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What is the Cannabis Cup?

July 5, 2013

The Cannabis Cup is an annual event and competition held in Amsterdam Holland that celebrates all things marijuana.

The event began in 1988 by the American magazine High Times and presents awards in several cannabis related categories, for example best weeds, best hashes, best cannabis coffeeshop, several best product categories, etc. There are also numerous educational presentations and seminars held during the festival that discuss topics such as medical and legalization issues. An expo which houses numerous vendors of various cannabis related products, including the highest quality pot seeds on earth, is open to paid attendees.

Traditionally, the week long event is held during the week of Thanksgiving - a holiday celebrated in the United States.

Visitors to the event come mainly from the United States and Canada, and they cast their votes in the various categories by purchasing a Judges's Pass. Usually there are well over a thousand Judges at the Cannabis Cup, some years the figure is over two thousand.

In addition to having the right to cast votes in the competitions, individuals who purchase a Judge's Pass receive additional benefits, such as access to the expo, seminars, and daily events, including free admission to the hugely popular nightly music concerts and parties held at the iconic Melkweg (Milky Way) facility, which is located in the most lively nightlife area of the city and ironically adjacent to a police station.

Every year seems to feature well known headliner musical acts that play the nightly shows during the Cup. But it is highly recommended to arrive early every day because the venue for the nightly shows becomes very crowded fairly quickly, with standing room only available if there is any room left at all.

Judges are also entitled to free daily transportation via shuttle bus to the various cannabis coffeeshops that participate in the event.

The busses travel continually throughout the day to the participating coffeeshops so that Judges can hop on and off at any cannabis coffeeshop and visit for as long as they wish.

The cannabis and hashish varieties that are entered into the Cannabis Cup competition must be purchased separately by the Judges at each coffeeshop. However many times the coffeeshops will offer a discount to Judges and sometimes even offer free samples. But freebies are not guaranteed so expect to pay for your weed and hash even if you have a Judges pass in your possession.

For newbie attendees, be aware that the strains of cannabis are typically much more potent than those found in the States. It is recommended therefore that one pace themselves during the week's events. More than one visitor has been known to pass out and experience a "whitey" after indulging in too much too quickly, especially after a long overseas flight with jet lag in tow.

Anytime too many drugs have been ingested in Amsterdam, having something sweet to eat or drink is often a quick remedy to get the individual back on their feet. It is amazing how many times a few sips of a soda pop has cured a so-called cannabis induced heart attack.

It is said that all good things come to an end, and such may be the eventual fate of the Cannabis Cup sooner than later, as the country of Holland has recently been restructuring it's infamous soft drugs laws. Hallucinogenic mushrooms - so-called "magic mushrooms" - were made illegal in December 2008 after many years of being legally sold at the ubiquitous smartshops throughout the country. The Dutch government indicated that new policies towards cannabis would be announced which would essentially eliminate the tourist element by converting the country's 700 or so cannabis coffeeshops into private clubs available only to residents.

A conservative government that was in power up until late 2012 did not totally change cannabis policy, so the Cannabis Cup seems to be safe for now.

But the current Justice Minister of the Netherlands seems intent on continuing the revamping of decades old cannabis policies, so how much longer events like the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam are allowed to take place is up in the air.

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