Walking up to the Denver Mart on 4/20 is exhilarating for a High Times Cannabis Cup virgin. You've heard the stories and seen the pictures, and now you're ready to witness the madness (and probably partake in it).
Over 500 marijuana business and thousands of people made the pilgrimage to the private event center in unincorporated Adams County April 18-20, where consuming cannabis was legal for anyone 21-and-older or medical patients over eighteen.
The sight of police officers safely directing traffic in and out of an event designated for pot-smoking was a sweet piece of irony any cannabis lover would enjoy, and the diversity of the crowd highlighted the human connectivity cannabis creates. Of course, there was an abundance of dreadlocks, Grateful Dead T-shirts and baggy pants. But middle-aged men wearing college football gear, groups of affluent thirty-somethings and women old enough to be your grandma were puffing joints and laughing right beside them.
"I came here with my sons just to see what it was all about," said a red-eyed Henry Berger, a 48-year-old father with two sons in their twenties. "If I can go to Oktoberfest when they're of age, then why can't I enjoy this with them, too?"
The number of booths can be overwhelming at first. Inside, vendors from all over the country showed off their products — some of them claiming to increase grow yields by 20 percent or significantly reduce energy bills. Extraction systems with too many twists and knobs to comprehend and industrial-sized automatic bud trimmers were also lined up, foreshadowing the future of the marijuana industry.
It was hard to walk through and not notice some influential figures. President of Cannabis Global Initiative Wanda James was strolling around with her husband, cannabis chef and restauranteur Scott Durrah. Hash whiz Murphy Murri was at the ExtractionTek Solutions booth showcasing a closed loop hydrocarbon extraction system. Yes, most people showed up to celebrate, but the volume of information available could've filled a few thousand pages, and that's not even counting the educational seminars.
Outside was a different story. Vendors showcasing hash, edibles, vaporizers, glassware and much more were busy handing out free swag and enjoying music. Hundreds of dollars were spent every minute on seeds from world-renowned strain breeders. Lines of people stacked up at generous booths for free dabs and bong tokes. The hazy maze was hard to walk through, and bumping into someone smoking a banana-sized joint was inevitable. If you didn't show up ready to embrace the jovial clutter, it may have been too much to handle.
The event faced somewhat of a buzzkill from the Marijuana Enforcement Division, which earlier this month decided no Colorado cannabis businesses could sell or give out samples of their THC-infused products. Those working the event said the MED's decision didn't affect the turnout whatsoever, although the Colorado booths couldn't help but notice their disadvantage to out-of-staters.
"It kind of sucks, because all of the California businesses brought their products and are handing them out, which is what we were all expecting to do," said Mike Schlachtenhaufen, an employee for Denver-based O.penVAPE.
Compared to last year, when attendees were able to take free dabs and enjoy pot-infused hors d'oeuvres at any booth providing them, the excess just wasn't the same. But that doesn't mean the celebration was lacking. Attendees were welcome to bring their own cannabis, and as 4:20 p.m. approached, eyes were darting for the nearest table, magazine or bench — anything one could use to roll up on.
The simplicity of it was beautiful There was no countdown, disco ball drop or moment of silence; just a group of potheads doing what they were supposed to do. Smoking a joint in a public setting as you freely walk around and converse is oddly liberating. Just don't get in a measuring contest, because there's always someone bigger than you.
Although the Cup was open until 9 p.m., you never would've guessed after 4:20 came and went. The mass exodus around 5 p.m. was a sight to behold. Cotton-mouthed zombies with appetites for doughnuts, fried food and Gatorade shuffled out of the Denver Mart, and the food carts lined up outside took full advantage.
An event worth experiencing for anyone interested in marijuana or counter culture, the Cannabis Cup did the best it could with the limitations imposed on it. The Great American Beer Festival of pot? Not quite yet. But future laws permitting, it might get there one day.
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Look below to see the full list of winners at this year's Cup.
