Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Ups and Downs of the Las Vegas Cannabis Cup

ES Editor Kat Thomas (Note the wind...)

 The Las Vegas Cannabis Cup occurred last weekend, and the first recreational marijuana festival thrown in the state of Nevada since cannabis becoming recreationally legal was plagued by both Highs and Lows…

The Cannabis Cup festival, sponsored by marijuana magazine HIGH TIMES, has been held annually since 1988 in Amsterdam.  Smaller versions of the event have made its way to the U.S. this decade in marijuana-friendly states such as Washington, California, Oregon, Colorado and Michigan.  This was the first year the event was held in the state of Nevada.  

Day One of the 2017 HIGH TIMES Las Vegas Cannabis Cup presented with Ultra Health kicked off on Saturday with waves of cannabis industry leaders, and marijuana enthusiasts.  It was estimated nearly 15,000 attendees and 250 vendors from about 15 countries attended the event, 10,000 tickets were sold in the past week alone.

The irony was that this event was a “mostly dry.”  In late February, the Department of Justice sent a letter of warning to the Moapa Paiute Tribe, which was hosting the event on their tribal lands, advising them against going against federal law.  After consulting with local and state authorities, HIGH TIMES warned “vendors, guests, performers, and attendees… to comply with applicable law concerning the distribution of cannabis in any amount at the event.”  

In other words, the event restricted all event goers from using marijuana in any form, at an event which has gained popularity for allowing attendants to sample cannabis provided by exhibitors and vendors.  This lead to some people nicknaming the event the “no-cannabis Cannabis Cup.”  It was rumored that over one third of the vendors dropped out of the event after that ruling.   

Others altered their planned experience to still participate within the restrictions.  For example the Los Angeles-based marijuana edible and topical lotion company Honey Pot Bear, whose free massage area at the Cup went from a THC topical lotion (which helps reduce inflammation and swelling) to non-THC versions of their lotion.  Honey Pot Bear, who has sold the lotions and pot-spiked wildflower honey in previous festivals in California, sold only T-shirts and company merchandise on Day One.  

Regardless of these first day hindrances Edible Skinny still had a blast!  There were cannabis connoisseurs and vendors from all over the country attending this event.  The non-THC massage we partook in was simply fabulous (a shout out to Moses for his mad hand skills!)  And although the event was officially dry, there were many a flower being passed around discretely.

But, to add insult to injury Day Two of the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup was cancelled due to strong winds in the Las Vegas valley.  Steady winds were expected to reach 40 miles per hour, with gusts up to 60 miles per hour.

The Moapa Paiutes’ contract with HIGH TIMES calls for semi-annual versions of the festival to be held through 2019.  This is estimated to bring in a combined $3 million in revenue to the tribe, said William Anderson, former Moapa Paiute chairman and current tribe spokesman.

In an effort to appease anyone let down by the event, organizers are offering passes to the upcoming Southern California Cannabis Cup in April to anyone who bought a ticket for the Las Vegas Cup.
“…attendees are encouraged to exchange tickets for passes to our SoCal Cannabis Cup in April,” the Cannabis Cup website states. “Please email for any help, questions or concerns.”

But thems be the growing pains to be found as we segue into a world of recreational use.   As presenting Duke Rodriguez of Ultra Health noted a month before the festival was held at a luncheon for the Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association, “when I started in cannabis my hair was dark, it’s now gray from the complications we’ve hit along the way.  And I know that there’s more to come to make my hair white.”

Here’s to life being delicious and to future recreational cannabis festivals not being as dry as the Moapa Paiute tribal land desert!

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