never losing its footing as the premiere “go to” publication on cannabis subjects from A to Z. Any true stoner has a stash of magazines somewhere in their home, and maybe even a centerfold hanging in “their” area.
Once, these magazines were a secret from parents. Today, parents display their old mags with pride and the envy of those who didn’t hold onto theirs from “back in the day”. Things have come full circle.
And speaking of circles ...there were plenty of those at this Cup. Since the popularity of concentrates and before that, vaporizers, passing a joint around the circle has become less of a typical scene. Still, there are those “soul stoners” who solidly believe in the flower and only the flower.
At this event, there was more than enough variety to satisfy the preferences of each and every type and desire - behind the “medical area” security gate, that is.
Background on the Cup
In 1988, Steven Hager was hired as Editor of HIGH TIMES magazine, and his recently-developed idea of a Cannabis competition became reality. HIGH TIMES magazine had come a long way, and a competition for all things cannabis seemed a natural addition to the events roster. With Hager at the helm, HIGH TIMES hosted their very first Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam in 1988. It is now well-known as the world’s preeminent Cannabis Competition.
Beginning with the 6th Cup, Hager began fusing counterculture spirituality into the event and using the time 4:20 as an important ceremonial moment.
"Most of what I learned about spirituality came from Stephen Gaskin and Ina May Gaskin and from attending National Rainbow Family Gatherings," says Hager.
Gaskin was inducted into High Times magazine's Counterculture Hall of Fame in 2004. Ina May Gaskin had been inducted four years earlier.
Sadly, the report of Stephen Gaskin’s death came at the heels of the SF Cup, on Tuesday. He was 79, and died on The Farm, a community that he and his wife Ina founded 43 years ago. The Farm is near Summertown, Tenn., and is one of the world's largest and longest-lived hippie communes with about 175 still living there full time. He will be sorely missed.
In 2010, HIGH TIMES magazine hosted the first “Medical Cup” competition, which embraces the medical marijuana movement in America. Growers, patients, vendors and cannabis-enthusiasts in the U.S. came together and celebrated cannabis culture as a community. Yes, it is a great, big party, and it was time for us to join in.
So we packed up, headed south and about a dozen hours and a few Red Bulls later, we were standing in the VIP line and contemplating whether or not we should have brought more water.
Hot and Stony Times for All
Did I say it was hot? The sizzling temps reached nearly 110 degrees, and were at once shocking and a welcome change for us Oregonians. Nothing slowed the flow of people coming to the Cup, as the cannabis lovers showed in record numbers.
This adult-only (18+) event was open to all, but as recreational cannabis is not yet legal in California, the “medication” area was restricted to card-carrying medical marijuana patients.
With the right paperwork, Californians arriving without their medical marijuana permit were able to see a doctor on site and get their signed document on the spot. In California, unlike Oregon, there is no need to wait for a card to arrive in the mail. The doctor’s signature is the legal document.
As we sauntered through the first half of the event, the non-medical usage area, we were happy to see dozens of people lounging in the shade, lazily sipping iced drinks, while some were debating the pros and cons of today’s methods of growing vs tried and true “old guard” techniques. A reasonable subject, no doubt.
We came upon pot plants that were in all sizes, up to 3’ tall, ready to go. All manner of cultivation supplies and expertise were at hand. Scores of unique and interesting booths ranged from artists showing their glassware and clothing, to dab supplies, grow equipment and cannabis-related artwork.
We met and connected with friends old and new.
Coasterdam Cannabis Collective from Marina, California was represented by Kevin Saunders at the CCHI 2016 booth. “The people that come to the Cup are more aware than most of the general public. They already know that Cannabis is the answer to so many ailments and that Hemp’s benefits to mankind are impossible to count,” said Saunders.
“We are here to give people information to take home with them, and share with others. Education is the only answer to the difficulties in communication that influence our judicial systems. We really want people to vote their conscience. If they know about Cannabis, they will vote to legalize.”
