A Brief History of the Cannabis Cup

Posted: 07/31/2009 | By: 420tour | Under: Uncategorized | 0 Comments

HIGH TIMES Editor-in-Chief Steven Hager first went to the Netherlands in 1987 to write an article on Nevil, founder of The Seed Bank, Holland’s first cannabis-seed company. While working on the story, he met some Americans who told him about the great harvest festivals held in California in the 1970s. “Why not hold a similar harvest festival in Amsterdam?” he thought. “Then we could help establish an international standard for cannabis seeds.” The following year it became a reality. In January, Dr. Indoors, Jiffy Schnack and Hager flew over as the only three judges. The competition was restricted to seed companies, and four entered: Cultivators’ Choice, S.S.S.C., Sensi Seed Club and The Seed Bank.
The 2nd Cannabis Cup had the same four seed companies, but more samples (19 total) and six judges, including Ed Rosenthal, Flick Ford, Patty Collins, John of C.J. Enterprises and Steve, a West Coast connoisseur. An awards dinner was held at the Yum-Yum restaurant in Rotterdam, and The Seed Bank swept all five categories.
The 3rd Cannabis Cup was held just four weeks before The Seed Bank was shut down, forced out of business by Operation Green Merchant. The judges that year included Thom Harris, Paul Mavrides, Gilbert Shelton, Jasper Grootveld and Kees Hoekert. The Seed Bank won in all categories.
The 4th Cup marked a departure from the seed-company competition. Instead, the Cup became a “coffeeshop crawl.” The Blue Bird, Free City, La Tertullia and The Hustler all submitted varieties. The judges included Lou Stathis, Simon Vinkenoog, Rodger Belknap and Pope Weasel.
The 5th Cup mixed both coffeeshops and seed companies. The Seed Bank had been incorporated into the Sensi Seed Club, resulting in the Sensi Seed Bank. Other entries came from Homegrown Fantasy, Blue Bird, Holland Vijaya Seeds and the Dutch Hemp Association. Judges included Steve Bloom, Elvy Musikka, Dave Abruzzese, Eric Johnson, Dr. Eric Fromberg, the Dutch band Gotcha!, Edgar Summertyme and Neil Reeves. The awards dinner was held at the Garden Cafe.
After five years of running the Cup on a shoestring budget with a handful of invited guests, big changes were planned for 1993. In the past, ordinary trophies had been handed out. This time, Robin David “The Hammer” Ludwig was commissioned to create an original design. The master was hand-crafted out of pure silver and 10 replicas were created to hand out to the winners. Most importantly, the event was opened to the public through a brief announcement made in HIGH TIMES. Fifty people responded and flew over to Amsterdam during Thanksgiving to take part in the historic event, which was being coordinated with the help of the newly established Cannabis in Amsterdam (CIA). The celebrity judges included Gatewood Galbraith, Jack Herer, Paul Krassner, Sebastian Bach and Chip Z’Nuff. Three seed companies entered: Dutch Passion, NHV, Nirvana and Sensi Seed Bank. Fifteen coffeeshops from Amsterdam and seven from outside Amsterdam also officially entered the competition.
On the Bus painting: Sweetbryar Ludwig
A record-setting 700 judges showed for the 7th Cup. The event included a Hemp Expo at the Pax Party House and opening ceremonies at the Melkweg, traditions that continue today. For the first time the Sensi Seed Bank operated a tour to Cannabis Castle, where Nevil originally bred many of his award-winning strains.Three seed companies entered: Sensi Seed Bank, Cerebral Seeds and Positronics. A separate competition was held for the 15 coffeeshops in Amsterdam that entered. The celebrity judges included Zero Boy, Soma, Dave Zintel, Chris Conrad, Jack Herer and Chip and Donny from Enuff Z’Nuff.
Arjan of the Green House swept four Cups, including best coffeeshop, best bio weed, best hydro weed and best hash. Sensi Seed Bank won both best seed company and the Cannabis Cup, which was given to their newly created “Jack Herer” strain, an unstable hybrid of Haze, Northern Lights #5 and Skunk #1. De Boot in Hoorn won best coffeeshop outside Amsterdam and Positronics won best Expo booth.
The 7th Cup became a worldwide media event: An hour-long documentary was shown on Tokyo TV, and a lengthy article appeared in The New York Times Magazine, complete with a flowering “sea-of-green” clone on the cover.
The 8th Cup attracted 1,500 judges, 21 coffeeshops, two entries from US growers, one entry from Canada, one entry from Switzerland, and five seed companies (Sensi Seed Bank, Serious Seeds, Dutch Passion, Sagarmatha Seeds and Seeds of Courage). Morley Safer from 60 Minutes covered the event, along with more than 50 other reporters and media representatives from around the globe. The celebrity judges included Stephen and Ina May Gaskin, Alex and Allyson Grey, Ed Rosenthal and Chef RA. The first-ever Cannabis Cup wedding was performed during the opening ceremonies, which were directed by Garrick Beck.
Arjan of the Green House led the winners by taking the Cannabis Cup, Coffeeshop Cup, Bio Cup and Hydro Cup. Sensi Seed Bank won the Seed Company Cup; Blue Bird won the Hash Cup; the Ohio Hempery won both the Hemp Product Cup and Hemp Fashion Cup; and Eagle Bill’s Vaporizer won the Expo Booth Cup.
The 9th Cup was hampered by new limitations on cannabis imposed under the plans to unify Europe’s currencies. The Cannabis Castle Tour was canceled and the official strains were not put on display in the Judges’ Lounge. However, the appearance of many Native American celebrities, including John Trudell, former chairman of the American Indian Movement, helped create one of the most exciting Cups ever. De Dampkring pulled off a major upset, capturing four Cups including the Cannabis Cup. Sensi Seed Bank continued their Seed Company Cup streak, and Green Prisoners Release won best Expo Booth. The Ohio Hempery won for Hemp Product and Hemp Fashion. Green House took the Hydro Cup and Nederhash Cup. Celebrity judges included Dennis Peron, Mel Frank, John Trudell, Mila, Felipe Chavez and Eagle Bill.

Past Cannabis Cup winners~
Skunk #1 from Cultivators’ Choice (1988)
Early Pearl/Skunk #1 x Northern Lights #5/ Haze from The Seed Bank (1989)
Northern Lights #5 from The Seed Bank (1990)
Skunk from Free City (1991)
Haze/Skunk #1 from Homegrown Fantasy (1992)
Haze/Northern Lights #5 from Sensi Seed Bank (1993)
Jack Herer from Sensi Seed Bank (1994)
White Widow from Green House (1995)
White Russian from De Dampkring (1996)

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