Attendees wait at the front of the VIP line to get in before doors open during the High Times Cannabis Cup at Denver Mart in Denver, Colorado on April 19, 2014. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)

Day One: U.S. Cannabis Cup in Denver (recap)

Titanium nails ruled the day, and oddly quiet moment as 4:20 p.m. passes

It was everything you expect from the Cannabis Cup on Day One. Long lines. Confusion. A guy riding a Segway with a literal monkey on his back. Yes, the Cup runneth over with the kind of weirdness you can only imagine when tens of thousands of stoners get together to celebrate legal marijuana. Here’s what you missed:

Traffic. I thought arriving 30 minutes before doors would be ample time to secure my credentials and get set up for the onslaught. Because apparently I’m still a rookie. We would have been stuck on I-25 for at least an hour, with everyone dutifully high and packed into the right lane, if we hadn’t just been jerks and merged at the last second. Even then, I jumped out of shotgun, thanked my ride, and hoofed it from the on-ramp. People would have been better off hitch-hiking a piggyback ride from me.

The lines. Again, to be expected. VIP didn’t mean bottle service or a cool personal body guard, but standing in a line with at least 500 other very important potheads. Also, media. Then there was everyone else, wrapping around the parking lot, down the sidewalk, and then doubling back that would put to shame the most impressive game of Snake you ever played. Eventually, I did what I always do: flatter a security guard. “You’re the only person I’ve heard who sounds like what they know what they’re doing,” I told a lady who had barked away most of those milling around the front entrance. “I do?” she exclaimed, half flattered but half baffled. “No one has a $#&%ing clue what’s happening. What do you need, honey?” And like that, I was in.

The great outdoors. Listen, there were some great booths inside. I chatted with exactly one: Bhang chocolate, whose cayenne-infused samples had no pot. Was I at THE Cannabis Cup? Or was this all a clever ruse by CDOT to get all of us in one place and show us edutainment videos on the dangers of pot? “The ‘medicating’ tents are outside,” the booth attendant instructed me. Oh. The outside right behind me. With it being a rare overcast afternoon for a Denver spring day, I figured Saturday was the perfect time to check out the “medicating” or “getting high” booths. More on this later.


20 videos: The scene at the 2014 Cannabis Cup’s first day


The food? It may be a stereotype, but it’s an accurate one — getting high means getting hungry. I was borderline hangry with a serious lack of outlets to exorcise my food demons. With a handful of food trucks outside and, as far as I could tell only two food vendors inside, there just wasn’t enough grub with lines taking over an hour by early afternoon. Instead of focusing on the task at hand — walking one of the largest cannabis events I’ve ever seen — I was daydreaming about how I could have turned $20 worth of burrito ingredients into a small fortune. Thankfully, Green Man Cannabis had non-medicated popcorn to munch on. I had at least five cups.

The entertainment. Booths used to be a draw if you just had more than a folding table and a decent amount of herb. Now, there’s entire casino setups (The Clinic), a Volkswagen Bus photobooth (O.penVape), or just a good old-fashioned magician (too mesmerized to remember the whatever-it-was). MMJ America had the P.A., encouraging girls to ascend their multi-level tent for prizes or catcalls, not sure which. Their main obligation seemed to be smoking some unwitting attendee in the head with a T-shirt and playing your favorite remixes.

Read the rest of the Cannabis Cup recap of Day One