High Times’ Cannabis Cup is here in San Francisco. After decades of holding the smoke-a-thon in Amsterdam, Frissy has been tag as the first official sanctioned Cannabis Cup in America. As it would happen, it’s like the second or third Cup that we’ve hosted here in the Bay Area in the last year, but it is High Times first. Last November there was a locally produced Cannabis Cup, and in April of this year, the incredibly Cannabis and Hemp Expo, also had a tasting event, plus a few others that light up the Bay.
What I thought would be just a weekend of Peace and Love with incredibly smoke and wares to be displayed, actually had some grumblings going on in the shadows. In the last couple of weeks, the WEED wire has been cackling with gossip and opinions and feelings concerning High Times foray into the Bay Area.
And you thought that the Platters had problems with other groups claiming their name. Or how about all those wrestling associations and boxing federations claiming their titles are the real deal and only their sanctioned championship fights should count in the record books.
Why do different entities fight for sponsorship and the all-important branding name above the title?
Because the pie is that big and filling.
I like the guys at High Times. I met some of these cats once while securing rooms for a party they had in Vegas some years back. During that experience I met a couple of the Big Shots of H.T’s. They all seemed very dedicated to the cause. High Time’s was almost like Mad Magazine for a lot of us growing up. It was literally the first connection I had to POT and I would never disparage these guys. To me, that would be almost sacrilegious. But the whispers and scuttleBud following the Cup is interesting to note, at least for me. I think it is indicative of what is happening here in the Bay Area.
As I’ve said many times, in terms of Legalization and commercialism- as go San Francisco, so goes the nation. Get ready for the same sponsorship battles coming to your town in the near future. It may be a grass roots movement, but this is the greenest industry out there right now in terms of Money. That is where the battlefield lies right now. Wining the hearts and minds of local heads everywhere is what’s at stake.
What we are seeing in the infancy of the WEED industry is probably what Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey went through until they realized they were stronger together than trying to outdo each other.
But this is what I find amusing about the whole deal. Here in San Francisco, we take everything and twist it until we’ve wrung all the good intentions out of any idea that floats our way. Point in fact, we bay citizens are allowed to get MM cards and buy POT legally. Then we have trade shows and Cannabis Cups every couple months or so now, where the best of the best is displayed and ingested. Life couldn’t be any better? Not here. Not when every aspect of Life can be distilled politically, by our own people, ironically.
This is what I mean…
I am going to give you the issues and why some people are calling for a boycott.
Btw, this would really crack me up if it wasn’t so real…
For the weekend of June 19-20th, High Times is holding a Cannabis Cup in San Francisco. Attendees will pay roughly $50-100 depending on how many days attending. There will be booths and information relating to the Industry. There will be speakers holding symposiums throughout the weekend discussing everything from cultivation to legalization. Along with usual Marijuana get together there is a smoke-down Saturday night-contest when the best Indicas, Sativas, and edibles are decided from a massive selection.
Seems fun enough, you’d think so…
But the word has gone out through different channels to boycott the event. There are three mains reasons I am hearing. Talking to members of each group asking for the boycott, I could hear the seriousness and even, fear in their tone when discussing the Cup. You can’t please everyone, but I felt each group had a point. I think…
#1 Reason for a boycott:
Okay, this I think I understand...
Some local activist are asking us to boycott the High Time’s Cannabis Cup because insults the Medical Marijuana industry. They are saying that H.T. is treating Marijuana like it was wine with the tastings and pitting vintages and strains against each other vying for the Blue Ribbon of WEED. As we try for Legalization here in Cali, some smokin’ politicos feel this feeds into the other side’s theory that the kids are usually Medical Marijuana as a front for just wanting to get high.
The purists feel that it mocks the very idea of compassion and the need for Marijuana for medicinal use is under enough scrutiny.
As a card-carry Medical Marijuana patient and a person who likes to get high, I’m stuck somewhere in the middle.
