L.A.’s First Annual Medical Cannabis Cup Takes Place Downtown


Close to 3,000 card-carrying cannabis users converged on the Los Angeles Center Studios in downtown last weekend for the first annual Medical Cannabis Cup. Sponsored by High Times magazine, it was one of a series of THC-laced trade shows that travel to major U.S. markets, brand extensions of the eponymous event that has been happening every year in Amsterdam since 1987.

The event was split into three different areas. An auditorium hosted panel discussions that tackled topics such as cultivation techniques and patient rights and strategies. About one-third of an outdoor space was devoted to merchandise booths hawking items such as Kind Stack, sort of like Tupperware for your weed, and Dime Bags, eco-friendly duffels, backpacks, and purses made from organic hemp and cotton.

The larger area was devoted to medicating the afflicted masses. Behind a security fence, licensed medical marijuana dispensaries provided samples of their goods. This where the cannabis cup runneth over, with the vast majority of attendees making a beeline for the grown-up version of Willy Wonka’s edible garden.

Unfortunately I was double 86’d (172’d?) from the medication area. I don’t possess the requisite prescription for medical cannabis and there was a strict “no media allowed” rule when it came to the smoking section. There would be no whiff of Double Bubba Blackberry Cush for me, no bite of a Ganja Goodies Galaxy Bar, and no crumb from a piece of Pineapple Fall Down Cake. Since it was an outdoor event, I couldn’t even hope for a contact high. I felt like Rudolph—if all the other reindeer had gone to Coachella. 

Instead, I sat in on the “Patients Panel” that was happening in the large, dimly-lit lecture hall. In front of about 90 listeners, four doctors discussed the various therapeutic uses of cannabis. At one point, Dr. Christine Paoletti of Santa Monica described her average medical marijuana patient as a 36-year old male who suffers from insomnia and anxiety. Looking around, the age seemed accurate and the crowd was mostly guys, but I didn’t witness much anxiety or sleeplessness. In fact, two seats away from me one cannabis enthusiasts was sound asleep. This stuff really works. 

At the end of the weekend, “Sonoma Coma” was crowned Best Sativa, “Doc’s Cut” took home the award for Best Indica, and “Master Yoda” narrowly squeaked by “Starberry Cough” for the title of Best Hybrid. Adele didn’t win one thing.


Related Content