The world was very different when I went to my first High Times NorCal Cannabis Cup.
Barack Obama was president.
Angelina and Brad were still together.
And recreational cannabis was not yet legal in our state.
In the parking lot of San Francisco’s aging Cow Palace, I felt like Homer Simpson at a candy convention, seeking out my own gummy Venus de Milo.
That was 2016, and a medical-cannabis recommendation was required for entry. Since the passage of Proposition 64, though, many people assume this year’s cup, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, would follow recreational guidelines, opening up the event to the countless number of potheads who never got around to getting their card.
High Times promised as much for its SoCal expo in April — only to announce, at the last minute, that recommendations were indeed required to access the consumption area.
Right now, the NorCal event is advertised on the official website as a “Medical Cup,” but the info listed there is vague. It states that anyone 18 or older can get in, but only people with medical cards have access to a “designated smoking area,” something required by the county’s anti-smoking laws. But do the same rules apply to sampling edibles or topicals?
If that’s the case, ticket holders will still have plenty to do. The “Legalization Celebration Pavilion” seems like a cool educational experience, and 311 is playing live. What stoner doesn’t like 311?
Well, I don’t. But I’m still pretty stoked for this weekend. And with one Cannabis Cup under my belt, I’m obviously an expert, so heed my advice: bring cash and a tote bag. Time out your edible intake, even if it means passing up on samples (and it will). Try to buy products that you can’t find locally, unless the deals are really good.
And dab like you’ve never dabbed before — something I hope to do again this weekend. Fingers crossed they give me a press pass.
High Times Norcal Cannabis Cup is Friday and Saturday, June 3-4, $50-420, Sonoma County Fairground, 1350 Bennett Valley Rd, Santa Rosa, CannabisCup.com.