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19th Annual Cannabis Cup 2006

 


 

In Search of the King of Cannabis…

Or (Bass Hunter is the best thing to come out of Europe in decades)

By: Rev. Christopher, Church of the Fonky Donkey


    November 21, 2006, (who knows what time it really was) Lufthansa Flight 850 to Frankfurt, Germany.  Somewhere over the Atlantic.  The bathrooms on the plane were down a staircase into the lower level of the plane.  The baby-changing table is perfect for cutting lines, interestingly enough.  So here we are.  I have what looks like a half-gram of powdered heroin in my pocket and I do not want to take that thru an international airport.  So my plan was to finish it all before we landed.  Brilliant plan, in my mind anyway.  Except I had been doing more and more for the entire eight-hour flight (let’s be honest, I was high on the way to the airport), so by the time it was time to kill the rest, I was wasted.  I wasn’t gonna flush it though, that’s silly.  So I powered down about four or five three-inch lines of brown powder and took my seat.  Well, for the next hour of the flight, and the entire flight to Amsterdam from Frankfurt, I looked like a white clammy ghost.  I have never been airsick before, but I was holding onto that barf bag with a fucking purpose, man.  Had to ride it out.  Had to get to the biggest convergence of stoners, pot heads, Rastafarians, aging hippies, overweight couples from the Midwest on vacation with their other middle aged friends, So-Cal frat boys and backpacking British soccer hooligans.  Had to get to the Cannabis Cup.


    The first thing you’ll want to know is if I met the King.  Yeah, I met the self-proclaimed “King of Cannabis,” Arjan Roskom, founder of the Green House Coffee Shops and Seed Company, and winner of 30 Cannabis Cup awards.  Who didn’t meet that jackass that week?  I had never met a bona-fide weed politician  before (actually that is not accurate, I did meet Tommy Chong circa 2003), and the word that kept repeating in my mind was “tool.”  Over and over.  There were probably thousands of 19 year-old college kids that came to the Cup and handed over their 200 Euros (300$) for a High Times approved Cannabis Cup Judges Pass intending on smoking a bunch of Holland’s finest free of charge.  This is a myth.  Sure, at the actual convention you can sample the wares of many seed banks and bong companies, usually with a scowl unless you intend to buy something.  And you get a discount at most “participating” coffee shops (that’s a weed café to the uninitiated), but really if you go to smoke for FREE, you will be disappointed.

 



    That said, from the minute I got in line to get my pass, just two hours off the plane, I was being handed free joints of The Greenhouse’s Entry, Arjan’s Super Haze #1.  Wasn’t the best weed that week, not by far.  It wasn’t even the best weed I smoked that hour, but it was free, and it seemed to be given out at every possible moment that week.  So, guess who won the cup for like, the 15th year in a row?  That’s right, the King of Cannabis.  King of Self-Promotion and Propaganda.  Sign my boobs, jack-ass.  If all this doesn’t convince you of Arjan’s being the true heir to this mythical Cannabis Throne, come by my house and check out the bobble head of the dude that was given to every registered Judge by one of his ever-present henchmen.

 


    I feel I should tell anyone who is considering going to this craziness what exactly they are going to get for their 200 Euros Judge’s Pass.  The answer is NOT MUCH.  Of course you can’t do it right without it, and what’s the point of doing anything, much less the FUCKING CANNABIS CUP, unless you are going to do it right?  Spare no expense.  That’s my advice.  Or go with someone who can afford to spare no expense.


    My partner and I went to Amsterdam with a box of 60 Swisher Sweet Perfecto Blunts.  We came home with six of them.  That means we smoked an average of nine blunts a day.  Add to this about 10 joints of pure weed or weed with hash, bowls in the pipe we bought for the weed (to test taste) too numerous to count, bowls in the coffee shops’ glassware and vaporizers, endless free bong hits and vaporizer bags at the actual convention center, of course the hash, and finally, the space cakes and brownies that were consumed.  I found that by about 8 PM I was so high for so long by that point in the day that I was having to eat the weed in order to feel any more high.  The best thing was coming back to the little hotel room we had right on the main drag of the Red Light District at the end of a long 15 hours of walking, museums and reefer.  We’d just go through our combined 25 pockets and come up with all these little baggies of these different strains and hashes, basically all the little bowls that we had left at the bottom of the bags we’d purchased that day.  And we’d just smoke what we had left in a blend, followed by watching something along the lines of Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector or How High.  Bringing the portable dvd player that miraculously plugged into the tiny euro TV in our tenement room (Thank you Jesus) was probably the smartest thing we did.  Euro MTV is good for about 30 minutes a day, then it starts to grate.  And it’s in Dutch.

