High Times Cannabis Cup and Unity Cup, Amsterdam 2017

There’s something special about Amsterdam. And it’s not just the drugs, the sex, the canals. Amsterdam is also known for its dramatic climate, “four seasons in one day”, they say. The wild wind produces vignettes that you only see if you’re lucky: storms that sweep in and out in a matter of minutes; the clouds on the horizon run by so fast, making you feel as confused as sitting on a departing train “is the train moving or is the world moving?”; cyclists peddling as fast as they can, but not moving one centimetre, like exercise bikes in traffic. And then, on really special occasions, you might even be able to perceive a building swaying, just a little, but enough to doubt whether those grilled mushrooms you ate in your panini were not the magic kind.

Yes, just an ordinary November day in the Netherlands.

There must be something special about Amsterdam other than its charming weather. If not how would you explain hundreds of people flocking to the city to participate in the 30th-anniversary edition of the High Times Cannabis Cup? This year the competition returned to Amsterdam, running from 19th to 22nd November 2017, after a two-year hiatus, when it was replaced by the Unity Cup, a similar event organized by Amsterdam coffeeshops.

So despite the weather, stoners made the pilgrimage to say their’s about the stinkiest, hairiest, most crystal covered buds the city has to offer.

Crawl, smoke and vote

The High Times organization sells tickets (judge passes), which give judges access to the coffeeshop crawl: a four-day weed and hash taste-testing event, which passes by all the coffeeshops in competition, who present their competing products.

High Times Cannabis Cup

There are three categories the judges should express their opinion about: import hash - the Netherlands is famous for its exotic imported hashish, nowhere in the world can you find such a high-quality variety of hash; Neder hash - hash from plants grown in the Netherlands, then processed to produce rosin (find equipment to make it at home) or ice-o-lator (make it yourself); and flower - indica or sativa.

Additionally, there were two other categories, weed and hash from genetics of a seed company, but these were privately judged by the High Times organizers.

Drum roll, please...

On the evening of November 22nd, the awards were given out in the Melkweg club of Amsterdam. In total 17 shops participated, making the competition fierce between promising emerging seed companies and established superstars, between hidden gem coffeeshops and old school Amsterdam institutions. With high-quality genetics and top-notch growing skills, over the last week Amsterdam really put on display the reason its reputation has remained so respected in the industry for almost half a century:

In the category Seed Company - Hash:

  • First Place: Devil’s Harvest with Devil’s Glue
  • Second Place: Crocket Seeds
  • Third Place: Soma’s Sacred Seeds with SOG Kush

 In the category Seed Company - Flower:

  • First Place: DNA Genetics with S1
  • Second Place: Lady Sativa Genetics with Orange Diesel V3
  • Third Place: Phenofinders with Sunset Sherbert

 In the category Coffeeshop - Flower:

  • First Place: Original Dampkring with Blackberry Bliss
  • Second Place: Grey Area with White Fire 6
  • Third Place: Voyagers with Sunset Sherbert

 In the category Coffeeshop – Import Hash:

  • First Place: Bagheera with Mango Haze
  • Second Place: Original Dampkring with Asli         
  • Third Place: Green Place with Don Perignon

In the category Coffeeshop – Neder Hash:

  • First Place: Grey Area with SB Ice
  • Second Place: Original Dampkring with Red Ice
  • Third Place: Green Place with Cookies and Cream Iceolator

The ceremony was well attended, and many acceptance speeches reflected a common attitude in the business: to not forget the individuals locked up on cannabis-related charges, such as Richard DeLisi and that the road to full legalization is a long way’s away, because, as High Times itself put it: “we are not criminals, we are consumers”.

What did the Amsterdam Coffeeshops think about this?

Of course for the coffeeshops, this is one of the busiest times of the year, but when asking D., the owner of Mr. K & co, what she thought about the last days, she replied: “it’s incredible to see so many different people in town. It’s not just Americans, but also Brits, Germans, Spaniards. And they all know so much about the strains, the qualities, how it should look and taste. Most judges are like professors that teach you about the strain, its origins, its properties, its secrets. It’s incredible to meet such connoisseurs!”

Sources:

Coffeeshops of Amsterdam Instagram

High Times Cannabis Cup

Amsterdam Unity Cup

Author: Julia