While the origins of the US holiday of Thanksgiving are to many somewhat controversial, its modern meaning is quite the opposite: it has become America’s most beloved harvest festival -- a celebration of family, friends and feasting. And though Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated here in Holland, the spirit of the holiday is beautifully embodied and illustrated at the Cannabis Cup.

Firstly, the Cup is indeed a harvest festival, as the many marijuana growers and breeders reap their crops of delicious flowers from the plants they’re labored over with love for many months and prepare them to be entered into the contest and enjoyed by the many judges. The good, green bounty of mother earth, the healing herb that we all love, is shared and imbibed in the spirit of friendship and unity.

Which brings us to the other theme of Thanksgiving -- family. Those of us at HIGH TIMES who have been fortunate enough to have been with the company for years and traveled to the Cup many times now (this is my 18th Cup in Amsterdam) have forged relationships both personal and professional here so deep that we consider many of them like family. We look forward to returning each year to spend time with them. For those staffers, vendors and competitors who are new to the Cup, that journey is just beginning, and we hope that new friendships will blossom from the seeds being planted here this week.

On a personal note: For those who haven’t already heard the story… it was seven years ago today -- on Thanksgiving Day 2006 -- that I met the love of my life April at the Cannabis Cup expo here in Amsterdam. We even shared our first kiss on stage at the Melkweg during the awards show. It was three years later when, on a Lover’s canal cruise, we got engaged and sealed our fates with a kiss under the Amstel’s legendary Skinny Bridge. Other HT staffers, as well as many Cupgoers, have also popped the question or even tied the knot at the Cup.

In short, Amsterdam is an exciting, romantic city that has become our home away from home. Turkey or no turkey, we feel privileged to break bread (and bud) with our Dutch family each November. Happy Thanksgiving everybody -- see you at the awards tonight!