For almost four decades, the High Times Cannabis Cup has been the world’s preeminent marijuana festival, drawing aficionados from across the globe to celebrate the plant and its culture with concerts, exhibits and awards. In March of 2017, the Cup will finally come to the convention capital of Las Vegas.
Well, not precisely to Las Vegas—actually, it’s the Moapa Event Grounds in the Valley of Fire, about 30 minutes north of town. “This isn’t just a trade show. It’s information, it’s inspiration and it’s entertainment. That’s what we’re hoping to bring to all of our cups,” says Mary McEvoy, Chief Events Officer of High Times. “It’s a live and legal cannabis experience.” (Nevada legalized recreational marijuana when it passed Question 2 this November, but the law is not in effect yet.)
While the actual event may not be in Las Vegas proper, Sin City will serve as home base. “All the attendees will stay in town, eat in town and have fun in town. We expect this to be a destination event for a lot of people,” McEvoy says, noting that there will be “a major shuttle bus situation” for those who want to party and partake without problems.
“We believe Las Vegas is a natural place for it. It’s a place people go to enjoy themselves and have fun and kind of get away from the world,” says Matt Stang, Chief Revenue Officer of High Times, adding that, “a lot of Vegas is built around booze and nightclubs and this is a different aspect that still gives people a great time.”
Performers and guest judges have yet to be announced, but those will only be part of the experience. “We’re bringing in activation sites,” explains McEvoy, “For example, we have an edible tent—we have chefs and they’re using the cannabis oils, they cook and have competitions kind of like Iron Chef. And they talk to people about how you do this.” She adds that growers, hash-makers and other companies will be on hand not just showing what they have, but how it is made and used.
The Vegas Cannabis cup is only one of 11 Cup events planned for 2017, but it promises to be a major one. “I think Vegas is going to be one of the centerpieces of legal cannabis moving forward,” says Stang, “We want to make this a really big special event.”
High Times U.S. Cannabis Cup Las Vegas
Moapa Event Grounds, March 4-5, 2017. cannabiscup.com
Tickets on sale November 25.