The High Times Northern California Cannabis Cup is a steadfast feature of the contemporary folklore surrounding good cannabis. Since its inception in 2010, it’s served as the proving ground for much of the world’s best indoor grown cannabis, and 2017 will be no different.
High Times has long been known for their Amsterdam Cannabis Cup, which for decades had served as the de facto pot world championship. In re-creating the event in Northern California — the home of some the world’s most seasoned growers in the Western Hemisphere and the true end of the hippie trail for many — one of the most developed cannabis markets in the world now has its chance to stake its claim as the best too.
But its place in pot history was not presumed — High Times Senior Cultivation Editor, Danny Danko, said, at the time, they were just looking for fun.
“It was so much fun, but we had no idea what we were doing,” he said. “We just loved doing the event in Amsterdam and decided, ‘let’s put on a show!’”
Danko went on to call the cultivators of Northern California “world-class,” and said it’s almost difficult to grow bad pot up there.
“Well the cannabis in NorCal is the best in the world,” he said. “Generations of families have grown it and chosen only the best — you can’t get away with bad weed in Northern California.”
Danko has been a part of every NorCal Cup so far and remembers the roots of the event at the famed “Castro Castle,” home to pioneering medical cannabis activist and provider, Dennis Peron.
“The Cup has grown so much since we were in Richmond and before that even, the first US Cup was in 2010 in Downtown San Francisco,” Danko said. “We stayed at Dennis Peron’s Cannabis Castle in the Castro.”
At this year’s SoCal event, TGA Seeds chief, Subcool, was honored with a lifetime achievement award. He said the changes over the years have been for the better.
“Well the voting is certainly run better in my opinion,” Subcool said. “It has become more of a party time for attendees and is extremely competitive.”
He also said the prevailing narrative about the genetic identity of the original winner, thought to be true for years, was false.
While named God’s Pussy on the official list of winners, that strain was widely considered to be Vortex among those who follow this kind of thing. But according to Subcool — and to the surprise of many — it was not: Phylos genetics testing showed the strain was 3D, a popular Apollo-13 and Jack the Ripper cross.
Maya of Om Edibles & Whoopi and Maya said winning the NorCal Cup has been huge for some businesses, even back in the early going.
“The SF Cup will always be nearest and dearest to my heart,” she said.
Since winning their first cup in 2011, she’s gone on to take home nine High Times Cups and three Emerald Cups. Even before joining forces with her new business partner, cup wins had helped push Maya to the top of the West Coast edible landscape.
The same enthusiasm can be seen from those who’ve won on the flower side.
We reached out to Alan from CRAFT to get his take on what it meant to be a winner.
“Being recognized by High Times is something you dream about when you’re a kid reading the magazine and listening to Grateful Dead in your basement,” he said. “It meant validation for the effort and the expression of the art involved in growing.”
This year’s NorCal Cannabis Cup will take place at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa on June 3 and 4, 2017. The bill hosts two musical giants, 311 and The Wailers, as well as Fortunate Youth, Arden Park Roots and The Tahoes.
Tickets are on sale now.
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