We were able to speak with Patrick Moore, of HEMP Today for the U.S.A. He explained the history of hemp seeds as a food with built-in health benefits, and how by removing hemp seeds from the diet of humans around the world (prohibition), we literally developed a deficiency in endocannabanoids, resulting in an inability to fight diseases and other illnesses which have all increased since Cannabis (marijuana) was made illegal to grow and use.
Well done. Hemp Warrior Jack Herer would have been duly impressed.
John Forse of Lincoln City, Oregon made the trip to connect with canna-businesses that are interested in coming to Northwest events. He is hosting the Nelscott Reefer Coastal Hemp Festival 2014 at the Surftides Resort in Lincoln City, Oregon on October 18th, 2014.
“This is big,” Forse said. “This is just mind-boggling, it’s so enormous. Really impressive.” It was John’s first Cannabis Cup as well, and I had to agree with his summation.
The indoor portion of the event was in this non-medical area, so we were sure to stop in and see what speaker or seminar was taking place. Out of the sun and into a chair, and some cooler air… great idea.
Canna-Panels, Canna-Lectures, & Canna-MOREMany distinguished panelists and lecturers from various cannabis industries appeared on the HIGH TIMES’ stage throughout both days in the seminar hall. Not only were the lectures informative, and gave attendees a chance to meet some of the notorieties from cannabis lore, but it was a refreshingly cool choice as well. Bonus!
The seminar topics included legalization regulations featuring California experts, current political issues, grow seminars with HIGH TIMES editors and a cooking seminar from HIGH TIMES’ own Cannabis Cookbook author.
The Breaking Dab panel, headed up by Bobby Black was standing room only, as was the Cannabis for Health, Happiness & Creativity panel, fronted by local activist Debby Goldsberry.
Here is the entire schedule, so you can see the expanse of speakers, etc.:
SATURDAY, June 28Expo doors opens at noon.
1:30 p.m. Breaking Dab: A discussion of the growing world of cannabis concentrates.
2:30 p.m. Cannabis for Health, Happiness & Creativity
3:30 p.m. HIGH TIMES presents "Free Weed from Danny Danko" featuring a panel of cultivation experts.
4:30 p.m. Russ Belville presents "The Results of Legalization”
5:30 p.m. WAMM Patient's Panel
8 p.m. Performance by “moe.”
SUNDAY, June 29Expo doors open at noon
1:30 p.m. “How to open a business in the cannabis industry”
2:30 p.m. Jon Gettman presents: "Competition and Cannabis Markets"
3:30 p.m. “The Art of Edibles”
4:30 p.m. B.E. Smith presents “Unalienable Rights vs. Civil Rights”
7:30 p.m. The HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis Cup Awards ceremony (Winners listed below)
Into the Medication Stone ZoneThe Medical area had another security checkpoint. There we showed our red medical wrist-bands, which can only be had by a card-carrying legal medical marijuana patient.
The entire event was protected by outside hired security. “Every security company we're hired for these events has stated that we have the most polite and respectful attendees of any events they work (including sporting events, concerts etc.),” said HIGH TIMES.
We entered the fenced off area complete with privacy screening to keep it from being visible to the general public. Even the media (yes, that’s us) couldn’t take any pictures inside, to protect the privacy of the patients.
I thought the weather was hot, but as it turns out, it was the women.
Sexy women were handing out honey stix and samples of candies and cookies, giving cards for free dabs (every where you looked), posing for photos with past Cannabis Cups, and they were even behind the water misters giving pleasure out in the crowd as well.
There were girls dancing with hoola hoops that lit up at night, and girls dressed as nurses to take care of the slightly stoned.
The best of the best seed gurus and growing experts were on hand, including the amazing TGAgenetics Subcool Seeds Crew whose booth was swamped every time we passed by. They were one of many groups that gave away samples to the enthusiastic crowd periodically throughout the event.
All these wise and wonderful folks were available to share insight into their genius creations. It was an unending supply of Canna-knowledge, and I’m quite sure two days is not enough time to take it all in.
