Medical Marijuana Industry Falls Short at Cannabis Cup

If you had the opportunity to visit the High Times Cannabis Cup this last weekend, you saw a wide variety of businesses that are participating in the marijuana movement; not just from Denver, but from around the country. The volume of people standing in lines on Saturday was a testament to how many are eager to see marijuana culture up close.

If you are legal Colorado medical marijuana patient, you had the opportunity to visit a restricted area where Colorado medical marijuana centers and vendors of infused products had booths to represent their young businesses.

While I am sure there were many who enjoyed their visit to this room, I had the awful feeling that it wasn’t a very good reflection of what a legitimate and professional industry should look like or sound like (there were at least three competing PA systems).

As I was staffing Denver Relief’s booth offering those interested information about our center, the ability to touch and smell our Bio-Diesel and Dopium flowers as well as our water extracted and-critical extracts, I had the opportunity to people watch. While I can respect each individual’s freedom to medicate as they please, what I saw was neither safe (considering that most arrive by car), nor appropriate for businesses operating to serve a medical need.

To my knowledge, out of all the booths in the room, there were two centers not NOT handing out free samples, Denver Relief, and Colorado Alternative Medicine. Estimating there to be 25 booths meant that a patient could walk around and to take a sample from every booth. I myself witnessed a young man who appeared to be falling asleep standing up. I don’t generally cast judgement, but this may have been an an example of excessive medicating.

What’s more is that every vendor or medical marijuana center there has not yet received their license to operate from the state of Colorado. The application deadline has passed, but the applications have not been approved to our knowledge.

The Colorado Medical Marijuana Code (CMMC) which has been written and is presently under legal review explicitly forbids distribution of medicine outside of the medical marijuana center’s retail space.

Denver Relief has always erred on the conservative side of things. In this instance it may have harmed how our business was perceived in the eyes of those who attended the Cannabis Cup, but we are unwilling to risk the future of our business to cater to the opinions of others.

It is unfortunate that those businesses that are committed to respecting the guidelines for operating in this industry are given negative exposure because others are willing to break that code, and that owners present at the cup succumbed to the pressures of others around them and made what we feel is a poor choice to break the yet enforced CMMC.

Whether or not the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division will do anything about this is uncertain. It seems unlikely as thus far we have had little response in terms of real intervention in bad practices, but we can give them the benefit of the doubt as they are still putting their ducks in a row.

That isn’t the worst part though at all. To represent the industry as our peers did injures the viability of representing marijuana as a legitimate medicine and as something that should be treated with respect and welcomed into the homes of the average person.

This type of representation marginalizes marijuana culture, and keeps it in the fringes where it will remain unless we can collectively represent ourselves as responsible business owners, citizens, and care providers.

Stoner culture does not benefit our chances of legalizing this wonderful medicine and to have called it a Medical Cannabis Cup is an awful misrepresentation of an industry that should be striving to gain the respect and approval of the average citizen.

I hope those businesses that chose to violate the code that will determine their right to operate as a medical marijuana business will realize before their doors are closed that their choices not only risk their investment, but risk the future of the industry as whole.



  • Andy Betts says:

    Don’t get me wrong I love the idea of recreational use of marijuana. With Colorado poised to take the lead on this movement it was a shame to see how Colorado Patients behaved at the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup. Colorado is in the fishbowl and everyone is looking at us. If you are going to call it a Medical Cup, let’s at least try to act like we want this. It was all summed up in Lazy J’s acceptance speech…. “Let’s all get f*d up!” This is the majority of people’s attitudes that I saw all weekend and all I can say is “Let’s all grow up!”

