The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is coming to Denver on April 2 and 3 at the Exdo Event Center. It's just the second such event the pot-smoker's favorite mag has sponsored in America -- and according to executive editor Dan Skye, heading to Denver following last year's visit to San Francisco (captured in photos on view below) was an easy call.
"We've been running the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam for 23 years, but we always wanted to do a cup in the U.S.," Skye says. "So last June in San Francisco, we held the first-ever High Times Medical Cannabis Cup, and it was a great success. So we decided to move forward and move on to the next medical marijuana powerhouse, which is obviously Colorado."
The Cup's main event involves "a cannabis competition -- people deciding what medicine is the best," he notes. "There will be a number of criteria to determine that. A panel of judges, all of them patients, will be examining the cannabis, and we will come up with a winner over the two days of the event. And the cannabis will be entered through dispensaries, so it's a completely legal competition in every sense of the word, in full compliance with Colorado law."
In addition, the Cup will include a trade show, as well as a Saturday night VIP party starring trippy hip-hop star Kid Cudi.
Elements like these at previous medical marijuana-oriented events here have drawn criticism from some MMJ advocates, who prefer to emphasize medical aspects over those that nod toward recreational use and the weed lifestyle. In response, Skye touts discussion-oriented features that will take place throughout the weekend.
"We'll have a medical panel, a business panel and a legal panel, and a number of the top people in the industry from Colorado will be taking part," he points out, mentioning attorneys Rob Corry and Warren Edson, Dr. Bob Melamede, and Dan Hartman, the new director of the state's Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division. "We'll also have Full Spectrum Labs, the premier testing facility in Colorado, giving us a lot of information on strains prior to judging. It's very much a Colorado based event, very Colorado-centric. We've pulled out all the stops."
At the same time, Skye doesn't see the need to eliminate fun in order to prove that this marijuana get-together is medical in nature.
"We have to think about the definition of medicine and why we use what we use to make ourselves feel better, whether it's to treat insomnia or nausea or things that are life-threatening," he says. "People who use marijuana come from all walks of life, and as a result, two industries have cropped up: the consumer and the cultivator. And the parallel I always bring in is the fitness industry. The health industry really took off in the '80s, with health clubs, certifying organizations, the $4 billion sneaker industry. And we're seeing the same thing happening with cannabis.
"I understand talking about the seriousness of this as medicine. But I think it's important to not always be so damned serious. We can enjoy good medicine as well, and build a great industry around this plant. We can do it through responsible capitalism -- and the more businesses, the more we can do to try to revive our economy.
"The fact is, if the harnesses were taken off this plant, if it were unleashed, we'd see industry beyond belief. We've seen that in Michigan, where, in a very economically depressed state, so many people are now working in this new industry -- which is still in its infancy, and it's only going to get better."
Medcancup.com provides links to frequently asked questions, ticket information and more. In the meantime, Skye is looking forward to attending the gathering, which he hopes will set a new standard for medical marijuana gatherings in these parts.
"Colorado has had some great conventions so far," he acknowledges. "But I think High Times coming in will give it a little more oomph."
Page down to see a High Times video about the Medical Cannabis Cup, in addition to photos from last year's event in San Francisco.
High Times Medical Cannabis Cup video:
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