Jerome Baker does a live demonstration of glass pipe blowing during the High Times Cannabis Cup at Denver Mart on April 20, 2014. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)

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

4:20 on 4/20 puts smoke in the air, while everyone may have been too high to know who Matisyahu is.

Yes, I went back, something that surprised a few of you who took my Day One recap as a rebuke of the entire event. Sure, I spent most of my time vacillating between excited puppy and curmudgeon, but that’s my general disposition at events. It’s also given birth to something my girlfriend calls “fair face” — a unique look of displeasure I get after seeing too many booths of turquoise jewelry. But this is a Cannabis Cup — where there was literally too much weed for tens of thousands of people to smoke. It’s hard to have a bad time. Here’s what you missed on Sunday:

The live glass. I kept thinking some kind of beer garden had been shut down outside of the smoking area, as a brief glance that way was just tubes and metal. Turns out that was the live glassblowing station for Sunday. Sandwiched between the food trucks and consumption area, demos were running as we arrived and a decent crowd had amassed. My knowledge of blown glass is limited to an episode of “David the Gnome” I saw when I was 6, but it was nice to see people taking concentrated blasts of fire to something other than concentrates.

High Times Cannabis Cup in Denver April 20
Craig Mann, 25, of Denver samples the goods at The Green Solution booth during the High Times Cannabis Cup at Denver Mart on April 20, 2014. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)

The crowds. Several people told me they thought it was less packed than Saturday, something I could not get on board with. Sunday is always the draw, and even before the rain broke out on Day One, Day Two was moving better than the standstills I regularly found myself muttering about.

The great indoors? I promised to check out more of the Denver Mart, only there wasn’t much for me when I had returned. By 3 p.m., several booths had simply been abandoned — possibly selling out everything they had to offer and sick of holding down the raided fort. Most were aimed at the home or commercial grower — neither of which I plan on taking on anytime soon — with many focused on nutrients, trim machines, or soil. The professional booths were some of my favorites, selling water on the side when they realized they could still make a buck or two off of people with no interest in talking to them.


Day One at the Cup: Long lines. Confusion. A guy riding a Segway with a literal monkey on his back. All that, and much more.


The schwag. Covering events, my girlfriend has one requirement: bring her stuff. Preferably drink coozies, of which her collection has outgrown several containers. Her fellow fans of freebies were in full force, as the Dab Stars crew held the crowd spellbound with complimentary T-shirts and other gear. It looked like a minor-league baseball game, only with more stoners and fewer hot dogs. Seriously, I can’t understate how easy it was to get the largest crowd at the Cup by occasionally tossing them merchandise that likely did not fit them.

The 4:20 on 4/20 smokeout. Way to nail it, everybody. There was an official countdown sans Dick Clark, tons of ganja in the air, and zero fights. Save for the entirely bizarre techno music they started blaring five seconds in (really, guys?), it was pretty impressive and rivaled Civic Center Park’s 4/20 Rally as one of the largest smokeouts I’ve ever taken part in. Figuring that 4:21 would be a perfect time to check out more of the indoor booths, we passed the best marketing we’d seen all day: Sexy Pizza rolling into the crowd with box after box of fresh slices. I’m not sure where they were headed, but everyone wanted to know.


Cannabist product reviews: What’s on the vaporizer market? Learn more about O.penVape, VapirRise, Firefly, Pax Ploom, VapeXhale and others. The Cannabist is currently accepting marijuana gear for review purposes. Submit your glass, vaporizers, pens and more: cannabistcritics@gmail.com.


The dabs (again). As the exodus began around 5 p.m., some booths began packing it in while others tried to pack bowls to catch the last of the attendees. Only the dab stations were drawing, as straight up flower wasn’t going to get it done for those who had been smoking since the morning. One tent towards the back offered up a gram of wax – one of the only giveaways I’d seen that weekend – to people who grabbed raffle tickets and quickly formed a vortex that sucked in most of the remaining stoners.

The awards. From the crowd genuinely not recognizing Matisyahu to the almost incomprehensible Bizzy B, I’m glad I stayed for the awards (check out all of the videos below). Growers are chronically underappreciated in this industry, working long hours in gardens that takes a serious toll on the body. This is their moment. There’s also a weird delay as people recognize they win, then they freak the eff out. Seeing some of my favorite people in the industry, like the Denver Relief and Green Man teams, take home some hardware was worth the wait. And now I’m glad there’s 364 more days left to wait.



The awards

(Here’s a list of the winners from High Times)