  • troy says:

    I agree completely, that medical marijuana was misrepresented by many vendors and patients. Even after only watching video as i live in Indiana. I currently don’t have access to medical marijuana. Being in serious need of marijuana for my current and long-term illness, I cannot access it legally. I’m sick of taking narcotics and want to be able to smoke marijuana without being treated as a criminal. My point is that all of the people representing this matter in the wrong way should be ashamed. They are the ones that keep medical marijuana unavailable to the rest of this country. After reading this article I know that when i move to Colorado in early 2012, Your collective will be my provider of medicine. It just seems like you have your mind right and have a better vision of what medical marijuana should be. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

  • Arvan says:

    I feel like Cannabis Cup is more traditon than anything..Even though its the first one in Denver this event has been going on for years sponsered by the same people. I dont know I had a great time and I am pretty sure everyone else did too…Besides you…

    • sojournerC says:

      I am glad that you enjoyed yourself, and I don’t mean to take away from your experiences at the Cannabis Cup.

      All I can say is that the event feels different when you are standing on the other side of the table. All of us who work here have staked a lot on the future of medical marijuana, and we want to do what is best for the industry.

      I do not wish to stop patients from enjoying their medicine, after all that is one of the most beneficial aspects of marijuana.

  • Toni says:

    Concerning the comment that was posted earlier, I agree that the Cannabis Cup which is held outside of US is more of a tradition, however the Medical Cannabis Cup is new to Denver and I believe that other than the Denver site has only been held in San Francisco. Being a “medical cannabis cup” Denver has to adhere to the laws the state which unfortunately it seemed was not done. Yes it was a time for celebration for where we are now as a state but actions of others sometimes can have a negative effect if not done properly. Especially if government agents are there checking out our mistakes to use on us later. Do we really want to sacrifice years of progress for one night of acting like we are in Amsterdam when we know we are not. When it becomes federally legal then we can party like it is 1999.

  • Von says:

    I can’t help but think that someday a group will produce a convention and/or a competition that is deserving of the time of Colorado MMJ Patients. I completely understand the marijuana culture and all the “color” that often accompanies it, but it’s time for the industry to grow up a little and quit falling into tired stigmas. The MMJ community here in Colorado is very capable of doing that…but time will tell.

  • CannaPunch says:

    Thanks again for saying what needs to be said. After spending the better part of two days at this event I was disappointed in how the MMJ Community ignored the law and the rules by handing out medicated samples and medication with little to no regard of the possible consequences to us all – at a time in Colorado where the MMJ climate is politically unstable at best.

    It makes us appreciate all the more our connection with responsible people like you guys at Denver Relief!

  • zoe says:

    WOW…Thanks Denver Releif for throwing all MMJ businesses and patients under the bus! I named your company as my caregiver because I liked the business you ran and the good people behind it. NOW IM NOT SO SURE…

    @ Andy (an employee)- I am a grown up and an MMJ patient and do not appreciate you telling us that we are not allowed to enjoy ourselves while trying new medications.

    As for the guy falling asleep… do you know his story or condition.

    This is what is truely upsetting:
    “I hope those businesses that chose to violate the code that will determine their right to operate as a medical marijuana business will realize before their doors are closed that their choices not only risk their investment, but risk the future of the industry as whole.”

    You can not blame the other dispensaries for trying to further their business and medication. Hoping for REVENGE through CMMC is the most immature thing I see going on here.

    I had an amazing weekend and I would like to thank all the vendors for participating and also thank HIGH TIMES for putting together such a fabulous cup.

    @ Denver Releif- I am sorry you all did not enjoy yourselves but I know I did and so did EVERYONE i spoke to who attended. I’m confident the future of the MMJ industry and community will NOT be affected by a great weedend of MMJ patients and dispensaries having a good time!

    • sojournerC says:

      @Zoe – Thank you for your comment. I am uncertain how the piece throws all “MMJ businesses and patients under the bus”. I express quite clearly in the piece and in previous comments that I do not intend to take away from people’s enjoyment of the Cup.

      It is unfortunate that a piece focusing on bringing a young industry into the mainstream and how some actions can harm that professionalism has caused you to question our business. The good business we run and the people here are the same, and we have held this attitude regarding the industry since the inception of the company in 2009; that to be successful we had to conduct ourselves in an upright manner that would gain the favor of the general public.