There was a lot of talk concerning the “sexiness” of the event, and whether or not it is good for the integrity of the marijuana cause. I do agree that in a perfect world sex would not be used as a tool, but that’s a Utopic ideal outside the arena of capitalism. What it comes down to, is that ending prohibition is not hampered by sexy girls spreading the message - and it shouldn't be.
In support of intelligent and business-savvy women, I asked Miss May, the Playboy centerfold, to autograph a poster for our hard-working photographer, Sean King, which she was happy to do. Turns out, her fiancé suffers from arthritis and Cannabis helps him function every day. She is an avid Cannabis crusader.
Judges Make Final Decision for The Cup
“Celebrity judges” are invited to every Cup. In the past, some of the notable Canna-celebrity judges have included Ed Rosenthal, Elvy Musikka, Soma, Dr. Eric Fromberg, (the late) Gatewood Galbraith, Paul Krassner and Sebastian Bach, Chris Conrad, (the late) Stephen Gaskin and Ina May Gaskin, Dennis Peron, Mel Frank, John Trudell, John Sinclair, Tommy Chong and the late, great Jack Herer, among many others.
For a non-celebrity to be a judge at the Cannabis Cup, one must pay an extra fee, which allows the attendee to sample and vote on the different varieties, some perhaps their personal favorites, but most are an intriguing new experience.
The judges decide who receives “The Cannabis Cup”, which is the overall winner in the cannabis variety competition, as well as best new product, best booth, best grass, best hash and more.
And the WINNER is...
Here are all the winners from the HIGH TIMES Bay Area Medical Cannabis Cup – June 28-29, 2014.
Best Medical Topical
Flowers - Great White - Alpha Medic
Edibles - Medibrothers and MTG Medi-Chew High CBD - Medibrothers & MTG Seeds
Concentrates - Charlotte's Web - P.E.A.C.E. Plant Essentials And Cannabis Extracts
Best Non-Solvent Hash
HIGH TIMES Lifetime Achievement Award
By focusing on the needs of patients and caregivers, WAMM provides hope and builds community while offering a safe, organic supply of medical marijuana to patients with a doctor’s recommendation for the treatment of terminal and chronic illness.
In 2002, the Drug Enforcement Agency raided the WAMM garden and destroyed the collective’s entire crop of state-legal medical cannabis. Several members died as a result of being cut off from their supply. With support from the ACLU and the City of Santa Cruz, WAMM successfully sued the federal government. The garden was replanted, and now grows with more strength and vibrancy than ever.
“Valerie and Mike’s compassion and commitment to the cause has been an inspiration to our community. They helped architect Prop 215, California’s historic medical marijuana law, and have long been a proponent of the true value of cannabis -- it’s ability to heal,” said HIGH TIMES.
Stoners: Find Your Calendars!
The next big HIGH TIMES event is July 26 & 27th, 2014. Don’t miss the Medical Cannabis Cup in Clio, Michigan.
As most know, the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup is held the last week of November, without fail in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This year it begins November 23rd and runs through the 27th.
Again, the Judges of the Cannabis Cup will choose the best marijuana and hashish varieties, served by the Coffeeshops of Holland, as well as the best new varieties of seeds, hemp products and 4:20 wanna-haves. This is an event that all conscious marijuana enthusiasts dream about attending, and many more make it there every year.
Prompted by Colorado’s new laws allowing recreational use of cannabis, the first-ever American version of the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup was held in Denver on April 20th, 2013, and again on 4/20 in 2014.
Washington voters also passed adult, recreational use laws in the November 2012 election. Retail sales to adults begin last week. (Oregon votes on a similar measure this November).
Now, HIGH TIMES is able to hold Cannabis Cups on American soil, and for the first time in over 70 years, adults can experience the best cannabis products freely, without fear of legal retribution.
Join them in Washington. That’s right. September 6 & 7th, 2014, HIGH TIMES is coming to the Emerald City for its third U.S. Cannabis Cup event. That’s just two weeks after the Seattle Hempfest, the biggest hempfest in the world. Washington is definitely abuzz.
We may see you there. Don’t forget to say High.
In Santa Rosa, California with photographer Sean King and field producer Nory King, I’m Bonnie King for Salem-News.com.
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