In the first of our new series of articles previewing various Cannabis Cups around the world, we start with the logical choice – the mother of all events – The High Times Cannabis Cup Amsterdam. There’s some speculation about this year’s Cup – we are working round the clock to make something happen – stay tuned to our blog for some exciting news soon!
High Times was founded in 1974 by Tom Forçade. The magazine was actually meant as a one-time spoof of Playboy, but proved so successful that it instantly became the stoners guide to the galaxy and has gone from strength to strength for over forty years! The magazine has given voice to the cannabis culture that came out of the sixties, and has educated people around the world about the wonderful traits of the amazing plant we all love so much. By providing hands on information about the different strains, lamps, filters, fertilizers and growing media; it showed many first time growers the way to a better crop. In a 2013 issue The New Republic called High Times Magazine “possibly the most influential publication of our era.” It acknowledges the tremendous influence the magazine has had in the last four decades when it comes to the public opinion on cannabis and acknowledged its evolution into a well-informed advocate of the holy weed. Without High Times, many of the beautiful buds we can enjoy today would have never found their way to our bong. When (not if) prohibition ends we will all owe a debt of gratitude to the good people of High Times Magazine.
High Times Cannabis Cup Amsterdam – The Birth
In 1988, Steven Hager had the luminous idea to organize a competition where aficionados from around the world would come to taste and judge their favourite cannabis strains. As the newly-appointed editor of High Times Magazine, Hager realized that there was only one place on earth that such an event could take place – why Amsterdam of course! Together with a group of Amsterdam’s cannabis entrepreneurs he set up what would become the annual High Times Cannabis Cup. Since de facto legalization of pot in The Netherlands during the 70’s, Amsterdam has grown into a global meeting place for cannabis lovers. When Hager dreamed up his brilliant plan he was probably smoking a big fat joint in one of our many Coffeeshops. At the time, no other country in the world was taking such a liberal approach to cannabis – it seemed the natural choice for such an event! The other option at the time was the hermit state of North Korea where no laws seemed to exist against the sale or consumption of marijuana (and still don’t to this day).
The Devil & The Cannabis Cup
Since 2010, the Devil has joined in with these festivities. For the last three years different Coffeeshops around Amsterdam have scooped most of the major prizes available by entering our genetics. In 2012 The Green Place (a Coffeeshop smack in the middle of the infamous red light district) entered our Shoreline and was voted runner up in the overall Cup. The great taste of The Devil’s Harvest Shoreline was again rewarded with a silver medal the following year; this time in the Nederhash category with an entry from The Grey Area.
But there is one strain cooked up by the Devil which is worshiped by smokers around the world above all others. In 2013, The Devil’s Harvest Seeds’ Rollex OG Kush took home 1st prize at The High Times Cannabis Cup Amsterdam – this was again a submission from our friends at The Green Place. The following year (2014) this same killer Kush was used as a stud and crossed with Girl Scout Cookies to create the 1st place-winning Cookies Kush. Our friends at The Green Place took home the silver cup with the newest member of the Devil’s family: OG Reek’n. With the current uncertainty surrounding the future of the event, for now it looks like we may remain holders of the Cup for longer than anticipated.
Present State of The High Times Cannabis Cup Amsterdam
The High Times Cannabis Cup Amsterdam has been a huge success, attracting millions of visitors to Holland. For twenty-seven years weed enthusiasts have been coming to the city around Thanksgiving to show their gratitude for the fact that this little green plant is in their lives. The Cup has known better days however. As a result of bad decisions and stricter regulations, the 2014-cup was nearly closed down before it had even started. On the first day of the Cup, the Amsterdam Melkweg had to turn away hordes of anxious smokers, waiting to get in. Good thing they hadn’t come there for a beer festival or a sporting event as they would have certainly burned the place down.
Peaceful as we smokers are the crowd dispersed and found its way to Coffeeshops around the city. However, the incident shows Amsterdam is no longer the one-and-only logical choice for a weed-fest. High Times has not announced any plans for 2015 in The Netherlands, while simultaneously setting up a new Jamaican Cup in Negril around the same time. It looks like it might be up to us to continue this beautiful tradition….
Maybe next year we could move the Amsterdam Cup to Pyongyang!