Amsterdam is an amazing city filled with bicycles, canals, and streetlights reflecting through soft rain. This is my first Cannabis Cup. I'm working on the video crew and keeping this journal for HIGH TIMES. -- David Bienenstock
5 PM -- HT VIDEO HQ
Twenty-seven coffeeshops entered this year's Cannabis Cup, along with 17 seed companies -- an all-time high (pun intended). Today each coffeeshop sent a representative to our video production facility to submit display-quality smoke for official photography. The best stash on Earth passed through this office over the past eight hours -- crystallized buds and exotic hashes that made my head spin before I even started sampling.
One by one, the acknowledged masters of cannabis cultivation arrived to explain the techniques and philosophies they employ while producing these incredible botanical specimens. It was enlightening. When the day began, I couldn't tell my hash from a hole in the ground. I've only been working at HIGH TIMES a few months, and before landing the gig, I never gave growing much thought.
I knew good pot from bad, and that was about it.
Now my clouded head is filled with words like trichome, sativa, indica, jelly hash, and so forth. Far more information than I can keep straight at the moment.
10 PM-AMNESIA COFFEEHOUSE
With so many strains competing for the crown this year, the planeloads of judges arriving tomorrow will face a nearly impossible task -- objectively smoking and distinguishing them all over the course of four days. With that in mind, HIGH TIMES editor Steve Hager introduced a new ceremony for the 15th Cannabis Cup. A council of celebrity judges was convened to pre-screen this year's entries at a private banquet of honor. Nine brave souls arrived at the Amnesia Coffeehouse charged with the daunting task of choosing three favorites from among 27 well-pedigreed contenders.
Special coded containers were used to insure a blind test by the judges. Passionate discussions about aroma, texture, and taste flowed across the table as the dedicated panel made their investigations. After the first few joints, they started asking for notepads and pens. It was a serious business, which no one took too seriously.