2015 High Times Cannabis Cup Winners
BEST COLORADO SATIVA FLOWER
1st Place - Ghost Train Haze - Greenman Cannabis
2nd Place - Sweet Silver Haze - Rocky Mountain High
3rd Place - Pootie Tang - Starbuds
BEST US SATIVA FLOWER
1st Place - Ghost Train Haze #13 - Greenway Las Vegas
2nd Place - Veganic Strawberry Cough - Private Stock for Buds & Roses of LA
3rd Place - Green Crack - Christopher Stine
BEST COLORADO INDICA FLOWER
1st Place - Louie XIII - Greenman Cannabis
2nd Place - Colorado Bubba - MMJ America Boulder
3rd Place - Black Fire - Docs Apothecary in collaboration with the Ethos Collective
BEST US INDICA FLOWER
1st Place - Granddaddy Purps - Herbal Healing
2nd Place - Kosher Kush - Greenwolf LA with Kushco
3rd Place - DaVinci OG - Greenwolf LA with Ghost Crow
BEST COLORADO HYBRID FLOWER
1st Place - Kong - Allgreens
2nd Place - Starkiller - Greenman Cannabis
3rd Place - OG KB Cookies - MMJ America Downtown
BEST US HYBRID FLOWER
1st Place - T.S.T. Cookies - Greenwolf and Top Shelf Terps
2nd Place - Cali Kush Farms Emperor Cookie Dough - Greenwolf LA
3rd Place - Mega Wellness OG - The Weed, The Wellness Earth Energy Dispensary with Nameless Genetics
BEST SATIVA CONCENTRATE
1st Place - Strawberry Lemonade Live Resin - Crocket Family Farms by Dabblicious Extracts
2nd Place - Wonderland Live Resin - Greenwolf LA with Dabblicious, Crockett Family Farm and G.C. Rebellion Farms
3rd Place - Tangie #17 - Gold Coast Extracts
BEST INDICA CONCENTRATE
1st Place - Crown OG Sugar - Greenwolf LA/Nature's Lab Extracts/Crown OG
2nd Place - Space Valley OG (Fresh Frozen) - Pink House with Incredibles
3rd Place - Kush Company OG Live Resin Batter - Kush Company with Nature's Lab Extracts and the W.E.E.D. Studio City
BEST HYBRID CONCENTRATE
1st Place - B Mega Wellness OG - Nameless Genetics with The Weed of Studio City
2nd Place - Crown OG Crumble - Greenwolf LA/Nature's Lab Extracts/Crown OG
3rd Place - Skywalker OG Kush - Dab Vader/Vader Extractracts
BEST NON-SOLVENT HASH
1st Place - Cookies and Cream Cubantech Drysift - Exotic Genetix
2nd Place - Strawberry Banangieland 120-73u - Trichome Heavy Extracts with G.C. Rebellion Farms, Greenwolf LA and DNA
3rd Place - Kimbo Kush Cubantech Drysift - Cuban Hash Queen with Exotic Genetix
1st Place - Bubba Kush Root Beer 100mg - Keef Cola Signature
2nd Place - Affagato Bar - Incredibles
3rd Place - Orange Creamsicle Creampop - Sacred Sweets with Trichome Heavy Extractions in a collaborative effort with DNA
1st Place - Angel Salve - Champion Cannabis with Evolab
2nd Place - HIGHGASM - Genusys Compounds and Essences
3rd Place - Foria Pleasure - Foria
BEST CBD FLOWER
1st Place - Tora Bora - MMJ America
2nd Place - The Nubia - Aficionado/ FreeBorn Selections
3rd Place - Sleeping Giant - Elemental Seeds
BEST CBD CONCENTRATE
1st Place - OG Tonic - The Smokers Club in collaboration with Garden of Weedn
2nd Place - Cannatonic - Natural Mystic Cannabis Caregivers
3rd Place - Industrial Hemp CBD Extract - ISODIOL S.A.
BEST CBD EDIBLE
1st Place - 160 mg Banana Pudding Bar - Shum-Met(TM) Bars in collaboration with Foxtracts
2nd Place - Rockies CBD Enriched Premium Protein Bar - TC Labs/TC Treats
3rd Place - Cherry Drops Tincture - Great Lakes Hemp Supplements
1st Place - Vader Extracts
2nd Place - Rx Green Solutions / The Ethos Collective
3rd Place - The Green Solution
1st Place - Moxie Mix - Bader Extracts
2nd Place - Cloud V - Cloud V
3rd Place - Oil Slick - Oil Slick
BEST GLASS ART
1st Place - Qbert - Vader Extracts / Freeek / Pinky
2nd Place - Mothership Glass - Beehive Concentrates
3rd Place - Hitman Glass - Hitman Glass
1st Place - 710 King Pen - Loud Pack Extracts
2nd Place - Cloud V - Cloud V
3rd Place - Icredibowl Milkshake Machine - Incredibowl Red Eye Saloon
PEOPLE'S CHOICE FLOWERS
1st Place - Cindy White - The Green Solution
2nd Place - GRiZ Kush - Native Roots
3rd Place - Bubba Kush - The Clinic Colorado
PEOPLE'S CHOICE CONCENTRATES
1st Place - Sour Diesel Shatter - The Green Solution
2nd Place - Kosher Kush Live Resin Butter - The Clinic Colorado
3rd Place - Orange Herijuana Shatter - Native Roots
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