Sampling of products from growers, extractors, and edible-producers – what some might call the cornerstone of the Cannabis Cup experience – isn’t going to be aloowed this 4/20 at the High Times U.S. Cannabis Cup in Denver.
As reported in The Cannabist, Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcment Devision released a bulletin on April 3 stating that, “marijuana produced within the regulated system must remain in the closed system … until final sale to a patient or customer” and cup vendors can’t sell their product “at any off-premises site.”
That basically says that vendors can’t sell or give out their pot at events in Colorado such as the Cannabis Cup. Attendees can bring up to an ounce of their own stuff and smoke it in specified areas, away from the vendors. The bulletin also recommends that vendors “locate any booth or exhibit table in an area away from and separated from any area designated for consumption of marijuana.”
Traditionally, the $45 entrance fee is understood to come with a whole slew of product samplings. Now attendees, many of whom either bought their tickets before the announcement came or maybe won’t have heard the announcement at all before their arrival, will have to bring their own stuff if they want to get high.
But the real inconvenience comes down on licensed promoters and vendors. Bob Eschino of Medically Correct, an extracts and edibles company with a booth at last year’s cup and this year’s as well, told The Cannabist, “For months and months, even last year, we’ve been asking the MED for clarification on events like this… So we’re happy they came out with a bulletin that tells us what their expectations are. But the timing [of the April 3 bulletin] is terrible. Everybody has already spent tens of thousands of dollars on promotions and booths, so now we’re all rethinking our involvement. We’re actually trying to sell off our booth. We don’t want to be there. We don’t want there to be any sort of question on the legality of what we’re doing.”
The lameness of the MED’s new rules are likely to have a serious effect on the longevity of events in Colorado’s future.
“It’s not going to be the same Cannabis Cup this year, which is a shame,” said Andy Williams of Medicine Man, a small franchise of Colorado weed shops. “It’ll be something we look back fondly upon years from now, because the sampling was a big part of it… I’m not sure the event will survive over time.”
Sampling is how consumers find the best product, and its how producers promote themselves. Stickers and T-shirts are fine, but they won’t tell you whether a product is any good or not. They’re also not as social. You bond with someone when they dab you out or light your bong. Getting a business card from them just isn’t the same.
So, the question is, will the thousands of attendants actually stand for this? And, if they don’t, how will these new rules actually be enforced? The Colorado MED says they will have their own investigators on site as well as the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. It remains to be seen what sheriffs turn a blind eye to. They can’t arrest everyone and where there’s a will to get high, there’s a way.