The 2014 High Times Cannabis Cup in Denver fell on the fabled stoner’s holiday, 4/20. Tens of thousands of cannabis enthusiasts flocked to the Mile High City that week, and if you tried to buy some weed at a Denver dispensary you’d know they were there; long lines snaked out the door and down the sidewalk at many retail weed shops in the days before the Cup. Many shops were unprepared for the influx, although ultimately it seemed to me that there was more than enough weed for everyone.
I attended both days of the event and had an awesome time – there was so much to do that I missed out on quite a lot. However, I did manage to get a little more than 100 good photographs of the people, businesses and organizations behind the 2014 High Times Cannabis Cup, and I’m happy to share them with you here.
The weather was perfect for both days of the Cannabis Cup, and many people milled around outside before heading in (complete with some interesting and not-so-discreet street vendors)
Walking up to the entrance, staff provided clear instructions on where to go and despite the massive amount of people the lines moved rapidly.
There were 3 options for this cup; 1 day, 2 day, or VIP passes. Oh yeah, and Super VIP, which was admittedly pretty impressive.
The Mad Hatter banner in the main lobby was definitely the best banner out there so I had to grab a shot.
Looking down the main corridor was a little creepy; it was packed with people and at this point the lines started to slow down.
After sitting in gridlocked traffic of mostly stoners outside the Denver Mart, I arrived 2 hours late and entered the main forum area deep into a presentation in progress.
High Times had quite a few banners displayed, as well as a number of displays featuring former High Times Magazine covers and other memorabilia.
The history of the High Times Cannabis Cup is fascinating and it’s interesting to think that it’s still only in its infancy, politically speaking.
This next series of photographs consists of nearly all of the artwork on display at the Cannabis Cup, and as you’ll see most of it is impressive; some of it is downright stunning.
This lovely woman owns a headshop in Texas. But that’s not what’s amazing about her – in this shot, there are thousands of people all about, some of them trippin; nearly all of them stoned and moving about from one place to the next, but she was just sitting there, peaceful, barefoot. Awesome. Check her out, her shop has been open for nearly a HALF CENTURY! http://www.musicboxama.com
The blossoms in the outside smoking area created an amazing place to hang out and take a break from the crowds. And to get high! You had to have a special ID bracelet to get outside to smoke.
These are the guys from ABR Imagery – expert glassblowers. They were clearly having an awesome time and at one point had attracted quite a crowd. Like what they do? Check them out at http://www.ABRImagery.com
During the first day of the Cup, it rained on and off, a little at a time, throughout the afternoon. But that didn’t slow down the outside crowd at all.
Sky advertising targeted growers at the Cannabis Cup. I wonder how effective that expensive bit of marketing was…?
This guy rolled the longest, skinniest blunt I’ve ever seen and fired it up proudly.
Someone was flying a multi-propped model helipad machine around the outdoor area. Looks like they had a video camera setup on it.
There were a number of interesting pieces of glass art, in addition to the “glass” most marijuana users are accustomed to…
The crowd was large but very quiet during the forum for cannabis topicals. For those of you that don’t know, topicals are generally not designed to get you high.
This painting by Danny Sellers of WESO Knarly really got my attention. I don’t know what he calls it, but in my head I call it “Trainwreck.” It’s a beautiful painting of a blissful fishing trip gone horribly and weirdly wrong. I love it! You can check out more of this guy’s crazy work here: http://www.wesoknarly.com
There were many edibles available at this year’s High Times Cannabis Cup, but alas, I was on the job and not able to try any of them. ;-(
The amount of excellent glassware on display at the Cannabis Cup was incredible. From simple glass pipes to complex dab rigs, you could find virtually any glass piece you wanted.
Everyday Green was at the Cup helping new growers to start out and veteran growers to master new skills and equipment.
Precision Extraction Technologies showcased some of their sleek equipment. I chatted at length with one of their reps and it’s obvious that these guys know what they’re doing. Check them out at http://www.precisionextractiontechnologies.com/
All you really needed to do was walk around to find free samples of food, weed, edibles, extracts, etc.
