Like a courteous smoker, Washington State is passing the bountiful blunt that is the Cannabis Cup of the Northwest region off to its neighbor Oregon. The decision comes following an order signed by Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee last month. The bill effectively ended medical marijuana in the state and brought all regulation of recreational cannabis sales under the authority of the Washington Liquor Control Board. This switcheroo in marijuana laws has made hosting a Cannabis Cup as we know it virtually impossible within Washington’s boarders.
High Times editor-in-chief Dan Skye told SeattlePI.com that there were a few insurmountable issues which lead to the cancellation of what would have been the Washington’s fourth annual Cannabis Cup. The first was that High Times sought a liquor license for the event, and according to Washington’s Initiative 502, marijuana use is not permitted on a site with a liquor license. Second, the recreational cannabis laws in the state don’t permit selling or sampling marijuana products outside of a licensed pot shop, and consumption of those products isn’t allowed in those shops anyway. Of course, circumventing and ignoring state law is the name of the game at other U.S. cups, as vendors effectively sell cannabis at both the SoCal event in San Bernadino and the U.S. cup in Denver, though those practices are not technically legal in either state. So maybe High Times is trying to go a little more by the book, or maybe there are other forces at work.
Skye said he also met with resistance from venue owners and that lead to the final decision to pull its business from the Emerald City. According to Skye, public venues “get a lot of federal money, so those people are very very reticent to open up their doors to High Times. And the private venues, because the rules appear to be somewhat gray, are very very reticent as well to sign on with High Times.”
The High Times editor, possibly trying to rub the state’s face in missing out, added, “So we have basically given up, and it’s a real shame because Portland is jumping on this and we’re going to have a huge cup in early August there.” The Portland-held Cannabis Cup, announced last fall, will effectively take over for Seattle as the site of the Northwest region’s High Times event, and bogart all the sweet weed and revenues that come with it. The festival will commence this summer, shortly after Oregon’s marijuana legalization goes live in July.