      Nowhere do we call for the centers that did hand out medicine to be punished, but rather a caution is given. Soon, that type of practice will result in fines, or suspension of license. That’s just true. No threats were made and no one has snitched on anybody as you seem to be suggesting.

      I am expressing opinion about what would be best for the industry. I would like to hear your thoughts on how what was going on at the Cannabis Cup was beneficial for the future of legalization, or the acceptance of marijuana into the mainstream.

      Instead of criticism, give us your ideas.

      Again, I am happy people had a good time. You paid for a ticket, and why shouldn’t you have a good time. Did it say, “shame on all the patients that were there for medicating!”? No. Did it say, “people who had a good time are irresponsible!” ? No.

      What ever condition it is that you feel would cause someone to fall asleep other than excessive medicating, please let me know. I suppose narcolepsy could be to blame, but given the circumstances, it seemed unlikely.

      No judgement was cast, though you feel judged. EVERYONE did not have a good time.

      For proof, you can take a look at the other comments that aren’t from an employee.

  • barrier says:

    Smoking anything is never gonna be a legit medicine as it is one of the most harmful things you can do to your body.. We really need MMJ dispensaries to really start telling patients that quality vaporizers/edibles are the only way MMJ can be a legit medicine.

    As for the “overmedicated” insinuation, this shows a lack of knowledge of cannabis use. Simply put a user that is not staying medicated all day/night might be a little more susceptible to disorientation or loss of complete consciousness, but those who take their medicine constantly realize you can’t overmedicate as THC and other cannabinoids have a 90% saturation point very early on and using more is not going to increase the effect in the slightest however smoking anything will give you another dose of Benzene, and Carbon Monoxide which is where alot of the “drowsy,couchlock” effects people associate with cannabis come from.

    As said, I would be more concerned of selling smoking devices such as lighters/pipes in a dispensary than passing out a ton of free samples as an awards show. Likewise, you arent gonna call a strain “Dopium” that is intended as medicine if you are so upset about negative representation of the industry.

    I love Denver Relief best buds in Colorado i am just saying… lets be real.

  • Go Zoe! says:

    Why so serious, guys?

    First you had an axe to grind with full spec, now the cup? Its great you play by the rules but no one likes a tattle tale. Take solace that your doing it the right way and quit with the bitching. It’s a turnoff.

    • sojournerC says:

      FSL: The numbers they put out with THC content around 29% are simply false. The highest they have tested was our own Bio-D and we still discount it. That is not tattling, it’s just trying to give this industry some credibility and some patients some education. So many people are putting stock into these test results when they are inaccurate or misleading. This is a legitimate industry now and people should be honest about what they say.

      It’s education, not tattling….we’re not turning them in to anyone.

      High Times: This industry already has a plethora of marijuana conventions, most of which were very similar to the High Times Medical Cup. This convention was nothing new…it was tired and stale and old-school. This was the first MEDICAL convention in Colorado of this size and an opportunity was lost by High Times to put on an event that patients and advocates alike would have been proud of. Why even call it a medical cup if it’s operated just like a recreational cup? I think it should be clear that Denver Relief is in favor of recreational legalization, but we’re trying to progress this medical industry first because this is what we have been given and we don’t want to f@#k it up. Normally the people that bitch are the ones that aren’t doing anything in the movement except smoking pot and attending conventions.

  • zoe says:

    Damn…Denver Relief you guys don’t give up. You are just restating the same info. In answer to your questions I feel if you RE-READ what you wrote and then what I posted, ALL will be answered! I even quoted where you “slammed” patients and dispensaries.

    So there is no confusion on your part: I apologized to those the select few that did not enjoy themselves. I am in no way was trying to give you ideas. This was a straight criticism of the way you portray your business and what kind of people are behind it and I do NOT like it. Hence, I am voicing my opinion not by any means “bitching”.

    Also so I’m clear with what your saying… just because we are medical patients at a medical cup and not at a recreational cup we should not enjoy it?



