Almost exactly a year ago I posted an article openly begging High Times to bring their Cannabis Cup event to Portland, Oregon. It took awhile, but by the end of 2014 High Times announced its intention of doing exactly that. The announcement came shortly after Oregon voted to legalize recreational marijuana. That prompted a followup article which was one of the most joyous articles I've ever posted on this blog. For a brief time I was very, very excited. However, as I stated in my original article, finding a suitable location in or around Portland for that type of event was going to to be difficult, which has proven to be the case.
Most people in Oregon have never been to a cannabis cup, and have only been to the typical Oregon events. No offense to the usual Oregon cannabis events, but Oregon has never seen anything like a High Times Cannabis Cup. I have been to Cannabis Cups in Colorado and several locations in California, and I can honestly say that it's like nothing I've ever been to in Oregon, and it's not even a contest. Whereas Oregon events are lucky to break the 1,000 attendance mark, Cannabis Cups draw tens of thousands of people every time.
Cannabis Cups require a large stage for world class music acts, indoor facilities for booths and VIP areas, as well as outdoor areas for people to congregate. Venues that can accommodate an event like that are all over California, Colorado, Seattle, Michigan, etc. But they are vary rare in Portland, and in Oregon in general. Those places that do meet the criteria are virtually off limits to marijuana events due to Oregon alcohol permit rules. Per Oregon Live:
The issue: the Oregon Liquor Control Commission won't allow cannabis consumption at venues that hold liquor licenses. The policy, which the agency spelled out in a recent letter to all liquor license holders in the state, means bars, restaurants and any other venue authorized to serve alcohol can't allow marijuana consumption in their establishments.
"We have made the decision that any place with a liquor license is public and there is no consumption of marijuana at public places so allowing people to consume marijuana at a place that has a liquor license puts the liquor license in jeopardy," said Tom Towslee, a spokesman for the liquor control commission.
Establishments that violate the policy can face administrative sanctions, according to the July 3 letter the agency sent to license holders.
"They are going to have to make a choice between allowing someone to smoke marijuana on their premises and how great they value their liquor license," said Towslee.
I don't see the OLCC changing their policies anytime soon, so any venue that hosts the Cannabis Cup will need to be a location that doesn't have a liquor license. That basically means that the only way that the Cannabis Cup comes to Oregon anytime soon is if a privately owned property owner allows it to happen on their property, and their property has to fit all of the criteria in order to have a Cannabis Cup held there. Is it possible that such a location could be located? Sure. Do I think it's going to happen anytime soon? Sadly, no. I guess it just wasn't meant to be.
If you happen to own a piece of property that is suitable for a Cannabis Cup, I strongly urge you to contact High Times. Anything short of that and it looks like Oregonians will have to continue to travel to other states to participate in Cannabis Cups. Sad face. Sad face indeed.