Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Michigan's Cannabis Cup

Ravenously hungry. Stopped more than a few times for food and snacks. Still feeling starved.

Watch out for the zombies! Herds shuffle along the road. They don't notice where they're stumbling.

Beware of zombies. They mumble and groan as responses. Beep the horn and see if they wave.

Most people were actually cool, even if some of those people were basically bonified zombies by the time they could hardly make it out the door. On the loud speaker, people were feeding into the fear and loathing, warning that the cops would be out in full force. Meanwhile, on the outside, a burner with a headful of dreds hears “Is This Love” blaring from the loud speaker of the cop car, police nodding their head to the beat, seemingly not phased to see a bunch of stoners leaving the High Times Cannabis Cup.

In the FAQ for the event, there was a specific question asking if there was free weed with an admission. The answer seemed pretty straight up; sorry about your luck. There will be nothing to see here people.

Instead, I think one of the first booths in the medication area was my favorite. Herbal Solutions had a big set up with plush white leather chill spots on the inside for owner Adam and friends, surrounded by a rectangle of tables, each side of the rectangle offering up a sample to try as people stumble by. A free dab sounded pretty enticing, and the thought of being able to try a few different things, make my way around the table did not seem like that big of a challenge for a seasoned professional to try to handle.

Au contraire, mon frere. First side is no big deal, two dudes side by side. Joke, chat and toke.

By the second side, the third dab in, get ready to tap out. Walk away. Catch your breath.

Tears water the eyes. Blink them away, but they stream down the cheeks. Wipe with the hand then.

Try to stand strong. Try to look cool. Try not to cough.

What was that? Four foot of glass? Memory is hazy.

There's no holding back a big cough after trying to teach that thing a lesson. There's a light-headedness and maybe a stumble backwards. Eventually, that dreaded cough comes out in full force.

Learn a lesson. Smaller hit next time. Don't try to be a hero.

Is it really only the second side still? There's another right next to it waiting to be tried. Then there's the table next to it with a couple more samples, and the next side, with a few more, all waiting still...

Suck it up. This is just the first booth. There's a whole haze more to feel your way through.

Overhear a phone conversation. A says it's the most smoke they've ever been in, and the other questions, “I thought you said it was an outside event?” A clarifies that they are outside; it's just thick.

The old speedway looked a little different from childhood memories. Instead of attending races with grandpa, it's now filled with a maze of smoke, free dabs, food that's begging to be eaten, and amazing wonders, new stuff and things maybe only heard about before. What's that metal and glass setup?

Learn about new things first hand. Technology has soared to new heights. Get a little higher.

About the time to rest is when it's time to attend a conference. Hear tales from the War on Drugs, learn a few new growing tips, try some new cooking techniques and hear the heartbreaking stories of kids. Donate to a few causes that reminds as bad as one thinks they have it, someone is always worse off.

Afterall, even though the High Times Cannabis Cup is one of those cool events that people just love to attend, there is actual a political purpose behind the event. It's about legalizing an herbal remedy that can help a number of sick people, myself included. I would have loved to report that I skipped around the event like Alice in Wonderland, but truth be told, I was recovering from surgery and basically felt like a zombie, barely able to stumble, because I have not regained normal gait since having my surgery.

Why am I a medi patient? I jumped off the side of a mountain when I was 19-years-old, and my West Virginia cliff diving experience left doctors saying I'd never walk again. Luckily, I can walk now.

I had shattered my pelvis, compressed my spine, messed up both my knees and ankles, my shoulder and all kinds of stuff. It's been over a decade, and I'm still finding out new things, like my spine is bulging to the left, which is why I am leaning to the left more. Doctors didn't know what to do with me when I had my accident, so they gave me a slew of medications, including one that gave me kidney stones and another called Vioxx that gave me a heart attack at 24-years-old. No, I was not one of those lucky ones that received some of that $4.5 billion settlement; I did not even have health insurance.