#2 Reason for boycott:
This is huge from some of the people I spoke to…
Because of the time of year this event is being held, it caters to the indoor grower. If it was a true Vintner’s Cup, it would be held in October or November, after the OUTDOOR harvest came in.
See, in the Bay Area, because of the HIGH demand for WEED, the traditional growers from up Nort’ the Emerald Triangle Way, are being usurped by the indoor growers who can control…well…most of everything, unlike your Mr. or Ms. Natural grower. And in turn, have many more growing seasons a year. This drives outdoor grower’s nuts.
The indoor grower can manipulate the weather, the growing time and all external events unlike the outdoor grower who can lose everything to an early frost or too much rain. But most importantly, and I cannot stress this enough, many of the indoor growers are NOT organic. They are able to control their environment as closely and with such delicate manageability, dare I say, with better living through chemistry. When it comes to indoor growing, very little is left to chance.
There is a huge confrontations waiting to happen between the two different visions on how Dope should be grown.
#3 Reason to boycott:
Okay, this one is personal, for some…
I talked to one of my buddies in the industry concerning how the dispensaries feel about the H.T’s Cannabis Cup and all the politics surrounding it. This person said, “My dispensary will have a presence at the Cup, we’ll be there. We’ve been at all major Cannabis and Hemp related events in the Bay Area since we opened four years ago. I tell you this though, what we won’t be doing…is the Cannabis Cup that they had here last year. The sponsors wanted us to donate…Donate (the person actually did the fingers quotes thing)…a pound of WEED to attend, plus the fee for the booth, get our name and logo out there. The money part sure, but a pound of WEED. That’s kinda weird.”
When I asked this person if they really wanted you guys to pony up a LB of WEED to get in, he said he was “pretty sure.” I didn’t go to the source and asked them to comment so I am not saying that all dispensaries had to give some to get in but that is what my friend told me, and he’s been pretty right on up to this point.
At the right moment, I will pursue that angle…
But what does it all mean?
I don’t know. I could speculate that this is the future of the Industry, factions within not being able to agree on an Industry standard. I could say that because there is so much money involved, it doesn’t matter what a lot of people are thinking or bitching about, the money is going to supersede politics like a tidal wave carrying the passive ones out to sea, leaving the ones who put their stakes down hard still standing. The smart ones who got into the circus early enough to be known as the going concern, the Establishment. Some will believe that they, their company and logo are the rightful heirs to the throne, as it were.
I know who is not happy. The growers up north, that’s who. They are being left out of the process. The idea of having this event now, at this time of year, simply precludes the Emerald Triangle Growers from being there.
BP is putting up 20 billion to the small people to help cover the expenses lost due to the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t think that even comes close to what is at stake up north in terms of being cutting out of the pie for the high people.
We are at a point where commerce will dictate. The days that the business of POT only employed cool people are over. Get use to the Greenhouse Keeping Seal of Approval. Get use to money being the only language spoken and heard when it comes to WEED.
There is time though. The High Times Cannabis Cup isn’t the enemy, nor is competition. It is us, as usual. As we move forward, how we get along with each is going to be paramount. I understand that the demand for product is…high out there. We live in glorious times where some of us can partake in legal Cannabis Bacchanals, and get away with it.
Just like when Obama was elected, I get a little misty-eyed thinking about how this country can change. We can do this. We can get Marijuana legalized and stop with all the shakedowns and possibility of jail.
The way I see it, Medical Marijuana has given a business plan and a face to the Marijuana Industry. As dispensaries open in a town near you and crime DOESN’T take over the neighborhood and taxes can be glean, the idea of Legalization becomes easier and easier to accept, for the uninitiated.
We will have to come to terms with the desire to see all those in pain, for whom Marijuana is a welcome relief, get it. But at the same time, as an adult, I would like to say someday, “I would just like to get high and not be busted for it.”
Is that too much to ask? Do I need to dress it up some for public viewing? Or can I just be myself?
But in the mean time, I know me where some good bud is being smoked.