I have been fortunate enough over the last few years to attend several High Times Cannabis Cups. I have been to medical Cups in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, medical Cups in Denver, and the first ever recreational Cup in Denver in 2013. I haven't been to the one in Seattle yet, but Jay Smoker has, and he said it was just as awesome as the other Cups in other cities. The High Times Cannabis Cup is going on right now in San Bernardino, California, and I wanted to pass along some tips for attendees who haven't been to a Cup before (adapted from an article I did for 420 events). If you have any tips, make sure to include them below so that others can benefit from your experience:
Bring As Much Marijuana As You Can
This is clearly an obvious to-do, but I can't emphasize enough, bring as much marijuana as you can. Roll joints, bring a pipe, and/or a vape pen. Edibles are a great idea, although some venues for Cups don't allow outside foods. Resist the urge to bring your torch and dab rig, and be advised that not all Cup venues even allow torches anymore due to safety concerns. Bring a torchless nail if you have one. Bringing your monster bong might sound like a good idea because you want to show it off, but remember that you will have to lug that thing around all day long. When you go to High Times events, you get so much free stuff that you will want to fill your bag with swag, not a bunch of smoking gear.
Stay In A Hotel Close To The Event
Driving sucks, especially when you are leaving the event stoned out of your mind in unfamiliar territory, so don't do it by staying in a hotel nearby. Stay close to the event so you don't spend an arm and a leg on a cab. Or even better, walk to and from the event to your hotel if possible. You will be glad you did. Plus you can explore on the way and meet new friends.
Make Friends With Someone Who Has A Booth
I have always been lucky enough to know people that have booths at just about every Cup event, so I've had somewhere to hangout and get out of the crowd for a bit. Taking dab hits at a booth is way better than being cramped in a crowd trying to light your pipe, while at the same time trying to not burn yourself or someone else. Plus you get to people watch while you are stationary at the booth, and trust me, it's prime people watching at a Cup.
Plan Ahead For Food
There is some food at Cannabis Cup events, but all in all, there aren't that many options. You are usually forced to choose between state fair style foods like the 'Tornado Potato', or expensive organic food options. Not that there's anything wrong with those items, but if you have a specific palate style like I do, you will want to prepare ahead of time. To save money and eat what I like, I always leave food in my car and take breaks to eat. Not all Cups allow re-entry, so make sure to check ahead if you are trying to go that route.
Wear Good Shoes
Cannabis Cup events are packed, and sitting down is rare. You will walk a lot to look at all of the awesome things, and have to stand in place most of the time that you aren't walking. Wear comfortable shoes and comfortable clothing. I see girls all the time at Cups that are wearing shoes that I'm sure they love, but have to start being lame after 15 minutes of being at the event. Which probably leads into another tip - there aren't that many girls compared to guys at Cannabis Cups. The ratio is probably 10 to 1. If you are a single guy looking to meet your soul mate, a Cannabis Cup is probably not the best place to look. On the other hand, if you are a single girl looking to meet your stoner soul mate, a Cannabis Cup may be a good idea!
Make A Plan If You Want To See Everything
The first Cannabis Cup I ever attended was in Los Angeles in 2011. There were music acts, and panels, and booths, and all kinds of marijuana related entertainment. Combine that with getting caught up making new friends, and there just aren't enough hours in the day to see everything if you don't have a solid plan. If there are panels you want to see, or music acts, watch the time carefully (which sucks) or set an alarm on your phone. When it's packed it's not as easy as walking from one end of the event to the other end quickly. You will likely be walking shoulder to shoulder the entire way, and by the time you get to the panel, you will be standing in the back which isn't fun, or you will miss it entirely because you will get distracted along the way. I know I did. When people are handing out free joints and T-shirts I just can't help myself but get sucked into hearing what they have to say.
Watch Out For Narcs
99.9% of people at Cup events are great people. The people left over are jackasses and/or narcs. I remember during the medical Cannabis Cup in Denver in 2012 there was a guy standing by the elevator and when people would go up or down he would ride with them and ask them to sell him marijuana. When you would tell him no, he would point to his Cheech and Chong shirt as proof that he was 'cool', and harass you until you were out of earshot of his demands. That guy was either a jackass or a narc. Either way, beware that they are out there and avoid them at all costs.
If you are driving, be careful. Beware of things like drug inspection checkpoints. If you are flying, only fly with marijuana if you are a medical marijuana patient. If you are flying to a state that is having a Cannabis Cup, trust me, there are plenty of people there trying to sell you marijuana on the ground, so no need to try to sneak it on the plane.
Don't Be Afraid To Take A Break
Smoking marijuana all day long while walking/standing non-stop will take a lot out of you. Taking a break from the event, if they allow re-entry, is not a bad thing. Jay Smoker and I always take a break midday to mellow out and rest. It makes the second part of the day that much more enjoyable.