While there's people that want to knock Obama Care, I was finally able to see a doctor for the first time in more than a decade. People with insurance take that for granted, but when you've had a major injury at a young age and things keep going wrong and you can't see a doctor for a decade, you really appreciate just being able to walk in the door of an office and don't care if you have to wait an hour. To finally know what is wrong and be able to have someone help fix it is a godsend for people like me; even when you know what's wrong but have no way to fix it, after more than ten years, finally getting any kind of medical coverage is like seeing light after being trapped in darkness.

People don't understand that it's not just bums who did not have health insurance for years in this country. Real estate agents don't get benefits like health care, artists and musicians do not automatically receive health insurance, and there's plenty of others who can work as hard as they are physically able but do not automatically receive any sort health coverage. I wrote more than 100 books, but the million dollar fairy did not fly down with money and health insurance for me.

When I did not have any insurance, my pain did not go away. It's not like my physical ailments stopped hurting since I did not have access to doctors. Instead, after having various complications with pills that doctors shoved down my throat, I turned to hippies and yogi masters, and, of course, weed.

I'd rather smoke a joint than take a pill. I'd rather eat a brownie than take a pill. Too bad if you don't like it, because I've already had bad complications with pills, and you're not going to change my mind.

That's just my story. Want me to tell you about my friend who is a six-time cancer survivor? She swears by the cannabis, it being the one thing that helped her be able to hold down food through the vicious rounds of chemo; otherwise, she would not have been able to eat or keep on enough weight.

Though the Cannabis Cup is a fun event to attend, there's this lingering darkness that flickers in the form of fliers and posters asking for help with people who have it worse than anyone there, people in wheel chairs wheeling around, those little reminders that this little weed is actually helping the sick. For some, it is a beacon of light, a hope to possibly ease some of the suffering. When throbbing pain is so bad that the heartbeat can be seen through the red inflammation, cannabis helps take the edge off.

One of my friends smashed her face against a steering wheel in a car accident. Not only did she require plastic surgery and suffer a host of other problems, but she became a medipatient. My other medical patient buddy was hit by a car exceeding 55 miles an hour while he was riding in the bicycle lane.

There's a lot of opinions about medical marijuana use, but talking to real patients can open ones eyes. Sure, there's the cultural phenomenon, the whole hippie movement, but there's also healing properties, and not to mention all the other uses for the plant matter. One thing that surprised me was that there were not more hemp merchandise vendors on site showcasing more potential uses for the plant.

Don't get me wrong. There were lots of vendors, and plenty with hemp related stuff for sale. However, I would have thought there'd have been more textile vendors with hemp bags, clothing, maybe tie dye...

Maybe I got lost at that first booth. It took quite a while to work my way around it. Though many booths had multiple dabbing stations, the first booth had both dabs and the more traditional bong rips.

Call me old fashioned, but there's something tasty about a good bong toke. I enjoy looking at the bud more than the stuff that looks like ear wax. I like to see the actual product in flower state as I smoke.

With the wax, it's easy to get really excited. Of course, when you actually talk to the vendors, only a handful can actually tell you the name of the strain they are sampling. Of the few that know what they are talking about, one readily admitted, “yea, most of this is actually CBD, with very little THC in it.”

That's good for pain. Not so much for a killer buzz. Just be mindful of little tricks like that around.

As with anything, there are tricks of the trade. When vendors are handing out free dabs all day, they might try little things like that to save money. Perfuming happens, as does the hardening of buds.

“Wow! This bud's so rock solid, it hardly breaks apart!” The texture is also a little off on the fingers.

It looks phenomenal. It smells wonderful. Something is just a little off though.

It's like elbowing the crowd aside to get an edible gummy. So excited, grasp the package, and it sloshes. Back to the refrigerator; guess these sat outside in the sun a little too long, but it'll harden.

Keep the common sense hat on to avoid being disappointed. Attend the seminars and learn some stuff. Wander to the VIP tent and get a free caricature sketched out on special High Times paper.

