Update below: The High Times Cannabis Cup left a cloud of haze in the air that had all but disappeared by Sunday night, after the event closed. Unfortunately, the trash didn't dissipate as easily, and by Monday afternoon -- Earth Day -- hundreds of pounds of junk was still sitting out in an open, unfenced field near the event.
Yesterday, photos began to circulate online of the completely trashed field where the recreational and medical marijuana outdoor use areas were held, as well as the lack of workers (or anyone) cleaning it up.
When I went by around 6:30 last night to snap the pics seen here and below, the site was still a mess of paper fliers, unused swag bags from vendors, food trash and wrecked scaffolding for pop-up tents. Most obvious was the upturned pink couch and the completely intact circular stand that Platte Valley had set up to show off their Wax Room. I walked around and didn't see any marijuana on the ground, but I did find a few full cans of Vector butane and several used pot baggies and wax containers.
We called Exdo Center, where the event was held, and manager Andrew Feinstein said staffers there were being proactive about the cleanup; employees and a team of volunteers are tackling the mess right now. Feinstein didn't want to get into specifics on who dropped the ball, but from the rumors we've heard, it sounds like the company hired to put up the security fence around the outdoor recreational/medical smoking area took it down a day early, leaving trash behind in a field.
Manager Feinstein wouldn't comment on that, saying only that workers didn't get around to the field until this morning because they'd focused their efforts on other places the day after the concert -- and then they were delayed by the snowstorm that started yesterday evening. He also declined to say if High Times or Exdo was contractually obligated to clean up the site.
"These things happen, and we are being proactive now for the neighbors," he told us, adding that volunteers were helping out the paid crews hired by Exdo for the cleanup.
After several people tweeting photos and putting them up on Facebook last night, a crew of volunteers began organizing to clean up the site in the morning despite several inches of wet spring snow. According to sources, the volunteers arrived to find there was already a crew working on the cleanup, shoveling up snow and junk into two large roll-off dumpsters with the help of a bulldozer.
Frankly, it doesn't matter who dropped the ball -- it's yet another scuff on the 4/20 weekend in the eyes of a lot of people, including the RiNo neighbors who have complained about the mess in the field. Mix this with the lines of people standing around smoking joints for hours waiting to get in on Friday in front of pissed-off condo owners across the street, and we wouldn't be surprised if High Times starts looking for a new venue for next year.
Update: Exdo's Andrew Feinstein has shared two photos of the now-cleaned-up site. They follow the ones taken on Earth Day
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More from our Marijuana archive: "Photo: NFL running back LenDale White at the High Times Cannabis Cup" and "Photos: High Times Cannabis Cup 2013 wrap-up and winners."