Story & photos by
Dan Skye and Danny Danko

On the first night of the Hidden Jungle Hideaway Cup in June, 300 judges lined up to board the “Buzzboat” for a stoned cruise on Lake Ontario. Over the next two days, they’d be blazing up seven of Ontario’s best strains in order to determine a champion. But there was a delay: Security guards were conducting searches for illegal substances. Anxiety swept the crowd. Here they were, all set to get baked on the lake, with nothing to burn on board. What the fuck was going on?

Actually, nothing more than an elaborate charade. After each judge passed through the security checkpoint, they were greeted at the gangplank and handed a bag of judging samples by Ron Hill, the Cup organizer. Apparently, the ship’s owners were required to perform the perfunctory searches at the dock to satisfy insurance stipulations. But once the Buzzboat hit the high seas, the crew blithely turned a blind eye to any illicit activity. Well, not entirely: The wheelhouse of the boat seemed to create a vacuum for the burning buds, causing the captain to complain that his navigational skills were becoming impaired. The crew directed the judges to kindly sample their buds elsewhere on deck.

This was the second edition of the HJH Cup. Hill, owner of Iron Seed Sales and proprietor of the Hidden Jungle, a local seed outlet and headshop, premiered the first Cup just last October; that event was attended by 130 judges. This time Hill was thinking bigger: more judges, more merriment and one very important beneficiary—the Toronto Compassion Centre, which has served as a medical-marijuana provider since 1997. Hill explains: “In order for the marijuana industry to succeed, we have to be able to make money responsibly, have fun responsibly and show that our hearts are in the right place.”