High Times Cannabis Cup returning to Denver for 4/20 weekend, but will it be the same?


High Times will once again be a Mile High on the 4/20 holiday, when the magazine will bring its now-annual Cannabis Cup back to Denver. But do recent shutdowns of other cannabis-friendly events in the city mean that attendees won’t enjoy the same huge clambake that has marked the last three Cups?
According to promoters, the event will once again be filled with speakers, grow workshops, live music and plenty of national and international vendors — much like last year’s.

The 2013 cup also marked the first time there was open cannabis consumption allowed for adults 21 and up. As a result, the festivities sprawled out of the Exdo Event Center and into a neighboring vacant lot that High Times had transformed into a pot carnival hazed over with dabs and monster joints.
But how open and smoke-filled this year’s Cannabis Cup will be compared to last year’s remains to be seen. In the past, the Cup operated in a somewhat nebulous legal gray area, with “patient-only” warehouses and 21-and-up recreational zones; last year, nobody was sure how the courts were defining “open and public” use as it related to cannabis consumption. But in Denver these days, the definition seems to be a lot more black-and-white.

Screen shot of the cancelation notice for Marijuana Madness

Two cannabis-friendly events nowhere near the size and scope of the Cannabis Cup have been shut down in recent weeks. The first was one of AJ Hashman’s monthly MMJ Meet-and-Greet parties at the Aztlan Theater; the night before the February edition, Denver police told Hashman in no uncertain terms that he was not to hold the event.
The second was the Marijuana Madness Home Growers’ Competition originally planned for this Friday at Hoodlab. According to the event’s Facebook page, it was canceled because “the City of Denver has expressed concern about our event and is in the process of shutting it down.”
So far, High Times hasn’t given out too many details on what it plans to do, though an interesting note on the event’s website mentions that the “outdoor component” is fenced off and not visible to the general public. However, the site also says that selling or distributing cannabis will not be allowed. We’re wondering how well the “distributing” will really be enforced.
The event has also left Exdo for the Denver Mart (no doubt partly due to the site being left trashed last year and fingers being pointed by both sides). But it is keeping alive the tradition of throwing two Red Rocks concerts, with Slightly Stoopid and Mac Miller on Saturday, April 19, and Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa on Sunday, April 20.

This story originally ran over at Wesword.com