Cannabis Cup- All You Need to Know

The Cannabis Cup is a cannabis competition, trade show, and festival sponsored by High Times magazine. It brings together cannabis companies, fans and advocates offering seminars, expos, celebrity appearances, product showcases, concerts, and fun activities like tie-dying shirts and riding giant slides stoned. It awards the best cannabis brands and products worldwide so businesses can continue bringing their earthly goods to the masses.

Cannabis Cup 2
Cannabis Cup 2

About the Cannabis Cup

The Cannabis Cup originated in Amsterdam in 1988. It was founded by High Times editor Steve Hager.

Early events featured in-house underground judging in Amsterdam. The event later moved to the United States focusing on medical products only. But with legalization spreading, organizers have been able to take more freedom in its features and offerings.

The Cup offers a variety of events and activities with a focus on its competitions which crowns three top producers per category. The top spot earns the coveted Cannabis Cup trophy. Winners have seen considerable economic growth in their businesses.

Where Does the Cannabis Cup Take Place?

The first Cannabis Cup happened in Amsterdam in 1988. But with legalization measures being passed, it has since moved to the various United States. Previous locations include Alaska, Arizona, Northern and Southern California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington. It was even held in Jamaica.

The 2023 Cup took place March 20-30 in Detroit. There is no word on where and when the next Cannabis Cup will happen, but new locations are added each year.

Can I Smoke Up at the Cannabis Cup?

Studio portrait of African Rastafarian male smoking cigarettes

You can smoke at the Cannabis Cup, but there are some restrictions. If the event is being held in a recreational state, anyone 21 and over can enter and smoke to their heart’s content.

If the event is held in a medical state, the event is open to anyone 18 and over. Those with a medical card can enter the medicated area where smoking is permitted.

All Cups are BYOB (Bring Your Bud) and accessories. Or you can buy weed from one of the many vendors on site and indulge.

Who Performs at the Cannabis Cup?

Live performers are typically announced closer to the event. Past performers included:

  • 50 Cent
  • Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley
  • Method Man and Red Man
  • Ferg
  • Wu-Tang Clan
  • Lit
  • A$AP
  • Vic Mensa
  • Chief Keef
  • The Game

What Types of Activities and Events Happen at Cannabis Cup?

Activities and events change from year to year. Past year activities include:

  • The Top Cannabis Chef Competition
  • The Live Growroom Experience
  • The National Rolling League showing off their finest creations
  • People’s Choice- The competition sometimes opens judging to the public- it’s a sampler’s dream- there is an entry fee for People’s Choice judges
  • Kitchen Demos by Cannabis Chefs
  • Workshops with World Cultivation Experts
  • Dab Rig Expositions
  • Topical Massage Spas
  • Vape Pen Clinics
  • Competitions

What is the People’s Choice Cannabis Cup?

Shopping, discounts and advertising concept. Waist up indecisive, thoughtful young woman searching gifts for christmas holidays, raising palms holding something in hands, two variants, making choice

The People’s Choice Cannabis Cup was introduced in 2020 when the event could not take place live due to the pandemic. But people enjoyed it so much, it remains a Cannabis Cup feature to this day.

Product submissions are dropped off at the Moxie Lynwood facility in May. Then Moxie builds judge kits which are transported to all participating High Times and Have a Heart retailers where they can be purchased.

Judges have a May to July window to test the products and judge them based on aroma, taste, effectiveness, and other factors. They submit their thoughts on the products to the organization, to be considered in the judging process.

There are specific rules judges must follow.

Will I See Celebrities at the Cannabis Cup?

You might. Snoop Dogg has shown up in past years as well as other advocates. And let’s not forget about the celebrity performers.

There have also been notable judges throughout the years. They include:

  • Tommy Chong
  • Snoop Dogg
  • Wiz Khalifa
  • Patti Smith
  • Joe Rogan
  • B.O.B.
  • Redman
  • B-Real
  • The Brotherhood of Eternal Love
  • Alex Grey
  • Rita Marley
  • Kid Cudi
  • Method Man
  • Damian Marley

How Do the Competitions Work?

Cannabis Cup 5

The Cannabis Cup competitions were reformatted in 2017 to include a Regional Competition that culminates at the end of each year with a World Championship Cannabis Cup.

Competitors submit entries ahead of each cup in the following categories:

  • Flowers (Sativa, Indica, Hybrid)
  • Concentrates (Sativa, Indica, Hybrid)
  • CBD (Flowers, Concentrates, Edibles)
  • Non-Solvent Hash
  • Topicals
  • Edibles
  • Vape Pen Cartridges
  • Medically Infused Products

At the end of the year, companies that place in the top 10 of each category in their region will qualify for entry in the World Championship Cup

How Do I Participate?

Companies looking to participate in the Cannabis Cup should contact High Times magazine.

How are the Competitions Judged?

Entries are judged based on a two-tiered digital system that accounts for a qualitative judges’ score and a quantitative score from the lab results. The judges score accounts for approximately 75% of the total score with factors such as visuals, aroma, taste, high, and burnability being considered.

How are the Judges Selected and Can I Be One?

Cannabis Cup judges are people that have demonstrated an extreme knowledge of the cannabis industry and are dedicated to the cause. Individuals can apply to judge using an online application. Past winners and competitors are encouraged to apply.

If you feel you may have quality, you may ask a High Times staff member to vouch for your expertise. Note that you must be available in the city the event is taking place at the time of the event.

Where Do I Buy Tickets?

Cannabis Cup 6

You can buy tickets and find out more about the event by visiting

The Cannabis Cup promises a fun time and educational experience for fans. It helps businesses promote themselves and expand their reach. Will you be attending this year’s event?

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