The Cannabis Cup Grows Up Alongside the Festival Industry

Photo by: Harrison Weinberg
by Mary Jane Gibson | @HIGH_TIMES_Mag Wed May 24, 2017 | 12:15 PM

Along with spreading cannabis legalization, the festival industry is growing every year. Perhaps there’s a connection. A love of cannabis definitely goes hand-in-hand with a love of the live music experience — especially when it’s performed outdoors in a beautiful setting for a crowd of like-minded folks grooving along.

Now more than ever, festivals are curating activations and experiences alongside the musical lineup — there are festivals that offer yoga, surf lessons, water parks, hula-hooping lessons, spa treatments — truly, there’s never been a better time to enjoy being grown-up. For adult marijuana enthusiasts, the ultimate festival experience is the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup.

High Times Cannabis Cup Sniffing Buds

Photo by: Cannabis Cup

Nearly 30 years ago, the first-ever Cannabis Cup was held in Amsterdam. In 2010, HIGH TIMES hosted the first-ever U.S. Medical Cannabis Cup in California. And when Colorado voted to legalize recreational cannabis for responsible adult use, HIGH TIMES was there to throw the biggest marijuana celebration the world had ever seen, with over 50,000 attendees freely sharing and enjoying marijuana in all its forms at the 2015 Denver Cannabis Cup.

Going strong for nearly three decades, HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cups are continually fighting for the political legitimacy of the plant. The Cup is now hosted in states that have legalized medical and recreational marijuana—and as marijuana moves mainstream and legalization becomes a real possibility nationwide, the Cup stands as the foremost gathering place for the cannabis community to network and celebrate.

High Times Cannabis Cup Main Stage

Photo by: Cannabis Cup

HIGH TIMES events are expanding in scope as more and more brands join in creating the biggest celebration of cannabis anywhere. If you’ve never been to a Cannabis Cup, picture this: hundreds of booths with every kind of cannabis product you can imagine on display. An edibles village with a huge kitchen where top pot chefs go head-to-head in the Cannabis Chef Cook-Off. There’s a cannabis topicals massage spa, a career fair for those looking for pot jobs, and seminars from leading industry experts in cannabis cultivation, extraction, marketing, media and more. Patients seeking medical marijuana products to treat chronic pain, anxiety, PTSD, lack of appetite and a host of other conditions often discover groundbreaking developments in the industry at the Cup. There’s something for everyone, from the seasoned smoker to the “canna-curious.”

High Times Cannabis Cup Redman

Redman performing at Cannabis Cup. Photo by: Cannabis Cup

Attendees can expect big-name headliners to hit the main stage—Nas, 50 Cent and Wu-Tang Clan performed at the recent SoCal Cup in San Bernardino, and headliners for the upcoming NorCal Cup (Sonoma, June 3-4) include 311, The Wailers and Fortunate Youth. Ludacris wowed the crowd at a recent Cup. Melissa Etheridge and Wyclef Jean lit up the stage in Michigan last year and the year before, respectively. The lineups keep getting bigger and brighter.

High Times Cannabis Cup Array Of Bud

Photo by: Cannabis Cup

At the heart of the entire event is the Cup itself. Cannabis companies enter their very best products into the esteemed competition for best flower (dried cannabis), concentrate (cannabis extract), topical, edible and other categories. Winning a Cannabis Cup catapults a brand into the spotlight, and is the ultimate mark of quality. Growers and smokers crowd around to hear the winners announced at the hotly anticipated awards show, and the winning entries are sparked up in celebration. It’s a happy, hazy time for weed lovers.

In 2017, HIGH TIMES will host events in SoCal, NorCal, Michigan (MidWest Cannabis Cup) and Rhode Island (Cannabis Cup New England), and the buzz is that there are more to come. Cannabis legalization is spreading across the nation and around the world— Canada is completely legalizing marijuana for responsible adult use starting in 2018. As the festival industry expands and cannabis enthusiasts clamor for more marijuana-friendly events, more and more people will discover just how wonderful the Cannabis Cup is.

Cannabis Cup 2015 Jamaica Emily Cegielski   01

Photo by: Emily Cegielski

The celebration of freedom, joy and independence that’s the hallmark of a successful festival is never felt more strongly than at a HIGH TIMES Cup. Bringing cannabis consumption out of the shadows, enjoying it openly with friends and other festival-goers, that happy, heady feeling of watching amazing music after a day of perusing booths and seminars and food trucks and live black-light painting and so much more…there’s nothing like it anywhere else. It’s the biggest weed party in the world!

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Cannabis Cup

Nov 2016 (exact date TBD)
Negril, Jamaica