I recently attended the Oregon Dope Cup 2016.

It was an amazing experience tempered by the reality that the public still needs time before consumption of cannabis is fully accepted. Sure, marijuana is legal in Oregon for recreational use. That doesn’t mean that all things are fine and dandy in the cannabis community though.

The OLCC has routinely made confusing and arbitrary rulings about how to control recreational cannabis sales. One such ruling was to ban all THC sales and free donations at public events. Initially, this was only to include paid for events and apply to all people. Today, even free events like the Dope Cup are banned from sharing cannabis with anyone (even adults over 21 with ID) without a MMJ card.

The Portland Dope Cup had loads of vendors, THC samples getting passed out to the medical patients, and a thoroughly Portland flair. No mention was made before the event that only medical patients could receive samples or use the dab rigs provided by vendors. This created a great deal of animosity and frustration for both the attendees and the vendors who had to deny people all night.

Oregon Dope Cup

Without samples, sales or access to equipment, non-card holders had a less than stellar time.

If Dope had communicated better before the event or the OLCC took the stick out of their asses, a whole section of the attendees wouldn’t be up in arms. Sure, recreational stoners would still be bummed but thousands of people wouldn’t have had unrealistic expectations.

I wanted to be prepared for a long line before heading into the Dope Cup itself. I had purchased a gram of 27% Raspberry Kush from the Thurman Street Collective. The small shop was right around the corner from the Dope Cup and set on an idyllic Portland street. The crew was super cool and helpful while the group I was with talked about the upcoming Cup.

I enjoyed the Wanderlust Sideshow with their roaming zombies and main stage performance. There was a contortionist, stilt-walkers, jugglers, and more. The whole band of performers engaged with the thousands of attendees. They added a safe but spooky element that was truly appreciated.

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One of the first booths I stopped at was Phantom Farms.

They had a great presentation with a pre-roll or stoner a “Starter Kit” for patients. Phantom had strains on display like Lemon Dream, Buddha’s Tooth and Tangie Dream in their stable to name only a few.

This farm is all about the organic and uses “organic pesticides, permaculture principles and volcanic filtered water” indoors and out. They took home 1st in Recreational CBD, ¬†2nd place in the Recreational Indica category with their Purple Kush.

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After I left the Phantom Farms booth, I saw the Trichome Institute booth and headed over.

As a science junkie myself, I was interested in finding out how the cannabis judging was being conducted. I was impressed by the level of certification the Trichome Institute had achieved. With text books, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s), a full sommelier program and testing services, these guys have the science angle on lockdown.

I touched in with Max Montrose, the president of Trichome Institute. His company oversaw the judging of the Dope Cup. Up to this point, the winners have been determined on THC or CBD percentage. The quality of things like trim, flavor, structure and taste can be subjective. The Trichome Institute took a scientific approach to eliminate individual bias in the judging.

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After touching in with the Trichome Institute, I headed over to the  Rich Extracts booth.

They have been responding daily to the new edicts sent out by the OLCC. Based out of Clackamas County, Rich Extracts took home a trophy for 2nd Best Shatter. Rich Extracts has been nimble enough to stay on their feet and produce an outstanding product.

Offering nice spoon pipes by Stab Hand Glass was a great move by Rich Extracts. It left Dope Cup attendees with a souvenir that will be with many for years to come. The fine workmanship of the pieces make them dependable and reliable without needing to be overly worked. The simple silver fuming was just enough.

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After leaving the Rich Extracts booth, I caught up with Jason from Dream Weaver Organics.

Jason entered three flower samples to the competition with their Skunk #1 testing at 35%THC! Dream Weaver is looking at the long term and preparing for next year while they wait for the outdoor harvest to dry up.

As the Outdoor product currently flooding the market gets bought up, the price for premium product will rise. By Christmas time, Jason expects the market will be ready for another influx of high-end flower like his. Dream Weaver didn’t win but it just goes to show how stiff the competition is. While Jason may not have won the night, with numbers like that and one of the best costumes of the night he still had a smile.

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While outside and free to puff away, I checked out the REL Vape booth.

I was drawn by the large picture of a really sweet vape line. I was able to talk with Dale about the three vapes they had on display. He told me the line was designed to give a consistent and reliable hit from a device made by a trustworthy company.

The smallest vape REL offers is a disposable pen that comes in glass, steel or ceramic designs. The middle sized vape pen is a multi-setting rechargeable base and associated cartridges. The big daddy REL had was thier Goliath mobile dab pen. I like to think of the REL line as ranging from beginner/convenience all the way to pro/performance.

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Across from the REL booth was Scomo with unique glass for sale.

The artist hawking his wares goes by the name scomo and can be found online @scomomoanet. His work stood out to me instantly as something that isn’t typical glasswork. He flashed a UV light across the table to reveal a swirling array of nebulous marble. His pipes had a fantasy castle feel that made me ask about their inspiration and materials.

Scomo has been blowing glass in Eugene Oregon for 16 years and has work displayed in many galleries and shops like Green Light District and Third Eye Support. The work he had on display was an amalgamation of colors like Star White, Blue Cheese, Red Crayon, Illuminati and more. A devout atheist, the spires of Scomo’s work were inspired by religious architecture. The swirling patterns were an element of his attempt to “understand how to lose control”.

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My next stop was the Happy Leaf booth.

After perusing the wares some more and seeing companies like Golden Extracts, Eugene OG, Walking Happy Oil (WHO), and MRX Labs, I found the Happy Leaf Crew. As I walked up, I was greeted with a smile and a challenge. If I answered a question correctly, I would win a prize.

The challenge; Name two primary cannabinoids. THC and CBD sprang to my lips and the Happy Leaf crew let me choose my prize. I went with a glass nug jar to commemorate my first Dope Cup and to match the pipe I received from the Rich Extracts booth. I was sad that none of the dispensaries like Happy Leaf were able to sell or distribute cannabis to attendees.

Marketing is a huge cost for many companies.

Getting to ofset those costs with potential sales is the general motivation for attending a trade convention or event like the Dope Cup. The OLCC made companies like Happy Leaf and Eugene OG miss out on the best chance to recover the cost of attending by banning THC sales.

Even though the dispensaries weren’t able to sell THC, they had shwag, prizes and giveaways all night long. Signing up for their e-mail list and answering a cannabis related question was a small price to pay for a nug jar. That cool thing is that these pieces of paraphernalia will represent and bring up the Dope Cup to me and those I meet whenever we use them.

In the end, the first Recreational Dope Cup was a milestone for Oregon and I am glad I was there to experience it. All of the wonderful vendors and getting to smoke in public while police patrolled without fear was exhilarating. I can’t wait to see what is to come. Thanks for reading.