Photos, video: High Times Denver Medical Cannabis Cup recap

Within a half hour of the 2012 High Times Denver Medical Cannabis Cup opening on Saturday, the line was already snaking down Walnut Street, around the corner, then halfway up 36th. Not surprisingly, the smell of ganja had wafted even further.

This is the second time in as many years that the venerable counterculture magazine has held its part-party, part-contest in Denver -- and once again, the venue was the Exdo Event Center.

As in 2011, vendors set up shop inside the convention hall, while speakers and demonstrations took place in what I guess is normally a dance hall complete with mirrored ceilings and numerous disco balls. It was the place to learn about politics or get yourself a new pipe, a weed-themed T-shirt and any number of discount coupons from the dispensaries representing themselves.

But the real convention was going on down the alley.

Walking out the back door of Exdo and down the alley, past the outdoor food court where at any moment there were lines for munchies, waves of marijuana smoke and booming bass poured from the open garage bay labeled the "Amendment 20 Compliant" area.

From the street outside, the building looked like a typical yellow-and-black warehouse. Inside, thousands of medical marijuana patients were lighting up, vaping and torching pounds of cannabis and concentrates.

Like last year, dispensaries had set up booths in the medicating area as well as in the non-medicating area. Gone, however, were the over-the-top booth displays. Instead, shops went for a more low key approach and simply set up tables with fliers and merch, as well as a few glass jars containing cup entries and other choice samples. While some shops kept their meds on display only and didn't offer up any sampling, others were handing out dabs of hash oil like candy to Halloween trick-or-treaters.

Oil actually turned out to be the big buzz (pardon the pun) at this year of the Cannabis Cup. Everywhere you turned in the patient lounge, there were blowtorches firing up oil rigs of every shape and size, not to mention every imaginable type of concentrate attachment, from quartz nails to elaborate noodle contraptions that I'm still trying to figure out even after using one.

Yeah, there wasn't really that much medical going on in the patient tent. It was more of a party celebrating all things cannabis. But, then again nobody was pretending this medicine wasn't enjoyable or something that we shouldn't share with one another. Smiling is good for you, after all.

And there were a lot of smiles. And a lot of red eyes.

Page down to continue reading William Breathes's Cannabis Cup recap, as well as to see a video and a list of winners.

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William Breathes
Contact: William Breathes

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