Quite a few folks within the medical marijuana community were unable to get past the name of the Dope Cup Medical Cannabis Awards, held April 21 at the beautiful venue Within Sodo and sponsored by Seattle's own Dope Magazine. Never mind that DOPE is an acronym for "Defending Our Patients Everywhere;" some patients feel they've fought too hard and too long to lose any ground in their eternal quest for respectability and inclusion.
I'm not bothered at all by the name, for a number of reasons, chief among them being the fact that I don't get emotional over any of the supposedly pejorative words applied to cannabis. Marijuana? That's fine, even kind of pretty--and its racist connotations are rapidly fading into the distant past. Weed, pot, ganja...you name it: As a word person, having more descriptors is, to me, a good thing, and certainly not worthy of getting upset about.
But "dope" seems a little scarier than the rest of them to a certain mindset. And it's seen as particularly threatening by folks who fall on the "straight" side of the marijuana divide--i.e., those who don't indulge. That brings me to another of the reasons "dope" doesn't bother me: It's not my function in life to keep straights (or apologist patients) from feeling uncomfortable. I'm not running for public office.
Dope Magazine Ice Cream, from Delta 9, took the Judges' Choice Award
In any event, the atmosphere was friendly and collegial, and as was mentioned by my fellow judge, Hempfest founder Vivian McPeak, having such well-run, drama-free events can only improve the reputation and standing of the cannabis community in Seattle. According to organizer Nate Johnson, Seattle city officials and law enforcement gave positive feedback regarding the event.
One thing I liked about the Dope Cup was that two of the four Cups were awarded on the basis of lab testing. There's nothing like hard scientific numbers to overcome the perception that such contests are necessarily subjective endeavors. Highest THC and Highest CBD were awarded to the top percentage in each category.
Raskal's OG from Fweedom Collective, a strain specifically bred for elevated levels of anti-inflammatory cannabidiol, easily took the Highest CBD award. Raskal's level of about 8 percent CBD far outstripped any of its competitors, all of which were well under 1 percent, with most hovering around 0.2 or 0.3 percent.
White Dawg, also from Fweedom Collective and weighing in at just over 20 percent, took the Highest THC award. Its tasty, frosted flowers delivered a quick wallop with the very first toke, and each additional puff underlined that first impression.
In contrast to the two lab test-based awards, the other two Cups, the People's Choice and the Judges' Choice, were based on votes. All the people attending the event (of roughly 200 total) who bought a judges' pass got to vote in the People's Choice, and the most popular strain of the night was Blueberry Cheesecake from Conscious Care Cooperative, which understandably stood out among the crowd of 10 strains with its unique flavor and quick onset (although it also had a quicker fade).
The Judges' Choice came from the three "celebrity judges": McPeak, Dope art director Brandon Palma, and myself. We agreed that Ice Cream, from the collective Delta 9, was our favorite strain of the night, both for its spectacular high and its agreeably sweet taste.