 


    I suppose I should mention the sex industry, since I was staying in the belly of the proverbial beast, The (Historical) Redlight District.  What’s awesome is that it is historical.  It has been there as long as anything else has in that old ass city.  There are all these beautiful old Dutch buildings, but it is still like taking a stroll through the Tenderloin or something.  Walking along it is sometimes disconcerting when the ladies try to lure you in their doorways.  Especially when you are super high.  Watching the drunk Europeans trying to negotiate price with these ladies was amusing, however.  They don’t take shit from drunks, that’s for sure.  The whole thing is quite a rip off when you find out that prices start at 50 Euros (70 bucks) for a hand job!  Or you could save your money and pay about 35 Euros for a sex show where you get to see people with expressionless faces fuck one another, or a girl pulling a long string of anal beads from her ass with only a black light to light the ultraviolet butt orbs.  And you can see a Japanese tourist (they go to the Red Light District and sex shows as part of daily walking tours) get pulled up on stage and humiliated.  And you can stay in the theater after all six shows have been featured and see them all again, if you so desire.  I can almost bet you money that you won’t want to stay for an encore.  My guidebook did mention a certain “Negro quarter” of the District where unscrupulous African European prostitutes will cut you a “deal.”  I get the feeling a robbery might be part of the deal.  Or VD.


    Open, publicly legal prostitution was an eye opening experience for someone from the oppressive Deep South.  Even more exciting for me was the publicly legal trade and consumption of weed.  There are so many coffee shops in Amsterdam that you can drive yourself crazy trying to visit even half of them.  Here’s a damn list of the ones my partner and I frequented: The Dolphins, The Bushdoctor, Green House, Amnesia, Betty Boop, The Greenhouse Effect, The Bulldog, Stones Café, The Jolly Joker, The Bass-ment, Blue Bird, Coffeshop 36 and Central Coffee Shops.  Our favorite by far was the Smoking Bull.  They had the best selection, most knowledgeable wait staff and most laid back ambiance.  And they had that Red Bull in a bottle.  

 

 


 

     Here’s a list of a few memorable weeds we smoked: White Widow, Jack Herrer (Aeroflow), Stella Blue, NYC Diesel, Arjan’s Ultra Haze, Caramello Hash, Zero-Zero Hash, Blueberry, Honey Bee, Shiva, White Dolphin, Amnesia Haze, Royal Bud, Super Skunk, Buddha Cheese, AK-47, Bubblegum, Super Kush, Desert Haze (bio) and White Russian.   


    I thought absinthe would have been a bigger thing there, since it’s legal and all.  I actually had to search a bit to find a bar with the real deal, and different kinds at that.  I chose the strongest they had, and consumed two shots.  I am pleased to report that there is definitely something else going on there besides the 80 PERCENT (that’s 160 proof folks) alcohol.  There is something comforting about the ritual of lighting the sugar cube on the absinthe spoon and stirring the green mixture as it turns white with the water, right before you taste what flaming licorice gasoline tastes like.  I would have had more, but after the equivalent of four shots of booze in me and the equivalent of 24 bucks gone from my wallet, I went in search of more weed.


    Magic Mushrooms.  You can buy them legally.  They are fresh and kept refrigerated.  The coolest part is that you can purchase strains from all over the globe.  Just don’t dehydrate them, or they become illegal.  Mushrooms, been there, done that.  I was more interested in the ever-elusive peyote.  I had read that not only are mushrooms legal but that mescaline-containing cacti like peyote and San Pedro cacti were available for purchase.  There are “smart shops” all over Amsterdam.  


