High Times Cannabis Cup review

Fun and fiasco in Amsterdam.
Approximately 2,500 people took advantage of High Times tour packages and other services that helped them sample and rate some of Holland’s finest cannabis and hemp products.

The High Times crew did a tremendous job of facilitating lodging, transportation, free pot, and entertainment for Cup participants. Regularly scheduled tour buses staffed by sweet girls and guys ensured that THC-immersed stumblers safely visited competing coffeeshops. Heroes of the 1960’s Beat Generation, such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and William Burroughs, were discussed and honored.

Satisfied stoners enjoyed mega-vaporizer hits and hot nurses dispensing oodles of cannabis smoke, along with hemp and cannabis display booths, in Cup headquarters at the Pax Party House. At night, swarms of smokers enjoyed musical and dramatic presentations at the Melkweg. Of particular interest were a self-mutilation expert who tied his penis in knots, and the sizzling performances of the Cannabis Cup Band (anchored by master percussionist Gabe Kirchheimer) and Fishbone.

Karen and Sita, proprietors of the now-closed Amsterdam Cafe in Vancouver, made history by being the first Canadian seed company to officially enter the Cup. Their Amsterdam Seed Company of Vancouver entry (a killer Romulan), was especially potent and tasty.

But all was not fun and games. This year’s Cup was tainted by bad karma for Trans-High Corporation (High Times’ parent company) and by ongoing accusations that the Cup has become overly commercial and that its judging process is rife with corruption.

Former Cup champions De Dampkring and many other Dutch companies and coffeeshops refused to participate in this year’s event, citing concerns about judging irregularities, competitive strains, and the event’s negative effects on Holland’s liberal soft drugs policies.

Problems from America haunted the Cup as well. In judge’s chambers and coffeeshops, people discussed rumors that Trans-High Corporation may have defrauded NORML out of millions of dollars that High Times founder Tom Forcade had wanted given to the legalization organization. Many people felt that High Times attorneys had probably evaded Forcade’s estate instructions regarding NORML by making sure that the magazine’s profits were sheltered or otherwise diverted.

Cup corruption?

And on the last day of the event, another scandal rocked the Cup when sources inside High Times revealed that the accounting firm supervising Cup awards balloting had determined that several coffeeshop judges had apparently participated in a vote-rigging scheme.

High Times and other sources acknowledged that the voting irregularities appeared to be associated with Arjan (founder of the Green House), the Rokerij, and others.

During the Thursday night award ceremonies, the crowd growled its disapproval when Arjan was given the overall Cannabis Cup cup for his “Super Silver Haze” bud. And as the Twelfth Annual Cannabis Cup ended, Amsterdam was buzzing with allegations that Cup organizer and High Times executive editor Steve Hager knew about the voting irregularities on Thursday morning, and awarded Arjan and other tainted shops awards on Thursday night, despite evidence that the balloting process had been compromised in Arjan’s favor.

Cannabis Culture sent investigative photojournalist Pete Brady and ace photographer Barge to this year’s Cup; their sizzling story and photos from the event will appear in our March/April issue. Don’t miss it!