Keith Stroup – the founder and long time executive director of NORML. Mr. Stroup has been a full-time, staunch marijuana advocate for more than 4 decades.
This is pretty cool – bendable joint holders. Seems a little clunky to be carrying around, but a neat idea nonetheless.
Not surprisingly, there were plenty of live cannabis plants at the Cup.
OK, I am sold on grinder cards if anything because of their sheer ingenuity. The credit-card sized grinders are perfect to have on you at all times while taking up virtually no space. Most grinders are a little clunky, but these things are sleek. They have special edition ones, too; check them out below or at http://www.grindercards.com
Need to pass a drug test and know you’ll have cannabis in your system? Apparently you can turn to Whizzinator for synthetic urine that will do the trick.
The number of people smoking and vaping was astounding.
There were a number of games to be played, but I can’t remember what the prize for this game was. Didn’t see anyone win, anyway.
The people were the best part of the High Times Cannabis Cup. There were only a handful in costume like this, but I think as America’s sphincter relaxes regarding marijuana, we’ll start seeing more and more people donning ridiculously awesome garb for future Cups.
Surprisingly, there were quite a few dogs at the Cup, and all of them were exceptionally well behaved considering the size of the crowds. I would have thought that dogs would not be allowed entry, but it seemed to be no problem at all. Cool.
The Cannabis Cup was really chill, despite the high numbers of attendees. It was relaxed enough that you could just take a nap, like this guy, and no one would bother you.
For the major cannabis producer, equipment like this leaf trimming machine was available at the Cup. This is a beautiful machine that has obviously been crafted with a great deal of pride, so I think it’s safe to say that the folks at EZ Trim “mean business.” Check them out at http://www.eztrimming.com
I used to have one of these when I was a kid. Minus the eyeballs and Jamaica love, of course. But the car was actually promoting something pretty sweet; you’ll see in the next picture.
The group running this booth is trying to help Cornelius James Stetson and others like him. They do so through different fundraising efforts, but they also customize little cars like the one in the previous image and bring them to kids who are ill in the hospital or other care facility.
There really wasn’t anything cannabis related that you couldn’t buy at the Cannabis Cup – including customized Cheeba Huts.
Like gambling when you’re high? Sounds weird to me, but the casino tents were full every time I walked by them.
This company sells discreet, functional and tasteful grow rooms, closets and cupboards.
This was one of many tents, stands and booths where free marijuana products were available.
These two were an interesting pair representing Wizard Pins. These guys make little pins such as the Dabbin’ Morgan pin and the Hash of the Future pin, the first a replica of Captain Morgan and the latter a replica of the Back to the Future movies. Check them out on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/WizardPins
Who needs a traditional alcohol bar when you can go to the dab bar? This place was packed all day.
Being that I was the only jackass in a suit, this guy says to me; “Hey photographer guy, check this out.” I’m glad I did, and you should too…
Pretty sweet, right? It’s called the Roll Uh Bowl, and the guy in the photos invented this little piece of brilliance. It’s a fully self-contained, collapsible water pipe. Shut the fuck up and take my money already! Get yours here: http://rolluhbowl.com/
Pretty neat, eh? Looks like a large Zippo lighter, but it’s not that at all. It’s actually a clever little vaporizer made by a company called Indica. The design is simple yet effective, discreet, and extremely appealing. Check them out for yourself at: http://indica2.com/
I believe this is Russ Belville presenting
I left the expo center to go grab some lunch, and when I came back I rounded the corner leading into the main forum and standing directly in front of me was musician, comedian and marijuana advocate Henry Rollins. Not to be rude, I took a quick shot and carried on.
I wanted to get some shots showing how expansive the Cannabis Cup was, but the only place I could get that sort of angle from would be directly on the interstate, or at the top of a crow’s nest that had been built for VIP or other special guests. I approached security at the bottom of the tower and asked if I could just go up quickly, take a few shots and come down, but although they were sympathetic they held their ground and said no. Thankfully, one of them agreed to take my camera up and take some shots for me, and I have to say he did an amazing job of it. These next few images are all his shots.