    You CAN buy a peyote cactus in Amsterdam.  Of course it takes like five years or something for the thing to grow a button, which is the psychoactive part.  The cactus is about 20 bucks and you take it home, and in three years you can trip on it.  OK, cool, so it was looking like I wasn’t going to take any peyote.  Then we did find a shop with a peyote cactus “ready to ingest.”  The price for a mature cactus was more like 300 dollars.  I also saw a few shops with San Pedro cactus ready to eat.  A piece the size of a large gourd was 450 bucks, enough for three people to trip.  The shopkeeper told us that you only eat the skin (I was wondering how you’d down that much cactus), that it makes one very sick and to be ready for a trip lasting at least 24 hours or so.  So much for my intended psychedelic excursions.  But if you really want to, you can trip on these things, or even search out a group that administers DMT grandfather Ayahuasca if you really set your mind (and pocketbook) to it.   


    In the area we stayed there were hoards of hard drug dealers (the guide pamphlet that was in our room called them “Johnny Boys”) I didn’t partake of any “illegal drugs” while in Amsterdam.   A bunch of dudes from Africa stand around at every possible corner and offer you cocaine or ecstasy all day and night.  The sex drugs, makes sense.  There were some people selling smack, mostly in the early hours of the day.  I could tell because they were the ones that looked a little bit harder at me.  The guidebook I had also warned me that whatever I might pick up on the street was most likely anything but what they were selling it as.  There were plenty of drunk Brits trying to score some tan colored rocks from a dirty palm.  Who needs third-rate narcotics when you have first fucking rate hydroponic weed grown organically and with love in the most tolerant city in the world?

 

 

    I went to the Cannabis Cup thinking I knew my weed.  I was expecting to smoke some sativa and some indica.  That is like old school, man.  Now everything is a hybrid of other things, right?  So there’s all these strains (a lot of Hazes this year, to be sure) that are like 20 percent sativa and 80 percent indica.  Or any other different combination of percentages you can think of.  They still give an award to each, and it goes to whatever the strain has most of.  One of the legendary Amsterdam growers goes by the name of Soma (I know, I know) and runs the Soma Seed Bank, which specializes in medicinal weed genetics.  Meeting this dude was a trip in itself.  It’s like whatever came out of his mouth you knew you could trust was the highest authority on the “sacred plant.”  The dude has dreads down to his feet (I shit you not) and a beard that too, is a dread (about a foot long).  And he had a gold tooth and gold chains on.  And he said called everyone “man.”  And he had a brick of bubble hash that was the size of a baby’s head.  And he “loves Texas, man.”  I think we may have found the real king of cannabis.


    Like anything run entirely by a bunch of stoners, who are in fact stoned the entire time the event is going on, the Cannabis Cup is a total train wreck most of the time.  But I took the whole voting process seriously, despite being unsure of what exactly I would be voting on throughout the entire week.  In the end, the ballot had me voting for best indica and sativa strain, but also for best overall strain, and each strain was “sponsored” by a specific smoke shop, which would end up winning best smoke shop just for having the winning strain.  We also had to vote for favorite new product and favorite convention booth.  Our favorite strain was the Stella Blue strain, which had a totally unique flavor unlike any weed I ever smoked.  It clearly came from the genetics of Blue Berry, hence the name.  It was super tight, compressed amber colored buds.  Orange, really.  Fruity.  Delicious.  Could taste it strongly even through the Swisher wrapper that my compadre required.  I also liked the Honey Bee, which tasted quite a bit like honey and looked wet with trichromes.  The bubble hashes were nice.  I’m rambling.  It’s like you have to be stoned to write an article about the Cannabis Cup, right?  Or is it that if you were high in class, and high when you did homework, and high when studying, then you have to get high before the test in order to do well, right?  This is reminding me of a flashback that reminds me of a flashback of us watching How High for the third time that week.  


