The High Times sponsored World Cannabis Cup was a disaster overall. With mostly Jamaican vendors and attendees, the attendance was at best, I’d say, 1500 attendees for the entire 3 day long festival. The venue had Jamaican weed, which was a high grade outdoor, but indoor flower was hard to come by; in fact, I believe it is illegal.
Americans and Jamaicans, both of influence, argued publicly (at one point on the stage). Shoot, Danny Danko was arguing publicly (and loudly) with another High Times staff member right in front of the main entrance.
To be clear, I am an outsider looking in on this whole situation, but it really felt like the Jamaican people hardly tolerated the American presence. They were not openly hostile, but it sure seemed like they were close to it. The elders did not like being told how to grow and felt that America was partly at fault for their overall suffering, or at least that is the impression that I got while I was there.
The VIP area was a sham. Some people paid $500 for their ticket (thank goodness mine was free), only to find they’d be treated just like everyone else; standing in the same lines, smoking the same weed and feeling thoroughly disappointed. The VIP area consisted of a tent, couple of outdoor umbrellas, about 20 white, plastic chairs and a plastic storage bin. Of course, more than 20 VIP tickets were sold, so there were times when there wasn’t anywhere to sit. As the days wore on, no one was there at all. They must have realized their ticket was pointless; simply a piece of paper that gave you a place to get out of the rain. The VIP section was closed at 8 p.m. and everyone was to be herded to the same area for the concerts.
The main hostess of the VIP area walked around talking to people wearing a High Times beach towel and a hoodie for Pete’s sake. She was a cute girl, Christine, or Christina; a lawyer for High Time’s I believe. Food was promised to the VIP’s and finally arrived on day 2. Styrofoam containers were handed out, but no utensils. When Christine figured this out she promised to come back with forks for the two gentlemen sitting next to me, but never did. When we looked around a few minutes later, she was sitting at the only table in the VIP, which was for High Times Employees only, and was eating the food for the VIP’s!
The rain that occurred was nobody’s fault. However, it left vendors with quicksand traps in front of their booths and attendees wet and dirty, with no really good place to duck and cover. This event was an unorganized mess; obviously not the proudest of moments for the beach towel-wearing High Times, “hosts.” There is so much more to complain about, but I am sure you guys get the point.
Here are the things that were great about this trip.
One. Sun Tours messed up and overbooked one of their hotels. After making a big deal of the situation, I got to stay at a resort that was much nicer than the one originally promised.This resort was the highlight of the trip. There was food everywhere. The staff was top notch; completely polite, a lot of fun and very respectful. Anytime it rained, umbrellas were passed out. After the rain stopped, you would see quite a few employees sweeping the puddles off of the sidewalks. There were activities galore, most of them included with your room rate.
The other hotel guests were great as well. Some of the people that were vending at the Cup stayed at the same resort and they were all very nice. The resort was like the place to get away from the hardships of attending the Cannabis Cup. As the cup progressed, I saw the people at the hotel more than at the cup. Go figure.
Security was in full effect in Negril. To leave the resort property, you had to give your name, along with your room number and destination to the security guard. If you are going in a taxi, the security takes the badge number of the driver as well. When going out to dinner at Rick’s Cafe, the driver had to commit to a round trip fare. If the place was more than 10 minutes or so away, or if you are going somewhere local, the taxi driver is like your security guard. One of the drivers told me he could get into a lot of trouble if one of his fares was lost or hurt. Scary shit.
Two. Blue River Extracts and Igaldi. There were a few more really good vendors at this event, but these two took the cake for me. Blue River Extracts gave me a wonderful sample of what they call, strain specific cannabis derived terpenes without the use of any chemicals or solvents” (Instagram.com/blueriverextracts). Igaldi Ltd. had some of the best looking strains at the cup. Not everyone showed off their buds to the general public, so getting to see and shoot their cannabis was super cool! I hope to visit their facility very soon!
Three. The Jamaican cannabis culture. Almost everyone there smoked and those who do not were very tolerant and understanding of those who do. Unlike the U.S., I did not feel like I was being looked down on for smoking cannabis by what I like to call haters. I had the freedom to smoke cannabis almost anywhere I wanted. I smoked walking down the beach, on the boat while going to and from the snorkeling spot, during dinner at Rick’s Café, during breakfast on the beach, at the airport everywhere. The rule of thumb here is not to smoke in large, unfriendly places like at church, I would guess. Wherever these places are, I didn’t find them while I was in Negril.
Four. The beauty of the country and the Rastafarian culture. There was definitely some major poverty, but there was beauty everywhere. The water was the bluest I have ever seen, with dark and light blue spots where seaweed and coral collected. Smoking on the beach in the mornings gave me the most tranquil feeling I have had in a long time. I love the people and how much they want to talk with tourists (even if they are trying to sell me something). The drum circles I heard were fantastic. I found myself mesmerized by the beat; my head bobbing to the sounds. There were people smoking everywhere and eager to teach tourists how to use their devices. Simple and crude, their bongs and personal hookahs still hit like no other. The weed may have been sub-par, but the total experience made the high that much more intense.
My advice? Go visit Jamaica, Mon! But, only to experience the country and to have a pretty great vacation. I would recommend going to the Cups that are hosted in the States. This was my first Cannabis Cup and it was like a first sex disaster. Lucky for them, I usually give my new partner 3 strikes of bad sex attempts before they are out of my bed forever! I think I’ll do the same thing with High Times hosted cups. If this continues to be a disaster, even in the U.S., I’ll quit going. But, I have to give High Times a couple more goes in the sack before I do.