High-Powered: High Times Cannabis Cup returns to Santa Rosa this weekend

The NorCal High Times Cannabis Cup rolls into the Sonoma County Fairgrounds with a weekend of music, cannabis competitions, vendors, speakers and a chef-driven edibles challenge this Saturday and Sunday, June 3-4, 2017.

It’s the second time that High Times traveling roadshow has been to Sonoma County, holding its first Nor-Cal event here in 2014. The 2015 and 2016 NorCal events were held in San Francisco’s Cow Palace after Sonoma County fairground officials say they were left with a major mess from the first event. Promoters of the 2017 event have assured fairground officials they won’t repeat that mistake, and have been welcomed back.

High Times Cannabis Cup NorCal musical acts include 311, the Wailers, Fortunate Youth and Sonoma County’s own regga-rock band, The Tahoes, though VIP passes are required to attend the music shows.

Throughout the weekend, chefs with with a capacity for cannabis cooking go head-to-head with an infused dish competition. Chef Brandon Allen of San Diego, the First High Times Top Cannabis Chef Cannabis Connoisseur, will be on-hand with Pot D’Huile, a cannabis-infused olive oil.

Seminars include “The Future of Concentrates”, “Dosing Your Homemade Edibles and Topicals”, “Investing in Cannabis”, a veterans’ panel and details about Prop. 64 and tech and cannabis. There will also be a cannabis career fair, a topical massage spa and cultivation discussions.

“As marijuana moves mainstream and legalization becomes a real possibility nationwide, the High Times Cannabis Cup stands as the foremost gathering place for the cannabis community to network and celebrate,” said Mary Jane Gibson, High Times Culture Editor. “It’s the biggest weed party in the world!”

The literal crowning event of the show is the High Times Cananbis Cup. This year, reps say that the NorCal competition garnered more than 350 entries in categories of flowers, concentrates, edibles and topicals. Top 10 finishers in each category will qualify for the High Times World Cannabis Cup in late 2017. By comparison, the SoCal event had about 450 entries. The most entries ever? About 600 in Colorado a few years ago, said reps.

Professional testing of entries for pesticides has been a key issue in a number of California cannabis cup events in the last year, and reps for High Times say that every entry is lab tested for cannabinoids, terpenes, residual solvents, and for the first time, pesticides. However, pesticide testing will not be used in scoring this year as state regulations for acceptable amounts of pesticides are still in flux.

The Nor-Cal event follows an event in Southern California in late April, and in Las Vegas this March. The event moves to Michigan, Portland, Rhode Island and Jamaica throughout the rest of the year. Marijuana is legal recreationally in California, Oregon, and Nevada while Michigan and Rhode Island have medically-approved marijuana programs.

“There’s something for everyone at the Cup, from the seasoned smoker to the “canna-curious.” It’s a celebration of freedom, joy and independence—bringing cannabis consumption out of the shadows, enjoying it openly with friends and other festival-goers, a happy, heady experience of watching amazing music after a day of perusing booths and seminars and food trucks and so much more—there’s nothing like it anywhere else,” said Gibson.

High Times magazine was founded in 1974 to advocate the legalization of marijuana. The magazine’s Cannabis Cup has been held since 1988 in Amsterdam. In 2010, Cannabis Cups began in the U.S. in response to the passage of medical marijuana laws.

Because recreational marijuana will not be sold until 2018 in the California, medical cards will still be required for anyone to enter a designated smoking area. Anyone over 18 may attend the event. Gates open for VIP at 11 a.m, noon for General Admission. The event ends on Saturday at 11p.m. and on Sunday at 9 p.m. Tickets are $50 for single day passes, $160 for VIP passes and $420 for “Super VIP” weekend passes. Details online.