The Cannabis Cup FAQ: Everything You Need to Know!

Photo by Dale Shirley

What is a Cannabis Cup?

The HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup is the world’s leading marijuana festival and trade show, celebrating the world of ganja through competitions, instructional seminars, expositions, celebrity appearances, concerts, product showcases and more. Hosted in states that have legalized medical and recreational marijuana, the Cannabis Cup stands as the foremost gathering place for the cannabis community to network and celebrate.

Where are Cannabis Cups held?

The original Cannabis Cup was held in 1988 in Amsterdam and has since expanded to the U.S. and abroad with the passage of medical and recreational laws. Cups have been held in Northern and Southern California, Denver, Seattle, Michigan and Jamaica, with new locations being added each year.

To celebrate Nevada’s legalization vote, the next Cannabis Cup will be held in Las Vegas March 4 and 5. And of course stop by for details and announcements of newly added cities and dates.

K, cool. But the real question is … Can I smoke weed at a Cannabis Cup? 

Yes! But… (Yeah, there’s a but!) Cannabis Cups in recreational states are open to anyone 21 or over, and smoking is totally allowed! In medical states, the event is open to all adults 18 and over, but to enter the medicating area where smoking is permitted, you must have a valid medical card or recommendation. All of our Cups are BYOB—bring your own bud (and accessories!)—if you want. Smoke your own stash, or come empty-handed and browse our vendors to find your new favorite strain.

Our Las Vegas Cup will be help at the TKTK Reservation, where weed is legal.

Will Snoop Dogg be there? 

Maybe! Snoop has played Cups in the past—most recently he spinned as DJ Snoopadelic at our Live Cannabis Experience in San Bernardino—and celebs often show up unannounced at Cups. We don’t usually announce musical lineups until closer to the event, but between the official HIGH TIMES stage and the many stages our vendors often put up, there’s almost always special performances and surprise guest artists waiting to be the soundtrack to your smoke sesh.

So, there’s weed and celebs and vendors, but what else? 

Cannabis Cups are so much more than just a trade show with pot. Each Cup lets you learn from the pros, from live grow-room tours with world renown cultivation experts to kitchen demos with cannabis chefs, often hosted by our own Elise McDonough.

Immersive experiences also abound, such as dab rig expositions, topical massage spas, and vape pen clinics. Not to mention, the competition.

Competition? There’s a competition?

The competition is what actually makes a cannabis cup a Cannabis Cup. Since 1988, HIGH TIMES has been handing out awards to the best of the best in cannabis, and in 2017, we’re reformatting our competition, making every city a “Regional Competition” that will culminate at the end of the year with the “World Championship Cannabis Cup.” Competitors submit entries ahead of each Cup in the following categories: Flowers (Sativa, Indica, Hybrid), Concentrates (Sativa, Indica, Hybrid), CBD (Flowers, Concentrates, Edibles), Non-Solvent Hash, Edibles, Topicals, Vape Pen Cartridges and Medically Infused Products (MIPs—includes Moon Rocks, Caviars, etc.). At the end of the year, companies placing in the Top 10 of each category in their regional competition will qualify for entry into the World Championship Cup.

How do I participate?

All the details are right here.

So, how are these competitions judged?

Entries are scored using a two-tiered digital system that includes a qualitative score that comes from judges and a quantitative score that comes from lab results. The qualitative score accounts for approximately 75 percent of the total, with judges looking at aroma, taste, visual aesthetics, stone/high, and burnability/flush. Other factors vary by category.

Wait, who are these judges? Can I be one? 

All judges are experts or professionals from the cannabis industry who have demonstrated exceedingly high levels of cannabis knowledge and are extremely dedicated to both the cause and the task of judging. HIGH TIMES uses an online-application process to select judges from around the world to participate and winners and competitors from past Cups are encouraged to apply for judging (in a city far away from their own) to see our process from the inside! Access to the application is as simple as asking a HIGH TIMES staff member who’s willing to vouch for your expertise. However, judging begins before the competition, so it’s necessary that you’ll be available in the area leading up to the event.

Sweet. So where do I buy tickets? 

Tickets and all announcements for upcoming events can be found on—as well as more detailed info for the specific Cup you’re interested in attending. And follow @High_Times_Mag on Twitter for the latest.


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