Waiting in line, a guy asks for a paper. Hand him one. He hands back an awesomely dank bud.

He saunters over to Danny Danko. The editor is here for free weed. Roll and pass; roll and pass.

Steady work, man. Rolling and passing out joints to anyone around in the crowd, Danny had many people eager to share space by him. Everyone was pretty laid back, all things considered, and not to worry, if the first few puffs didn't kick start the buzz, maybe the next few dozen'll kick in high gear.

Don't get so high that you forget your phone in the bathroom. Call it once you're an hour down the road, only to have some dude answer it. Stuff like that puts you behind schedule, but life happens.

The worst part about the Cannabis Cup is that it eventually must end. This year, unfortunately, the latter part of the last day basically got rained out. With tornado warnings fueling the paranoia, many packed up early and did not look back, but others seemed oblivious to the rain and soaked it all in.

By the end, regrets build up. Shoulda went to that one seminar. Didn't make it over to wherever.

For some, voting was the issue. Some had the best of intent on voting but could not find the tent. Ask around, and few can give directions; most remember seeing it, but the majority forget seeing it where.

With that in mind, my criticism would be to have an easier to find voting area. Put it up front, by the bathrooms, or have more signs pointing people to where they need to go, because too many were oblivious to where they needed to go for that. Also, invest in air conditioning, at least for the classes.

People looked dazed. For some on Saturday, it wasn't from being high, but heat exhaustion. Try paying attention at a seminar once you slime past people to take the last seat, and notice the guy on your left is passed out to the point that you have to fan and revive him with a few cooling air gushes.

My advice for an event like this is if you see something you like and might want, do not hesitate. If supplies are limited, it might not be there when you get back. This applies not only to big ticket items, but to something as simple as a peanut butter cup; when it's gone, it's gone, and you'll want to cry.

That being said, don't be afraid to shop around either. Unless it's a once-in-a-lifetime-take-it-or-leave-it, then chances are if one person has it, another may as well. For example, in trying to find a small glass piece, the first display is $60, next booth is $20, but a few booths down has the same size for $12.

The nice part about the latter part of the last day being rainy meant that people were ready to deal. They were packing up their stuff early, knowing they would not be selling as much as they had anticipated, and some vendors were offering up deals to anyone willing to brave a few drops of rain. Not even looking to make a purchase, when prices drop to more than half off, with free bonuses added in from people not wanting to carry stuff through the rain, then yeah, interest is piqued all of a sudden.

It's worth walking through the rain to find a few last minute deals. Don a rain poncho. It's all good.

From people dressed like big buds to girls wearing only body paint, there was plenty to do and see at the High Times Cannabis Cup. Though admittedly reluctant, fearing the worst, I was pleasantly surprised by the Michigan Cannabis Cup in Clio. The cops were not hauling people off to jail left and right, but jamming to reggae music; there were not violent gangs that left me in fear; I did not witness anyone get manhandled or murdered; in fact, I did not really fear at any time at all and felt safe.

Odd as that may sound to some, as I know many who were reluctant to attend. There were naysayers who had said, “it's not worth it,” but to them I can only say that you missed out. Shoulda been there.

Shoulda tried all the free dabs. Coulda hada buncha bong rips. Too bad, so sad, if you missed out.

Guess you missed all the sexy people. Guess ya didn't get to dance at the band. You sit home instead?

This was one of those things that once you attend, you can't wait to attend the next one. Mark your calendars and start counting down the days until the next one. Travel to another location for more fun.

Negril, Jamaica and Portland, OR, are the next locations. November 12-15 is a nice time to travel to the tropics of Jamaica, as it starts to get cold in places like here in Michigan. Good excuse to travel.

Central California will be going off in October. Visit for more information. For more by Marisa, visit and


  1. Damn, I've definitely gotta make it to this this year. Hopefully I can find someone who'll go with me.

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