The Complete 411 on Denver's HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup

by Mary Jane Gibson Tue April 14, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup is the world’s foremost (and biggest) marijuana expo and cannabis competition. It all started in Amsterdam, way back in 1988. Today, Cannabis Cups celebrate all things ganja in multiple cities across the U.S., and the biggest one of all is in Denver, Colorado, this weekend. The Denver Cup is a 3-day extravaganza: Saturday, Sunday and Monday— ending on 4/20, every stoner’s favorite holiday.

Hundreds of vendors will showcase their wares at the giant trade show, masters of the marijuana industry will offer their expertise in all kinds of seminars, and Cup concerts will bring cannasseurs together at the legendary Red Rocks on Saturday night, and Fiddlers’ Green on Monday. So what do you need to know before you go? Here’s some info to ensure that your Cup experience is safe and rewarding.

Who Can Smoke at the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup?

You can smoke marijuana if you’re 21 years of age or older, in designated recreational smoking areas. You don't need to be a Colorado resident. You just need a government-issued ID to prove you’re 21+. If you’re a Colorado medical marijuana patient 18 years of age or older with a medical recommendation, you can also enter the designated smoking areas.

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Photo by Mary Jane Gibson

Who Gets to Judge the Cannabis Cup?

Cannabis Cup competition judges are chosen from a pool of industry experts to vote for best indica, best sativa, best hybrid, best concentrates, best edibles and best high-CBD cannabis products. Cup winners will be revealed at the awards show on Sunday evening. You can vote for your favorite participating pot shop for the People’s Choice Award by following the Freedom Trail. Check out participating pot shops, sample their featured strains and enter your pick for best weed at the HIGH TIMES voting booth.

What Will I See at The Cup?

Oodles and oodles of beautiful buds, concentrates, edibles, glass, smokeware, grow technology, growroom security, informational booths, weed-tastic clothing, and more will be on display at the Denver Mart. BYOC (bring your own cannabis) to enjoy in designated smoking areas. You can learn all about dabbing, growing, cooking, marijuana activism, cannabusiness, pot jobs and more at the Cup seminars.

Featured Cannabis Cup guests include:

  • Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead, to be inducted into the HIGH TIMES Counterculture Hall of Fame on behalf of the entire band at Sunday’s awards ceremony
  • Weed superstar Jorge Cervantes, unveiling his new Cannabis Encyclopedia
  • HIGH TIMES senior cultivation editor Danny Danko with his popular pot-cast, Free Weed from Danny Danko
  • Alaska cannabis activist Charlo “F*ck it, I quit” Greene discussing marijuana legalization
  • Comedy superstars Broken Lizard hosting the awards show and presenting a special 4/20 showing of Super Troopers
  • The country’s foremost growers, extract artists, activists and weed experts sharing tips and tricks for success
  • And, to top it all off: SOJA, J Boog and Nas perform at Red Rocks on Saturday, and Snoop Dogg, A$AP Rocky and 2 Chainz take the stage at Fiddler’s Green on 4/20!

You’ll definitely see plenty of folks loving the herb, living the leaf and flaunting a whole lot of pot pride. It's true: Many of them will be wearing tie-dye, though not all of them!

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Photo by Mary Jane Gibson

What Do I Need to Know Before I Go?

Don’t bring any alcohol, bottled drinks, food, weapons, skateboards, selfie sticks, illegal drugs or pets. Do bring lip balm, wear comfortable shoes, make sure to drink plenty of water — and if you’re offered a dab, make sure you’re sitting down. Dabs are super strong! If you’re tasting edibles, start with a 10mg dose, wait an hour, and see how you feel. Do like the pros do. Don’t “do a Dowd” (see: Maureen Dowd of the New York Times ).

Be sure to check out the designated smoking areas. Make some friends, and share some smoke. Hundreds of the cannabis industry’s top growers and dispensary owners have entered their very best weed in the Cup competition — if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll meet some of them! Marijuana aficionados will rub shoulders with weed impresarios, celeb guests will pow wow with activists. It’s high time for you to light up and get in on the action.

Visit for tickets and more information. UBER is offering $20 off a ride for new UBER users riding responsibly in Denver. Use the code CUP2015 when you sign up.

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