The 2015 World Cannabis Cup Made Ganja History in Jamaica
The international cannabis community came together last week in honor of peace, love and marijuana at the 2015 HIGH TIMES Jamaican World Cannabis Cup hosted by the Rastafari Rootzfest, and it was a momentous occasion for the Rastafari religion and world ganja culture alike.
The global celebration of ganja was a four-day affair held on Negril’s famous Seven Mile Beach. On one side of the event space, vendor booths spread out across a giant soccer field, which led attendees to the white sand and turquoise ocean.
The other side consisted of a shaded promenade known as the Rasta Village, an area where HIGH TIMES’ Rastafarian partners allowed visitors a glimpse into their world, selling everything from fresh-cut sugar cane and hemp wine to jewelry and other trinkets.
A rousing opening ceremony provided by the Rastafarian community kicked off the historical event, with powerful speeches from Rastafari elders. The Jamaican Minister of Justice, Mark Golding—who was instrumental in the passing of new ganja laws earlier this year and who granted Rootzfest organizers the first-ever permit to legally hold a pot-friendly event in Jamaica—also delivered remarks, recognizing the Rastafarian religious and sacramental rights to use marijuana.
Over the course of four days, attendees experienced a myriad of educational seminars and panels, culture and commerce, art and music, and obviously, ganja—which combined to highlight the deep roots and livity of the Rastafarian faith, as well as the breathtaking developments within the worldwide cannabis industry.
The daytime workshops and seminars were complemented by three nights of incredible reggae concerts, featuring Jamaican artists who promote pot legalization through their songs. The Talking Dreads, Bushman, Luciano, the Mighty Diamonds and Tarrus Riley—just to name a few—all drew massive crowds to the nightly beach concerts.
The event concluded on Sunday with the HIGH TIMES Awards Show, where winners from both the 2015 World Cannabis Cup and the 2015 Jamaican Cannabis Cup competitions were announced.
The Jamaican Cup was only open to Jamaican ganja grown exclusively by Jamaican farmers, with prizes being awarded for Best Indica Flowers, Best Sativa Flowers, Best Hash and Best New-Style (Indoor) Farming. The judging panel was comprised of traditional Rastafarian experts, as well as professional HIGH TIMES cannasseurs.
The second cannabis-related contest of the Rastafari Rootzfest was the 2015 World Cannabis Cup competition, the historic culmination of 26 years of HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cups held in Europe and the U.S. The judging for that competition was conducted in California a month prior to the event, with awards presented in 12 separate categories during the ceremony in Jamaica. Attendees were also encouraged to cast a ballot for Best Product, Best Booth, Best Glass and Best Vaporizer at the event.
The night’s celebrations concluded with HIGH TIMES cultivation editor-at-large Nico Escondido handing out branches of weed to the audience, before Ras Iyah V—chairman of the Rastafari Rootzfest, leader of the Rastafari In Inity organization and head of the Westmoreland Hemp and Ganja Farmers Association—took the stage to make a final speech. He was soon joined by the Nyabinghi House Drummers, who chanted, sang, danced and drummed to the delight of the crowd.
Rastas danced with Americans; Europeans and Jamaicans cheered in unison; well-known industry professionals lit up with occasional tokers. For four days, people from all walks of life came together to promote peace and love and ganja—and honestly, it was just beautiful.
Make sure to check out all of the winners and additional event coverage on HIGHTIMES.com.