Smoke on the Water: 25th Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam


This is going to be tricky and controversial, but let’s face the truth: 23% of the 8 million tourists that visit Amsterdam every year go to a Coffee Shop during their stay.

For those of you that don’t know what a Coffee Shop is, here’s the Wikipedia definition: “Coffeeshops (or cannabis coffee shop) are establishments in the Netherlands where the sale of cannabis for personal consumption by the public is tolerated by the local authorities

To celebrate this libertine attitude against soft drugs, each year the New York based magazine “High Times” organizes the “High Times Cannabis Cup” – also known as the “Cannabis Cup” – which is held in November in Amsterdam.

This year the 25th edition of the Cannabis Cup will be celebrated from the 18th til the 22nd of November. A lot of you, I guess, are about to ask: “OK, but what exactly is the Cannabis Cup? How does it work?” so, let’s have a closer look at this unique competition and let’s understand how it works!

The Cannabis Cup consists of 4 days of events that are held all over Amsterdam: ceremonies, concerts and seminars. Some of these events are held in the city center but the main venue for the Cannabis Cup is the Expo. Last year the Expo was located in RAI, whereas this year, probably, it will be located in the Melkweg (please check the official website for updates).

The main goal of this event is to allow judges from around the world to sample and vote for their favorite marijuana varieties. Every Coffee Shop in town has its own variety (or more than one) and it is possible to ‘taste’ them and to judge them. To do that you need a “Judge Pass” that can be purchased for 250 euros. This pass will entitle you to have access to all the events, to the Expo and the authority to judge your favorite variety. Be aware that the pass doesn’t allow you to have “free samples” because this is not permitted by the “Opium Law” since giving soft drugs for free it’s seen as “advertisement” and this is not allowed! Of course, to purchase a Judge Pass and to enter a Coffee Shop you must be 18 years old!

At the end of the 4 days all the votes are collected and during the final ceremony the “winners” for each category (Overall Cannabis Cup, Indica Cup and Sativa Cup) get their prize.

This is just crazy, isn’t it? But this craziness is part of the controversial soul of Amsterdam: on one side a romantic city lying between the canals, a nice destination for many couples or families looking for a nice and relaxed holiday and, on the other side, a venue for some of the most amazing, controversial and unique festivals and events that you can find all around the world!

Since most of the events are held in the city center, if you are heading to Amsterdam to judge or just to taste, we recommend you to find your hotel in the city center, close to Central Station or to Leidseplein.

If you’re going this year, why not leave us a comment after the event to let us know how it went? Which was your favorite variety?

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About Gigi

Hi everyone! My name is Luigi but all my friends call me Gigi. I'm from Italy, more precisely from Naples, one of the most beautiful cities in the world! I moved to Amsterdam more than 2 years ago after I’ve travelled most tourist destinations for fun.

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