A sign listing new restrictions on cannabis is posted at the door to the Melkweg in Amsterdam on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. (Jake Browne, The Cannabist)

Amsterdam Cannabis Cup stays open, but crowd frustrated

AMSTERDAM — Don’t tell High Times the Amsterdam Cannabis Cup is canceled, shut down or in any way shuttered. Determined to proceed with the 27th annual event, organizers opened the Melkweg on Monday morning as if it were business as usual at the venue. Passes, tote bags and T-shirts were doled out to the approximate 100 attendees of the opening seminar on curing and storage.

Still, it’s hard for many to recognize what’s occurring as a Cannabis Cup in the traditional sense of the event after organizers turned away attendees on Sunday’s first day of the Cup and issued strict new rules on cannabis use and possession because the Mayor’s office had issues with the legality of the proceedings. This was perhaps most pronounced as James Loud of Loud Seeds was interrupted Monday by a staff member, who reminded the crowd that all smoking needed to take place in a designated lounge.

“Yeah, go smoke!” laughed Loud as he returned to the microphone.

Trouble in Amsterdam:
A special report from The Cannabist

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High Times’ cultivation editor speaks from Amsterdam: “It’s unfortunate that the land that once liberated cannabis has now taken a conservative approach to its use”

But are people still getting high in the ‘Dam? Oh yeah they are. Here are 11 Instagrams proving how high people are getting at the Cannabis Cup

Top 25 tweets: Amsterdam Cannabis Cup hits a snag. Now what do we do? Check out these 25 tweets for the global perspective

Live from Amsterdam: Our pot critic’s view of “scattered” Cannabis Cup scene

Absent the lavish exhibition booths, eager competitors — and of course, the free-flowing cannabis — High Times is banking on a lineup of cannabis cult figures like Canadian “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery, NORML founder Keith Stroup and a birthday party for hash legend Mila Jansen to keep the modest crowd entertained. Not everyone is sticking around, however.

“We came to see about opening a store here,” said Paul Krasnowski of lighting business Budmaster, who made the trip from the U.K. “To see it’s canceled when we get here and no one’s given any notice, it’s not right.

“We’re going to tour some coffee shops and head home tomorrow.”

This seemed to be a common sentiment, as judges continued to leave the event to visit local coffee shops, where consumption is more freely allowed.

“I’m surprised the city of Amsterdam would do this to people who want to come and spend money,” said Cindy Henderson, who traveled from Utah with her husband and son to attend the event for the second year in a row. “It’s bad business. We’ll probably check out an American Cup next time.”

With word of rapper Action Bronson canceling his scheduled performance Monday evening, the overwhelming feeling is that High Times simply can’t catch a break.