“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” – Hunter S. Thompson
Each November, the city of Amsterdam in conjunction with drug magazine High Times, holds its annual Cannabis Cup Convention when 10,000 pot-smoking enthusiasts converge to partake in this serious smoking festival/convention.
A couple of friends and I judged The Cannabis Cup in 2002 and barely made it out of the Netherlands without an iron lung. In the months leading up to The Cup, we swore there was no amount of weed too good or any amount we couldn’t handle. We even spent the weeks before boosting up our tolerances with expensive smoke-outs. We strutted around telling everyone how flippin’ awesome were. The dew was about to be smoked right off of us.
Pass the Cannabis Cup Pass
In order to become an “Official Cannabis Cup Judge,” you actually have to purchase the passes in advance (see below to get one). You then automatically become a hot sh*t judge who in turn can turn up your nose to small children when they call you uncool.
With your laminated pass in hand, or like some dorks, around your neck, you HAVE TO visit 27 different “Coffee Shops” that each sponsors their own entry of Pot and Hash. For those not in the know of this incredible tidbit, a coffee shop in Amsterdam is an establishment that sells pot, pot products and hash to its patrons. Yes, it’s legal there!
You then judge each one by filling in reviews in a little book that is turned in at the end of the week for tallying up for the big awards presentation. As in the OLYMPICS, there are categories such as Best Coffee Shop and the Best in Hash to name just a few.
With this pass you get: a smokin’ hot driver in a mini van that picks up the judges at designated locations around the city and takes them to the next place. Tipping is greatly appreciated in the form of a joint or bit of hash. I was rebuffed on my offer of a lap dance, but then what was I thinking? Stoned men have little motivation. You’re also VIP’ed in a big way, with each of the Coffee Shops handing out all sorts of paraphernalia and shwag.
“… a coffee shop in Amsterdam is an establishment that sells pot, pot products and hash to its patrons. Yes, it’s legal there!…”
Each night The Cup hosts a private party at the Melkweg nightclub and throws the judges one hell of a good time. During the day, entrance to the Expo center features: grow seminars, exclusive judges lounge, cannabis related product vendors, counter culture guest speakers and giveaways. But the biggie is the coveted Cannabis Cup T- Shirt. (Yeah that’s right, the Cannabis Cup T-shirt).
Typical Day of Judging at Amsterdam’s Cannabis Cup
6:00am: I would wake up at 6am and test the weed I couldn’t smoke from the last Coffee Shop the night before. Then fall back asleep.
9:00am: Wake up, eat breakfast and try very hard to shake my friends awake.
10:00am: Head out to my first place of the day. Order a cup of coffee, $5.00 worth of weed had been entered in the Cup, bust out my Judge’s Book and critique it. Such as: taste, smell, look, is it being high or is it like being stoned. Somewhere along this time a friend would show up and tag along to the next place. Not one of them knew how to roll a joint by the way! I rolled all the goddamn joints. Stupid stoners.
10:30am 11:00am: At this point I am high. I am the map person. My friends have now all shown up, and are too stoned to be map person. Get lost.
12:00pm 5:00pm: Judge 3 more cafes. Think highly about switching to hash as the coughing starts around 2:00pm. Make way for the munchies, as I eat my way from one place to the next.
5:00pm 7:00pm: Nap. Praise the lord. Ask your friends to nap too, just to shut them up from talking about: talking about talking about. Stoners.
8:00pm 12:00am: Go to one more cafe and have a beer before showing up at the Cup for some late night scheduled party. The conversation is always about how I cannot believe I have smoked this much weed. Reply: smoke hash.
Sometime in the wee hours of the morning I just know I’m in my hotel bed, how I got there is not a concern of mine.
Cannabis Cup Conclusion
I was the only one who finished all 27 cafes, voted, and finished the whole event. By the 2nd day my pals had quit. I was map person, rolled every single joint and planned out the course of action. Stoners.