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Colorado Cannabis Cup

My heart aches from Foryst still, but on hearing there will be a Colorado Cannabis Cup my ears perk. I head back into the arms of The Plant Whisperer, ever welcoming.

And, I buy a ticket for a tour of World 420 Week that includes tickets to the Colorado Cannabis Cup. The first week in the first place in the world that cannabis has been legalized for recreational use: Colorado. This will be the first US Cannabis Cup. And I will be there.

Colorado is a place I feel I should love, but don’t. It’s too white, it’s too plain. The mountains are not my kind of mountains. The range is not my kind of range. However, I do like that it’s a healthy state, and not an obese state. I do like that there’s diversity to be found, even if I don’t like that you have to go looking for it. I appreciate the purple politics and the comfort level in most places in the state as compared to many places in many other states. And hey, they grow good weed.

The story ends at the Colorado Cannabis Cup.

Colorado Cannabis Cup

The story starts though, as many from this era do, in Los Angeles. His name was T-bone. I met him on OKCupid. He was 15 years my junior, old money, professionally raced motorcycles and broke his own bones on the streets of LA, and claimed to have a cock the size of a baby’s arm. I didn’t want to fuck him, so he said 

“Come over anyway, and I’ll get you higher than you’ve ever been.”

You know that scene in the US version of the movie Traffic, where Erika Christensen’s character tries freebase cocaine for the first time, and her immediate addiction is signified by a single tear sliding down her quiet face?

Dabbing replaced flowers because the high is better. There are many who never go back after their first dab. This isn’t solely because of tolerance and the lightning speed at which dabs cross the blood-brain barrier, it’s the different quality of experience of being under the influence. 

It’s sharper/clearer, more present/conscious, leaves intact more intellect, makes one less sloppy/clumsy, more energetic, more emotionally expressed, and most importantly – is missing a number of negatives both physical and psychological that come along with the whole flower. If we’re going with the alcohol analogy – beer can make you bloated, wine can give a headache – all because of impurities. Liquor is so pure it can often be consumed by people with severe food allergies – and it doesn’t even have any carbs.

And so, knowing that I will be attending World Cannabis Week and the Colorado Cannabis Cup, I buy my first dab rig and work on building my tolerance. 

And then spend a full work week on an official tour of the brand new cannabis industry in Colorado. It is surprisingly uninteresting. It turns out that dabbing isn’t as portable yet, and so I find myself waiting in long lines and smoking more joints than I’d like, many of them behind the wheel of my own car. The tour costs money, the weed is free.

We tour a glassblowing facility, a dispensary, a grow warehouse, which is not the most plants I’ve seen indoors *whistles innocently*. There are evening events with music, and, just a lot of weed. There’s a big 4/20 rally at the Civic Center. I attend for a while, but don’t like the feel of it. Everyone is there to smoke in public. Big fucking deal.

I leave 20 minutes before someone gets shot over some beef. 

It’s much more interesting to wander through the streets of downtown Denver, watching all the aging stoners from the bad places where they will be hurt for weed, who have spent their lives hiding it from their wives, now on their “ski trip” to Colorado, sitting in public, high, smiling with the sunshine on their face for the very first time.

I find my chops. Getting up early every morning for dabs with the tour leaders and the Latino dab providers, who I am glad are getting in on the budding (no pun intended) industry, is enjoyable. I like dabbing with Julio and Da Rok at 7am when everyone else is sleeping off all the beer they added into the mix. I’m a purist. If there are dabs, nothing else. I haven’t drank alcohol since swaying with Foryst in the kitchen, singing to each other, telling secrets while splitting a bottle of spicy tequila. It’ll take a long time for me to drink again.

I enjoy the service experience and the daily ritual of parking, walking into the hotel in my tour lanyard, going to the suite of the day,  and having Julio and Da Rok chime out “ZOE!!!!!! Breakfast dabs!” 

Also amusing, other than the lack of freedom afforded by taking my own vehicle, is to spend time on the party bus that takes us from one site to another. There’s always multiple joints and pipes passing around. There’s pros on this tour. There’s even a team of reporters, complete with full camera gear, from Vice. There is another experience collector like me. But then, there’s also the regular joes. The ones who saw a Facebook ad for a legal 4/20 tour that came with unlimited weed and could not believe their fucking eyes. And these, these are my favorite.

They are woo-hooing in freaking spring break paradise, though largely in their late 20’s-50’s. They’ve spent their entire savings on this. Watching them live their stoner dream come true is great. Hey, it’s better than a trip to Vegas.

I’m bored and detached most of the time, weed for weed’s sake isn’t my thing. 

There’s just not much else going on. Eventually I opt out of the nighttime events and just spend time with local friends.

The culmination of the trip is the tickets to the sold out first ever Colorado Cannabis Cup. We’ve all long revered it as the legal Dutch event and now, finally, the US can have legal cannabis competitions. This is the first. People flock.

I note that it will be hell on earth when we arrive and are standing in a very long line before the venue is even open, curling around the block that houses the event complex. The church across the way turns its speakers on us and now I stand in direct sunlight for an hour and a half listening to bad Biblical interpretations, and thinking carefully about my life choices and maturity.

I am surprised that I see only one entrepreneur working the line of the first US Cannabis Cup. He’s a bootleg t-shirt seller, with shirts that say “Colorado Cannabis Cup” and have a picture of a weed leaf on them. It’s clearly a missed opportunity that will never be missed again. We are sitting ducks. I could really use a bottle of water. My high has long worn off.

And as I’m jostling through the throng shoulder to shoulder in the blaring sun, being driven like cattle across sales experiences masquerading as expositions, built for a turnout 1/10 the tickets sold, sober at the world famous first US Cannabis Cup, I wonder if we wouldn’t all be much better off at home on the couch.


For more posts about weed, check out the Cannabis Category.


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