I get asked all the time what it’s like to attend and judge a marijuana competition. Well, I haven’t been around long enough to say what they’ve been like over the years. Also, I’ve only checked out local events thus far. But I was a judge at Kush Cup 2016 — the second time for the Kush Cup — and it did not disappoint.

Set over three days at three locations — the old Vancouver Seed Bank, a boat cruise out of Granville Island, and shows at the Rickshaw — there was a smorgasbord of fantastic entertainment available. Truly something for everyone, pot-smoker or no.

Kits, Joints, and lots and lots of Guitars

Starting out on Friday for the first night of Kush Cup 2016, I headed down to the old VSB to pick up my judge’s kit. Perhaps there was less selection than last year, but that was fine with me: one of my pet peeves with cups is the lack of time I have to assess what I am smoking. I mean, how many joints can one smoke critically before they start blending together? Some people who can do it, I’m not one of them.  

I sat down with a friend to go through my kit and found the typical blend of merch and stickers, and various samples of edibles, shatter, and weed.

I started at the beginning with strain “A”. It was a very hot day, so I was glad the first strain I picked out to smoke was pretty functional. See, as a recreational user, I don’t pay too much attention to what my high is like, usually. But I have learned enough to know what to look for when I need to. And I’ve learned not to smoke huge fatties for this kind of thing. I also like having a second opinion, so I try to smoke cup joints with other people.

After I smoked different samples to the point where they were starting to blend together, I headed over to the Rickshaw to catch the Nashville-based band Diarrhea Planet, who put on a great show. Lots of guitars. Lots and lots. And they made it work!

Diarrhea Planet

I had the pleasure of meeting them briefly after their set. I was hoping to test one of the strains from the judges’ kits with them, but they weren’t keen to blaze — or even talk about weed for that matter. They were about to cross back into the States in a couple of hours. Fair enough! Nice guys, though. Go check them out!

Luckily, I was able to test-run the “marijuana leaf” strain sample with a couple people out front of the Rickshaw, afterwards. I slept well that night.

Boats, Edibles, and lots and lots of Friends

Come the next morning, the boat cruise! It’s probably the event I was most looking forward to. But I should have known better than to show up right at the listed boarding time of 11:00 am. Last year we waited too long for the cruise to begin, this year was no different: we finally got to board around noon. A time closer to the actual boarding would be appreciated. I know we run on stoner time and all, but we are grownups, and no one wanted to miss the boat!

We quickly forgot the wait once we all piled onto the boat, and our group found a great corner on the top for our whole lot. It had been a while since I had seen everyone together, in a relaxed environment no less, so I enjoyed catching up with old friends.

The pot was plentiful, with lots of pre-rolled strains for testing together, which is always nice. And I tried out some edibles, too. Here is a tip: edibles in small doses are really soothing on a boat, even if it’s a bit rocky … or perhaps especially if? I enjoyed myself. And I really enjoyed the extra-long ride compared to that of previous years. I’m glad most of the gang came out.

Party Rock, Paraphernalia, and lots and lots of Sweat

After the cruise we grabbed some food together, then we all went our respective ways before the main event, Redfoo. I took a great disco nap after testing “E” so I was feeling refreshed. And I am really glad because I don’t think I have ever danced that hard in my entire life.

See, I really, really love a good spectacle; shows like Gwar or Peaches have always been a favourite thing of mine because of the dramatics. What I didn’t realize was that Redfoo was going to bring that to the table.

Angel Down

So after I arrived and listened to the the opening band, Angel Down — who put on a good show, though not my jam — I was a little surprised when Redfoo’s DJ came on and started spinning. It went on for … an hour? I watched the crew set up gigantic inflatable zebras and other paraphernalia that wasn’t pot related. When they started handing out glow sticks and other things, well, I’ll admit it, my eyes were rolling a bit.

I’d watched a few YouTube videos in anticipation, not entirely sure what to expect from one of the “Sexy and I Know It” guys. My hopes were not exactly the highest. I should have checked out live videos … although I don’t think the excitement of the show would have hit me the same, had I expected it.

Redfoo is a booty man.

The Redfoo crew started coming out, getting the crowd going. I was already dancing quite a bit to the DJ — I am not known for sitting still. All the same, I am more likely to hit up a rock show over pop, so I wasn’t waving around the props like some of the attendees. But then the stage really got going. And that’s where the magic happened.

To anyone who had the chance to come and didn’t, you missed right the fuck out. It was the messiest, sweatiest, most invigorating show I have been to in my life. Party rock, indeed. I left vibrating, and I still smile to myself when I think about it. I’m guessing they are still finding confetti at the Rickshaw.

Self-Care, Ceremonies, and lots and lots of Love

The next day, I woke up pretty pleased with life. I dressed in my onesie and set up camp in my bedroom with my few remaining strains and edibles to critique. I had munchies, art supplies, music, and eight hours of me-time. Despite preferring to sample with others, I think I did my best judging that day all by my lonesome. And I realized while writing that, according to rumour, I finished off my judging with some of the winners.

My choice for winner was the skulls bag. It was amazing, I’m going to need to get my hands on more. It definitely had my creative juices flowing that morning, and got a painting out of me. That is always something I enjoy in a strain.

It was pretty great to be able to just sit around and take in the high from each strain. I painted a picture, wrote some poetry, and made notes that only a stoner could make.

Notes like “either my brownie hit me, or this shit is GOOOOOODDDDD” and “don’t remember, but the word plebeian is not what I wanted.” In a nutshell, it was a good afternoon of self-care after the previous couple of busy days.

Kush Cup 2016 Awards

That evening, I aimed for fashionably late for the closing ceremonies. It worked out well as I just made it for Cityreal, and Prevail and Neph in Alpha Omega, and they were quality entertainment. I’m not a huge hip hop fan, but good music is good music and I was grooving to all of it.

Alpha Omega

After the performances we found out who the winners were.

PCMG Co-Op won first for Sativa and second for Indica.

I am happy to say that Twelve High Chicks came in first in the Indica category with a really nice Bubba Kush, and second place in Sativa with Sugar Jack.

My personal highlight of the closing ceremonies was everyone in the room singing me “Happy Birthday” at midnight. We don’t call ourselves a canna-family for nothing. I was feeling the love.

I had a really good time at the Kush Cup this year. The only drawback was under-attendance — there was another cup on Vancouver Island — but that didn’t lessen its value. The weather was great, the people were happy and friendly, the pot was top-notch … if you ever have opportunity to attend a cup, I say do it; there is nothing quite like it.

The Kush Cup has delivered both times I have attended. Maybe I’ll see you next year?

Swag shot, handful of joints, and painting photographs courtesy of Penny Puff, all other photography by EDI - Easterbrook Digital Images for Twelve High Chicks.