   

    Flashback to the Awards Ceremony.  OK, we made it.  Somehow we had missed the Kottonmouth Kings and the Opening Night ceremonies.  We did see this dude with a giant glass bong hanging from his pierced lip eating handfuls of crickets.  He had a purple and green mohawk and the kind of piercings that you can see how many pencils you can fit in those holes, you know like stuffing hotdogs in a warm juicy snatch.  Or not.  So there we were with all the other stoners of the world, unite!  Somehow, through some fluke in the time space continuum, we managed to go to the CANNABIS CUP AWARDS CEREMONY WITH LESS THAN A JOINT’S WORTH OF WEED.  Only someone so high out of their minds could forget to bring the weed to that kind of event.  Actually we both just assumed that the other one had brought one of the 25 or so odd bags of weed laying all over our room after the week’s festivities.  So there we are.  Looking at all the people with those foot long cones that hold somewhere in the neighborhood of two ounces of weed.  And people are getting shitty drunk, and it is getting crowded and hot.  AND WE HAVE NO FUCKING WEED LEFT.  


    The Awards Ceremony.  Imagine a bunch of aging hippies giving awards to one another.  They give out the counter culture award.  The dudes that started Rainbow Gathering make it to the stage (finally) and start rambling.  On and on for half an hour.  That was just the first guy.  Save the endangered buffalo of fucking Wyoming or some shit.  They had to grab the microphone from his hands to get him to shut up.  Oh right, before that they had to bless the actual Cups.  They had some shaman or some shit wave an eagle’s feather to the north, south, east and west.  Then he beat on a drum.  Chanted a bit.  Everyone is high and talking to one another over this lame excuse for a ceremony.  Nobody gives a flying fuck about any of this except for who won the Cannabis Cup.  Well, we missed that part.  We left about an hour and a half in and they hadn’t even given away the sativa cup.  We did manage to see the award for indica go to Big Buddha Cheese.  Big Buddha is a real dude.  The goofiest looking Chinaman with a British accent in all of Holland.  I swear his eyes are crossed and he has some bucked teeth.  Nice enough chap though.  My partner bought some seeds from him, so we were allowed to try the Cheese with a nice vaporizer (the Vapzilla, which won the product vote).  That stuff really did knock me on my ass after a long day of smoking.  


    Back to the awards.  We had to leave.  We had lost our buzz, and this thing was set to go all night.  And in the end we already knew who had won.  The same ass that always gets to ham it up at the ceremony, Arjan, The King of Cannabis.  


    Do you care about the state of the art weed products as much as I do?  Why were there so many gravity bongs on display?  Can’t we just make a rule that these are a bad idea? Seriously.  I tried the Vortex, self-contained gravity bong.  You fill it and flip it and end up with a mouth full of bong water and ask.  It was horrible.  It won second place.  


    My favorite product was the clear rolling papers made by Aleda.  They came in third, I believe.


     The dreaded wrap-up.  What to fucking write, right?  Really, when it all comes down to it, all you have to do to win a Cannabis Cup is show up and smoke everyone out.  That’s what’ll instantly make fans out of any stoner you meet.  Imagine that.  Giving away free weed can sway a bunch of pothead judges voting on the best strain.  So there you have it.  It’s all a sham.  There is no man behind the curtain, and if there is, it’s the King Of Cannabis and he has 10 cases of unclaimed bobble heads of himself to get rid of.


    Do I need to mention Euro Pop Techno Trash music?  If you have to ask, then yes, I do.  Really it was “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira that kept killing my buzz everywhere we went.  That was the real fucking challenge that week, finding the coffee shop that was playing something decent on the stereo.  And then there was the fucking Bass Hunter.  A fishing show?  Not even close.  Yes, the song (“Dota”) IS about people playing an online video game with one another.  But check the beat.  And the vocoder.  The song instantly increased my buzz every time I heard it.  


    They serve Red Bull in a bottle in Amsterdam.  Fucking class if you ask me.  Even the policewoman that confiscated my last space cake as I attempted to bring it into the terminal of an international airport was nothing but pure class.  They laughed and ribbed me a bit, but it was all just such a pleasant experience.  I would regale you with why I was convinced that taking a space cake into the terminal was a good idea, but really I’d just be ranting expletives against the idiot in the United Airways uniform that told me it was OK to take thru.  Well, fuck it.  That guy was a Grade-A fucking cunt.  Maybe he was out to get me.  Maybe I need to listen to more Bass Hunter.

 
 
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