It’s been a week since the High Times Medical Marijuana Cannabis Cup here in Denver, and I think I’m still high. Yeah, really. So much so that I almost forgot to write about it.
Now, I could easily make those lame, overly-used clichéd jokes about how Denver is the Mile HIGH City, or call us Denverdam … but really, let’s just cut to the chase, shall we?
The Cannabis Cup was a rockin’, smoky, helluva good time.
I must digress for a second and share an observation before we discuss the green (which we will, of course, or my name ain’t Connie Chronnoisseur!) We all know the medical cannabis industry is in a state of rapid change right now: struggling to stay true to its roots while at the same time needing to shed some of the stereotypical hippie/stoner culture image that consistently blocks the ability for medical use to be taken seriously by societal standards. Never was that more clear than at the CannaCup.
Sure, the freaks came out, as they always do when there’s anything pot-related (and that’s a beautiful thing.) But, so did the everyday people who use marijuana for a variety of ailments, the lab-coat-bedecked scientists, the organizations fighting for patients’ rights, a mayoral candidate and even awesome folks who supply free or low-cost meds to hospice and indigent patients. As for mainstream media, it doesn’t get more mainstream these days than MTV, who was there, along with G4’s Attack of the Show and several other major crews, documenting the festivities and panel discussions. This event truly showcased the groundswell of support and credibility given to the medical movement in Colorado. To echo the sentiments of my colleague, Austin Wulf, it was surprisingly … normal.
Of course, the Cannabis Cup would be nothing without the herb. So, since Austin has filled you in on the other stuff, let’s talk about the star of the show.
2011 marks the 24th Annual Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam – that anniversary a benefit of the relaxed pot laws of The Netherlands. The first-ever Medical Cannabis Cup was held last year in 2010 in San Francisco, California. With Colorado leading a renewed charge on the medical-use frontier, a Denver gathering was added to the slate this year. Colorado dispensaries entered a whopping 45 indicas, 36 sativas, 50 hybrids, 26 concentrates, and 25 edibles into the competition, the results of which were announced as the final event of the weekend. (I tried many of the entered strains prior to the event, and, while none of those I tried were awarded prizes, they were all splendid. I plan on visiting the winning dispensaries quite soon and sharing what I found here in this column.)
And then there was The Smoke Room. Yes, it’s capitalized. Because it’s just that important.
As my partner-in-chronic, Mr. Chronnoisseur, and I made our way down the alley towards the small warehouse set aside for “medicating purposes,” we knew we were in for a treat. A delightful kind aroma permeated our nostrils, and, judging by the looks of the folks coming towards us, it looked like some hard-core medicating was going on. Nothing, however, could have prepared us for what we found inside.
The sweet suite smell of sinsemilla
Accessible for Colorado MMJ red card medical patients only, the “Amendment 20 section” was one of the most surreal experiences I’ve ever had. It was my imaginary perfect world come to life – a place where nice people walk around sharing their six-foot-long vape balloons, bowls of lush buds are lined up for inspection, water pipes abound, and scrumptious confections are available at every turn. And the hash bar? The stuff of legend, I tell you. Some booths had DJs, some had games to win products, and others had clever marketing ploys, such as the airline-themed Cannasseur Dispensary booth highlighting their new Kurple Fantasy strain. (and thanks to their “flight attendants,” I had Britney Spears’ Toxic stuck in my head all night.)
Ever do a hot box, where you roll up the windows of the car and smoke yourselves silly? Ok, well multiply that by about infinity, and you have this. There was more smoke that anyone knew what to do with. Now, I’m sure I’m supposed to say it was an opportunity for the dispensaries to interact with the patients and drum up business … but here’s the reality: in a nutshell, it was the biggest pot rave I have ever been privileged to be part of. I could have not smoked a thing and gotten baked as hell off the smoke, it was that thick. The rules? No selling or giving away the herb. Only sharing. And we all know that sharing is caring. People shared. A lot.
Still, it was awesome to meet face-to-face many of the people behind growing, cultivating and marketing some of the best bud in the world. I have a very specific regimen I use for medicating that went completely out the window, but I’m ok with that. I felt good. I laughed and smiled. And I reveled in the freedom of being able to medicate and alleviate the pain that wracks my body on a daily basis without fear that I’d be arrested or judged.
And that, my friends, is what the Medical Cannabis Cup is all about. Freedom. Advocating. And a celebration of our shared and continued journey towards complete legal access to a natural remedy.
Until next time, happy medicating!
p.s. A special shout-out to the fellas at Compassionate Pain Management for their excellent Joints for Japan campaign. Check this out – a way the medical community can help out those in need through purchasing joints, shirts and posters. A fantastic idea and amazing way to give back. Let’s keep supporting each other, being kind, and keep fighting the good fight.