Each November, thousands of marijuana enthusiasts descend on the city of Negril, Jamaica to attend the blazed up High Times Cannabis Cup! The one of a kind festival was founded in 1987 by Steven Hager, an American writer, activist and a strong activist for the cause of legalization of marijuana. He first introduced and conceptualized the event as means of promoting cultural harvesting marijuana and the use of cannabis as well. With Amsterdam being so open about drug use, it was no surprise that Jamaica was chosen as the city for this unique festival. Credits: Emily Cegielski Credits: Emily Cegielski Back in 1988, Hager took on the role of Editor at the High Times magazine, a name that is synonymous with the Cup for obvious reasons. Hager was very vocal and active for the movement. His efforts used to be very straightforward and visible, so anyone who possessed the same wavelength could join him and discuss ideas for better advancement of laws and use. Later on, when the cup reached the 6th year of its functioning, Hager started to introduce a spiritual element into the festivities. Each day at the festival at exactly 4:20, people gather around the stage for an open mic session. Here, people are encouraged to come together and exchange ideas. People over the years have started expressing about how the use of marijuana has helped them in getting closer to God. In a way, the event is about reaching a higher level (no pun intended) and embracing the feelings you experience and sharing it with your fellow mates. Credits: Joe Schaefer Credits: Emily Cegielski In recent years the festival expanded internationally to the United States, first in the form of the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup, and then as the High Times Cannabis Cup. The first event took place in San Francisco in 2010, and Cups now take place in Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, Portland and beyond. Once you are in possession of a Cannabis Cup pass, you get entry to the festival along with many other benefits. You will be able to get involved in seminars, ceremonies and a free shuttle service from your hotel to all the Cannabis Cup related events taking place in and around. You also get a gift bag, free goodies, a special Cannabis Cup T-shirt and program guide outlining the schedule of events. Credits: Emily Cegielski Credits: Emily Cegielski The core event at the Cup is the expo, which resembles a business expo but for marijuana lovers and enthusiasts. You’ll be treated to various booths by individual owners showcasing smoking tools, cultivation seminars, food stalls and also live music performance. It comes as no surprise that reggae music is the most popular form of music at the event. If you are lucky, you might even bump into a famous celebrity weed-smoker like Snoop Dogg, who has attended the festival in recent years. Credits: Joe Schaefer Credits: Emily Cegielski When at the Cannabis Cup, you will be treated to a lot of varieties of authentic herbs. These herbs are grown in Jamaica and it goes without saying that, that would be some of the best stuff you’ll ever smoke. Talk to people, make friends, indluge in some new things, listen to some classic reggae and just chill out! Cup attendees will also get to vote to select the People’s Choice Cannabis Cup winner. It’s a special privilege! For once, you can not worry about authorities and smoke some ganja looking over serene waters!