Cannabis Cup not coming to Portland in 2015

Update: After High Times had difficulty finding a venue for a 2015 Cannabis Cup event in the Portland metro area, organizers pulled their application. The magazine is still considering an Oregon location for the 2016 Cannabis Cup.

The Portland metro area could still see a cannabis event in 2015, however. City councilors overturned a decision to deny Hempstalk a permit. That event could happen in October, when recreational sales are legalized. 

High Times posted the following statement on its website

As of 5 p.m. PST on August 31, HIGH TIMES withdrew its Temporary Event Application to hold its 2015 Oregon Cannabis Cup in the City of Milwaukie, Oregon. 

"Bringing the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup to Oregon has proven to be a Herculean task— in fact, it's been the most difficult of all of our Cannabis Cups to get off the ground," HIGH TIMES Event Director Amanda Younger explained. 

HIGH TIMES commenced work on its inaugural Portland-area Cannabis Cup in early 2015. While Oregonians were elated to have such an event close to home, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) made it effectively impossible to bring the Cannabis Cup to Portland.

"A small HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup draws upwards of 5000 attendees," Younger said, "and Portland-area venues that can accommodate such volume inevitably have liquor licenses. The OLCC made extremely clear that holding a Cannabis Cup at a venue with a liquor license would put that liquor license in jeopardy of being revoked, regardless of whether or not liquor would be served at the Cannabis Cup."

After exhausting every viable Portland option, HIGH TIMES turned its attention to the City of Milwaukie and began negotiations with city officials in July to secure a Temporary Event Permit for the Cannabis Cup in early Fall 2015.

"We jumped through hoops of fire, answered every question posited, responded to every critique lodged, made every refinement requested in connection with the Milwaukie application," Younger said. "In one instance the city asked us to change anticipated attendance from 5000 to 7000 and then cited the change it requested as a concern for granting the permit." 

In her withdrawal email to the City of Milwaukie, Younger wrote, "It has become clear to us that regardless of the amount of time we spend going back and forth on this application, the City of Milwaukie will never grant it." 

A single Cannabis Cup is known to bring hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars into a community. 

"We received a fantastic write-up regarding the boon an area experiences when a HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup comes to town. It's a shame that Milwaukie residents will not be the economic beneficiaries of a Cannabis Cup," Younger stated.

Younger does note that there's a proverbial silver lining: "Through this process, we've met amazing professionals who worked with us to the very end. We could not have made the headway we did without the wise counsel of lawyers Ross Day and Leland Berger, and the tireless energy and effort of Sid Gupta and Nick Desai of Pistil Point Cannabis."

Immediately upon withdrawing its application from the City of Milwaukie, HIGH TIMES began its search for a venue for the Oregon Cannabis Cup, to be held in Spring 2016.

Earlier Report:

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland will host a massive marijuana event the same month that the drug becomes legal in Oregon.

The Cannabis Cup is coming to Portland in July 2015, High Times confirms.

High Times, which currently produces six Cannabis Cups in locations where marijuana is legal or has legal medical programs, will add Oregon as its seventh destination next year.

We talked with Dan Skye, the Editor in Chief of High Times, about what Oregonians can expect from the event next year.

Skye, who was on his way to the 27th annual Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, said the Portland event will be something of a marijuana trade show, bringing together vendors who work in the marijuana industry.

"It's a chance for the public to see all these new businesses and check out some of the cannabis merchandise," he said.

Since marijuana will be legal, vendors will be able to offer free samples of products including edibles.

But Skye was quick to point out that the Portland Cannabis Cup will be a ticketed event open to people 21 and older, which differs from other marijuana-centric events like Hempstalk that are open to people of all ages.

Hempstalk denied permit for 2015 event at Waterfront Park

"IDs are checked, you have to be 21. We follow the rules rigorously. We are very up-front about what we are doing here," he said. "The fact is, it is legal. Everybody should get used to that. If you look at the evidence in Colorado there is no damage to the so-called social fabric."

The event will also feature educational seminars and national music acts – past Cannabis Cups have included performances by Cypress Hill and Ice Cube, and Skye hopes to add big-name musicians to the Portland bill.

The Denver event, which is held on April 20 (an unofficial marijuana holiday), attracted around 40,000 people and 500 vendors.

While Skye doesn't think the Portland event will draw as many people, it's still expected be a huge event for the city.

For Skye, the main purpose of the Cannabis Cup is to help remove the stigma around marijuana.

"It mainstreams cannabis, makes people see there are viable businesses cropping up around cannabis," he said.

And he's elated that pot has been legalized in the state.

"We're really thrilled that Portland turned the page on this," he said. "It makes economic sense, it makes social sense."

A location for the 2015 Portland Cannabis Cup has not yet been chosen.


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