The Cannabis Cup: Lowered Expectations and Fever Dreams.

As a young man growing up in Huntsville, Alabama there were many times when we would sit around the campfire and discuss marijuana. Now, this might not sound cool to kids these days who can practically get it from 7-11, but back then the good herb was an almighty and secret force in our lives and if we were caught using it by police the incident would send your family and social circle into mayhem, especially since I attended a catholic high school where drugs were associated with pill popping suburban kids who were destined to squander daddy’s cash on his/her inevitable pilgrimage to nowhere. So when we would go down to Barns and Noble and read magazines like High Times and open up a centerfold of crystalline perfection it would make our little hearts pound a couple beets faster than whatever frantic level the hormones and Adderall had already spooled it up to. We would drool over the its glossy images and really get the hankering to travel abroad and see that most holy of spectacles, The Cannabis Cup. Back then Amsterdam was a kind of suburban Mecca. A shimmering mirage for freedom in the minds of kids who didn’t have exposure to the truly radical policies of places like Portugal. Then over the course of our lives things unfolded beautifully and now the flower is legal in a handful of places in the US, including, as of July 1, 2015 my current home of Portland, Oregon.

In 2010 the Cannabis Cup made the leap to the new world and since then it has been cruising through whatever state will have it. This year it’s hitting Colorado, Southern California, San Francisco, Michigan, Seattle and Portland. Honestly I am a bit bummed out by how many times the Cup is given out. It seems cheapened, more like a fair than a championship. But why does that matter? Shouldn’t I be glad that so many people get to enjoy an event that was taboo not a decade earlier? Furthermore Amsterdam is about 16 thousand square miles while Michigan is almost 97 thousand. By area we should be having multiple cups per state (and California does, because it’s California) but this just feels wrong. I mean you don’t go around and give out the Stanley Cup in every state, do you? No, because the Stanley Cup is a piece of sacred tableware that, much like the Cannabis Cup, is earned by hard work and by sacrificing many braincells to a higher calling. That’s why it pains me to see the Cup so well traveled. Though, admittedly, it does still look fun.

I guess it will still be special to Portlanders in a couple ways. For instance Measure 91, which legalizes the recreational possession of marijuana, will come into effect on July 1, 2015, just prior to the arrival of the Cannabis Cup. In this regard the herbal trade show will act as the christening of an era in Oregon weed policy that has been mounting over the past 20 years or so. Hopefully this party will be absolutely ridiculous.

One of the most interesting parts of this is going to be that technically all the growers will still have to grow for the medical industry, even though any adult will be able to buy non medical ganja, since the Oregon Liquor Control Council wont issue licenses to grow or sell recreational marijuana until 2016 but will give the right to possess on July 1. But if these vendors are for medical purposes then only people with medical cards will be able to buy weed, fortunately for me anyone receiving SNAP benefits can apply for only $60 as opposed to the standard $200 fee.

Also, due to the timing it is unclear where all the recreational users will get their legal weed until the OLCC issues licenses. So exactly where all of these ounces of recreational weed are going to come from is still kind of a “mystery,” albeit an obvious one. One option will be to grow your own. Starting July 1, each household will be allowed to grow up to four plants each as long as they are indoors. So there might be a lot of clones being sold at the Cup. I wonder if I could take a plant home on the bus?

My favorite little snippet of measure 91 is that it will allow an individual to possess or gift up to 72 ounces of liquid marijuana. This is a staggering amount of THC and though I have no idea what the practical use for that much cheeba hooch would be, at least not as a full strength extract, it is a glorious and utterly American little clause. Imagine getting a noise complaint at your door and answering it to speak with whatever officer gets saddled with Fun Police duty that night while brandishing a gigantic jug of cannabis juice. And oh, Baby, is 72 ounces ever a jug! It’s bigger than the KFC Mega Jug ™. It’s practically the size of your head! What if you could sit at your cellphone sales job, or maybe your pet grooming job, while sipping your herculean mug containing some kind of cannabis Sunday while your mind goes grazing across the stratosphere, just brushing the topmost attic door of your consciousness with your nappy hair. Or one could spend the day slowly sinking further and further into a THC trench while washing Fluffy’s ears. Probably a terrible time, but worth exercising your right. Unfortunately, that last bit is fiction since I don’t think the man will allow you to use a marijuana product in public (technically), but you are still allowed to possess it and use it in your home. What’s better is that it could make the ultimate Christmas gift.

Now, I couldn’t pull down that kind of volume. I would either collapse in a jibbering heap or promptly vomit, but some far out champion might. Some kind of Mungo Jerry meets The Mountain, perhaps. John Belushi resurrected. Either way, the whole thing reeks of democracy in action to me, and I like it.

Guess we will just have to wait until July 1 to see who the real pioneers of Oregon are.