    @ Denver Relief… smoke some of that dopium or bio-diesel and chill out!

    • sojournerC says:

      You are welcome to express your opinion here, but please don’t YELL IN TYPE.

      To be clear, we think people should enjoy their medicine as they please within the bounds of the law.

      The piece focused on what medical marijuana centers were doing.

      The patient cited as falling asleep standing was mentioned as an example of just how much medicine was being handed out.

      Patients were free to medicate with their own meds in the tent. I myself welcomed a short break from speaking with people to enjoy some medicine.

      We understand that you are passionate, but you may be overreacting slightly to what is an honest opinion.

      Nowhere did we slam anybody, to allege that we did is a gross misunderstanding of the intent of the post.

  • Reality Check 420 says:


    Understand that while HT supports MMJ, HT is a recreational pot magazine. Always has been, always will be. HT wants LEGALIZATION.

    You ask why HT throws ‘recreational cups’ but calls them ‘medical cups’? It’s purely for legality’s sake.

    HT tries to keep a medical angle on it, but it’s really not the style or model HT has. Yes, HT plays by the rules, but HT is here to remind the world of the folly of prohibition and the winds of change still to come.

    Sorry, you guys don’t like what HT did in CO. But HT is going to keep on doing it, with or without you.

  • Lisa says:

    WOW!!! My friends at Denver relief are correct! As a patient who over medicated and got tons of free samples, I saw very very little concentration on the medical aspect. The only businesses who were focused on treating specific symptoms were a few of the edible companies. Really, the cannabis cup was the last thing business owners and leaders in the movement needed. It violated tons of laws and when the documentaries are released, every single patient in Colorado will be viewed as the typical stoner who is no different from the high school kid behind the bleachers. Honestly, no matter how much fun any of us had at the event, it puts a terrible face to the mmj industry in Colorado and did nothing positive for the movement. Except maybe spread the word about sensible Colorado, safer and other legalization and patient rights groups.

    And on another note…I feel like alot of these opinions would change dramatically if their names were on business liscences and their lively hoods were at risk. You all are worried about ur jobs and investments and work u have put in and it is a shame that there are people who don’t support or understand that!

  • SecureCam says:

    We all make choices from our own free will. When I heard High Times was hosting an event for patients/customers, I knew what it would be like and did not buy a vendor table!

    Come on! What’d you expect??!! Did they have a “Ms High Times” contest too? Photos of her with buds in strategic places?

    Why are you surprised? Were you born yesterday, or never even part of the counter culture? This is what they do!

  • zoe says:

    If I am free to express my opinion please do not erase this again…
    You are acting like you said nothing wrong here…

    You wrote to me…”Did it say, “shame on all the patients that were there for medicating!”? No. Did it say, “people who had a good time are irresponsible!” ? No.”
    Your blog was about people and the industry need to grow up. I am sure that is another way of saying irresponsible without actually saying it.

    Please do not assume things…there is no yelling in type here. I just capitalize when I feel it is important!

    Comment by zoe — April 8, 2011 @ 7:10 pm- original comment date!

  • LarryCH says:

    Boy, Zoe is all butt hurt over something…seems silly to call out people who are simply requesting a little respect for an industry that actually can be respectable, but is currently NOT!

    I have been involved in the movement for quite some time and know that every section of society exists in the marijuana counter culture. From homemakers and college students to doctors and business execs, all these people smoke marijuana and all have different ideas about where this industry should be directed in its new infancy. Denver Relief simply thinks it should carry itself with a little more couth…Zoe does not, and that’s okay. Great, we have different ideas here…there is nothing wrong with that and there should never be.

    Regardless of our opinions, we are discussing this topic openly and attending public events where marijuana is the major focus…that is a great thing! What is there to get so worked up over?

    No one slammed MMJ patients, Zoe. To insinuate that is picking a fight. Learn how to get your point across with lower case letters and without accusations and people might listen to you with a reasonable ear.