This bunny has balls. It’s a pretty good marketing ploy by Bargain Ballz, which is a simple ball that a typical sized lighter fits snugly into. Supposedly it helps prevent your lighter from being stolen, but it also fits perfectly in the top of an average water pipe, allowing you to quickly store your smoking equipment together. Check them out at http://www.bargainballz.com
MMJ America is a Denver Dispensary that I reviewed a few days before the Cup. These guys provided entertainment and DJ services at the Cup.
Look closely, and you’ll see that there is a baby in this room. That seems innocent enough until I tell you that there were at least 2 people in this room vaporizing marijuana. In fact, there wasn’t anywhere you could go in the building that day where the marijuana smoke wasn’t heavy. Everyone was smoking or vaping. So I was extremely surprised to see a baby in the room. While I personally wouldn’t bring my 3 year old daughter to the Cannabis Cup, I’m not sure I necessarily have a problem with the fact that this couple did. It’s just highly unusual. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
Event goers quickly spread their garbage everywhere, including the couple of blocks surrounding the convention center. I understand that this sort of thing probably happens at many types of events, but the problem is that the cannabis movement is still largely oppressed and is seeking “permission” to proliferate. Therefore, this type of behavior is inexcusable. We must act in an exemplary manner lest we continually be associated with the stereotypical stoner.
This handsome fella was hard at work.
The Veteran’s panel was an interesting meeting that discussed issues related to veterans, PTSD and treatment with cannabis based medicines. I’ll be writing an article about this in full detail, so grab my RSS feed to get updated when it’s published.
Lots of premium grade marijuana was for sale at the Cannabis Cup.
Oh! It’s the Magic Butter man, doing a wicked 4:20 dance!
See that white-out haze in the deep center of the crowd? At precisely 4:20 virtually the entire crowd lit up joints, bongs, bowls, vaporizers and blunts to celebrate, and the air became thick with smoke.
These two rocked. Seriously, I don’t know who they are as there was no name listed and I missed their intro, but they were inspiring and deliciously different. Imagine Kate Bush crossed with Nine Inch Nails. Fuck yeah. If you know who these kids are, please let me know because I want to see and hear more of them.
The crowd began to disperse shortly before Sunday night’s award show, but surprisingly that’s when people really started hitting the bong.
The smoke grew so thick that using my flash became futile.
Awards ranged from the Miss High Times award to the awards for top strains, glass work, products and more.
When Cloud Penz won the best vaporizer category, they basically went nuts. They danced on stage and launched a product blitz that went on for nearly ten minutes; even after the announcer went on to other awards. Hundreds of T-Shirts, vaporizers and other cool Cloud Penz stuff was launched into the delighted crowd until finally the announcer pleaded for sanity.
The final images I want to show you from the 2014 High Times Cannabis Cup in Denver represent my favorite part of the show. Huddled together near the entrance to the main lobby, a man and a woman worked tirelessly on a painting for two days. Watching their progress was humbling and beautiful, but what really struck me was the crowd’s reaction to the pair. They were painting at the crux of the busiest section of the event, yet they remained completely quiet and at peace despite the fact that their work caused constant traffic jams of people stopping to gawk.
I watched the crowds interact with other art at the show, and their reactions were mostly cursory. But when they came upon this man and woman painting a blissful Buddha, they were arrested. Many of them stopped dead in their tracks and then jostled for position to get a better look. Dozens were compelled to utter words of thanks and genuine appreciation, and despite the jostling and commotion and constant gawking, the painters never broke their composure. At times I don’t believe they were in the room with the rest of us at all, and I think that’s what this Cannabis Cup was really all about; transcendence. One day, as a society, we’ll be able to do what the artists in this case did; put all the worry and trouble behind us and focus on creating something beautiful.