When the Covid-19 outbreak shut down all but essential business activities last spring, event planners in all industries had to adapt to a world without in-person gatherings for the foreseeable future. Many conferences and conventions had to be canceled, while some events were able to adjust and remain relevant in a virtual environment.
The cannabis industry felt the effects of the pandemic like any other, and one of the first events to be modified was the High Times Hemp Cup. Originally planned as a large festival-type affair to be held in Austin, Texas last March, organizers instead had to scrap the public event and announce the competition’s winners in an online awards show.
For its signature series of High Times Cannabis Cup competitions, the company long known for its iconic namesake magazine documenting marijuana culture added a new element that brought the community directly into the mix again. With its People’s Choice Series of events, launched in Colorado in June, consumers in markets with legal cannabis are sampling the competition entries and selecting the winners. Even without the ability to gather in public, the new concept has been a success, says Mark Kazinec, the director of competitions and events for High Times.
“People have been thrilled that we can continue doing these competitions even in a pandemic,” Kazinec writes in an email. “For those who applied to be a judge in the past and never got in, this is now the opportunity to judge and help crown the winners in their state. Everyone misses the in-person events where we can all smoke together in peace, but this has been a very well-received pivot in today’s crazy world.”
Anyone Can Be A High Times Cannabis Cup Judge
Before the pandemic, serving as a judge for the High Times Cannabis Cup events was reserved for friends of the brand or pot-friendly celebrities, a group that has included the likes of Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, and Cheech and Chong over the years. Now, however, anyone of legal age can buy a judge’s kit containing samples of marijuana products in one of several categories from a licensed dispensary.
Published: February 11, 2021
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News