Redemption at the historic U.S. Cannabis Cup
By: Paul Josephs
Despite Cannabis legalization for adults being voted into the Colorado State Constitution last November, it took attending the first ever legal High Times Cannabis Cup in Denver on April 20th for the reality of legal Cannabis to really hit home for many attendees. To paraphrase Rob Corry, prominent Colorado attorney and Cannabis supporter, it certainly looked and felt very legal.
This writer certainly shared that sentiment. Anyone in attendance who grew up consuming Cannabis for decades under the dark cloud of legal repercussions and ill-informed, stereotypical attitudes towards Cannabis and its users could not have been anything but deeply moved by the vibe at the historic, first-ever legal U.S. Cannabis Cup. Ostensibly the purpose for the Cup is to celebrate the finest Cannabis in the world and award the growers and breeders who produce the best of the best. But this year it was different, and amazingly so, because for the very first time anyone over the age of 21 could legally and openly consume Cannabis. No one needed a documented medical condition in order to justify their Cannabis consumption — they all could partake if they so chose because they now have the liberty to do so. The Cup event was as much a celebration of that as it was of appreciating world-class Cannabis.That one word, liberty, is held closely and dearly by Americans for good reason. This great nation was formed to give protected liberty to its populace. Many citizens have paid the ultimate price to fiercely defend and ensure our right to liberty and continue to do so without reservation today. Last November, citizens in two states voted loudly to regain a liberty taken away in 1937. More Colorado citizens voted for Cannabis legalization than for the President of the United States. That is a very strong bipartisan statement about the issue of Cannabis prohibition at the state and federal level. The Cannabis legalization movement is gaining momentum at a rapid pace, due in large part to the voters in Colorado and Washington.The demand — in a loud, unified voice — for reinstating personal liberty has been heard in Washington D.C. if the introduction into the United States Congress of, count them, nine different bills which would each change federal prohibition on some level is any indication.
The Cup was thrilling on many other levels for the attendants. The vendors and participating organizations were all very excited and eager to share their products and visions. There were many newly developing technologies on display — innovative and revolutionary products that encompass all aspects of this explosively growing industry. Look to future issues of Sativa Magazine to learn more about them, and others as they develop.
High Times is planning on holding two events a year in Colorado after the incredible success of this April event. The number of attendees was around the 10,000 mark, and there were no noteworthy problems to mar the success. Both Colorado and Washington are now well-positioned as epicenters of a bold, new, and rapidly expanding economy. But with the most liberal Cannabis laws in the world, Colorado is in a unique position geographically, legally, and recreationally as a destination for Cannabis businesses and aficionados.
The event was very significant for many participants. At the Cup awards ceremony Sunday night High Times associate editor Rick Cusick exclaimed to the huge crowd, “I’m 59 years old and I’ve been waiting 40 years for this!” in reference to the legal nature of the first US Cannabis Cup in Denver. It may not have seemed as dramatic for the younger attendees who grew up with lots of exposure to medical Cannabis ads in Colorado newspapers and magazines, but for many older people in attendance this event would have been completely or nearly unimaginable 20, 30, or 40 years ago. In a time when many personal liberties are eroding or vanishing, it is a very bright ray of hope to see one resurrected in the form of legal Cannabis.