  • troy says:

    I agree completely with sojournerC, this was a poor show of the medicinal value of cannabis… they were just handing out random samples… a true medical cup would have booths offering certain strains for certain ailments… they were just giving out their strongest, best tasting, or more famous blends… no matter the effect it has on you medicinally, this is just a legal way to have amsterdam in America and that is all there is to it… yes enjoy yourself because you are abusing medicine and celebrating marijuana as if it was completely legal. Some people have ailments that require an anti-anxiety strain and in fact they were given strains used for pain, or hunger… does it seem plausible for a doctor to prescribe oxycontin to an anxiety patient NO! i rest my case

  • zoe says:

    what happened to freedom of speech? if you want to post a BLOG then expect feedback. You all need to see other points of view if you want the same in return.

    this is just such a turnoff! you people are rude and need to respect opinions no matter if they are CAPITALIZED OR NOT!

  • zoe says:

    @ troy
    And we all have our licenses to smoke medical marijuana… no matter the ailment that is the cure! not even in the same category.

    apples and oranges!

  • LarryCH says:

    @zoe, I don’t know what world you live in, but respect isn’t demanded, especially on message boards. Your first response to this post was rude and accusatory…why would anyone respect that?

    And freedom of speech? I don’t think anyone has taken that away from you. We are disagreeing with you just as you disagree with us…there is no difference except people on this end are doing it without getting worked up and hostile.

    Maybe you need to smoke and chill out?

  • loyal.MMC/MMJ.supporter says:

    I think everyone should read SecureCam’s comment… finally someone gets it!
    Thank you to all who supported that this was an “overreaction” by SojournerC.

  • troy says:

    This reminds me of 3rd grade…ha wanna play heads up 7 up

  • zoe says:

    @ LARRY

    “Whether or not the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division will do anything about this is uncertain. It seems unlikely as thus far we have had little response in terms of real intervention in bad practices, but we can give them the benefit of the doubt as they are still putting their ducks in a row.”



  • zoe says:

    @ troy
    The only 3rd grade thing going on here…. is the tattle telling by Denver Relief to CMMC about violating code.

    For those who seem to be severely confused the dictionary states:

    “Tattle (verb): To reveal the plan or activities of another person. Usually refers to a report on NON- IMPORTANT events.
    Synonyms (nouns): gossip, tattler, snitch, informer, informant, tattletale, rat, talebearer, squealer, stool pigeon, telltale, sneak, grass”

  • LarryCH says:

    Ahhhh, you’re a Cali stoner….that makes this whole thing make a lot more sense. I’ve seen how you folks operate your “movement” out there…I’ll stick with trying to make Colorado respectable.

  • zoe says:

    REALLY LARRY… now thats what i call RUDE!
    Not from cali by any means. denver native my friend, just been a HUGE supporter and a terrible victim of rheumatoid arthritis.
    Marijuana becoming legal is what I have waited years for. But you make those “accusations” because it is clear now I am dealing with an ignorant person.

    and if you really must label me a “STONER” then i guess you are really tight with sojournerC cause that’s what he likes to do too.

  • troy says:

    ok so you want to complain about them being tattle tales…so your telling me you support criminal organizations? “oh its fine, i get bud from them” open your eyes and visit a couple anger management classes man

  • zoe says:

    um.. not a MAN.
    Have a nice sunday… I AM!

  • Bob says:

    I agree completely. Videos of this event will confirm and solidify the beliefs of all those who think medical cannabis is just a slick ruse for the stoners to get their drug. Some supporters will even question their support. A slick political ad campaign using these images could devastate the medical cannabis movement.

    I hope all the MMJ businesses in CO who hope to survive will with one voice tell High Times to inflict their tacky circus on another city next year, and refuse to support the event in any way. And to leave the word “medical” completely out of it.

    While I support the right of all those in attendance to live and party in whatever way they see fit, MMJ is still in a precarious position. We cannot afford to shower our enemies with such high caliber ammunition.

    Even though some of the seminars were excellent, I will never attend again.

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