High Times Magazine threw arguable the biggest private pot parties in the nation over the weekend, drawing thousands of people over two days to the Exdo Events Center for the mag's third cannabis contest in as many years. The past two years, only medical marijuana patients were allowed to puff tough on the premises. This year, though, the ganja fest was open to everyone, with areas set aside for recreational and medical patients to pack bowls, socialize and soak in some of the occasional springtime sun filtered through a smoky haze of clouds overhead.
The event was three times as big as it's been in the past, taking over Exdo for exhibitions, two warehouses behind it for medical patients, all of 35h between Walnut and Larimer for an open-air pot product market and a second vacant lot one block southeast of Exdo that was turned into a carnival fun (mad?) house of marijuana shops, seed stores and pipe makers giving out pounds of hash oil one dab at a time.
Lines stretched around the block on Saturday, with general admission people waiting up to four hours to get inside from what we heard.
We showed up around 1 p.m., and even with VIP entrance, it took about an hour to move through the line, get bracelets and enter the tightly-packed center. The lines were one of the major gripes from day one visitors. Traveling through Exdo and over to the recreational-marijuana-use area took about twenty minutes of crowd-dodging, and the fenced-in area was equally packed with herb-puffers.
There were a lot of out-of-towners representing places like Texas, Oklahoma and New Jersey, with some even coming from as far away as New Zealand for the stony weekend. Tourists tended to have a "I can't believe this is happening" look on their faces while snatching up as much crap as they could -- lining up at booth after booth for freebies like stickers, shirts and hits of weed.
A few dispensaries, like Pink House and 420 Wellness, set up massive, elaborate booths, with the latter opting for the tits-and-ass approach of having topless, body-painted women hand out dabs. Their skeezy approach worked, nabbing them second place for best booth. First place winner Incredibowl opted for the more direct approach -- sending out a team of people loaded with herb and Incredibowl pipes to get people stoned all over the venue.
Sunday wasn't nearly as bad with regard to crowd size, and it was much easier to walk around checking out the different vendors displaying everything from herb to pipes to alcohol wipes for cleaning up your hash oil tools. Though we've been to the Denver cups in the past, this one took the cake as far as spectacle went. Dabs of hash oil were everywhere, spiffs lit up every few seconds and a surprising number of edibles were being offered up for free.
Continue for more about this year's High Times Cannabis Cup, including award winners and additional photos. The award ceremony on Sunday night was shorter than last year's events, with organizers asking only first-place winners to take the stage and a lack of pre-show entertainment aside from some Cali rapper who rhymed about doing dabs and smoking purple weed. In addition to past award categories, the 2013 cup also awarded the best U.S.-grown flowers and best U.S.-made hash -- a quasi-gray area award more in line with past Amsterdam cups that also gave prizes for imported hash from places like Morocco and Spain.
The big winners were the Reserva Privada team, who had first- or second-place genetics in almost every category.
Dispensary-wise, The Clinic, Greenest Green and Denver Relief all have bragging rights on their first place flower wins, while Karmaceuticals took home first in solvent-produced hash for their BHO shatter. High Times has also continued the tradition of CBD awards for the most medically beneficial strains, with Greenwerksz taking best flowers and best oil for their CBD-rich R4 strain (a strain now being given away to patients and other centers in seed and clone form).
Below, check out all of the winners this year and a video from day 1 of the event:
2013 Denver High Times Cannabis Cup winners:
US MIXED FLOWERS 1 -- Platinum Girl Scout Cookies by Private Stock LA 2 -- Chem Tange by La Conte's Clone Bar & Dispensary 3 -- Kosher Kush by DNA Genetics
US MIXED HASH 1 -- Tangie Shatter by Reserva Privada 2 -- Lemon Amnesia Shatter by Archive Seed Bank / TerpX 3 -- Lemon OG Solventless Hash by Buds & Roses L.A. / BAMF Extractions
MEDICAL NON-SOLVENT HASH 1 -- Flo-G solventless Wax by Essential Extracts 2 -- D-Star Solventless Wax by Botica del Sol 3 -- Presidential Ice Wax by The Green Solution
MEDICAL CONCENTRATES 1 -- Gucci-Earwax by Mahatma Extreme Concentrates/Karmaceuticals 2 -- Lemon G-13 Shatter by Gaia Plant Based Medicine and T.C. Labs 3 -- Pre '03 Kobe by Stay Concentrated
Continue for more winners, plus a video and photos from our High Times Cannabis Cup 2013 slide show.
MEDICAL HYBRID 1 -- Reserva Privada OG-18 by Denver Relief 2 -- Cinderella '99 x The White by Natural Remedies 3 -- Ghost OG Kush by The Clinic - Colorado
MEDICAL INDICA 1 -- Skywalker 600 by The Greenest Green 2 -- Larry OG by MMJ America 3 -- Banana Kush by Mile High Green Cross
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MEDICAL SATIVA 1 -- Tangie by The Clinic / Colorado 2 - Durban Poison by Choice Organics 3 - Stardawh Guavg by The Clinic / Colfax
MEDICAL EDIBLES 1 -- Bhang "Ice" Peppermint Chocolate Bar by The Healing Leaf LLC 2 -- Peanut Butter Buddha by Incredibles 3 -- Walnut Joy by Good Chemistry
CBD AWARDS FOR CONCENTRATES: R4 Stable CBD Oil by Greenwerkz / Denver FOR FLOWERS: R4 (sativa strain) by Greenwerkz / Denver FOR EDIBLES: Active CBD Oil by Natural Mystic Cannabis Caregiver, LLC
Continue for more photos from our High Times Cannabis Cup 2013 slide show. Continue for more photos from our High Times Cannabis Cup 2013 slide show. More from our Mile Highs and Lows archive: "Marijuana intern wanted, apply within."