1997 CANNABIS CUP REVIEW by John E. Dvorak

High Times magazine's 10th Annual Cannabis Cup was held during Thanksgiving week in Amsterdam. Over 1,500 judges visited Holland to participate in the "Super Bowl of Cannabis". Coffeeshops, seed companies, and hempsters competed against each other for recognition. Seminars dealing with medicinal marijuana, cannabis cultivation, and industrial hemp were held. Vendors at the Hemp Expo included industry stalwarts Two Star Dog, Headcase, The Hemp Corporation (formerly Sharon's Finest), Ohio Hempery, and Crucial Creations. The Ohio Hempery swept the two Hemp awards (Hemp Fashion and Hemp Product) at the Cannabis Cup for the 3rd year in a row. Other perennial winners included Sensi Seeds and the Greenhouse. De Dampkring won the overall Cannabis Cup award for the 2nd year in a row.

Sensi Seeds, operator of the Hash, Marihuana, and Hemp Museum in Amsterdam, employed the services of Eagle Bill to vaporize the Cannabis Cup judges at various venues around Amsterdam. Sensi Seeds' Alan Dronkers is doing a tremendous job breeding some of the best cannabis seeds in the world. These seeds are helping to fuel a worldwide increase in the cultivation of marijuana. Ben Dronkers, Alan's father, runs HempFlax, Holland's largest producer of industrial hemp. HempFlax contracted with over one hundred farmers to grow several thousand acres of hemp in 1997. While HempFlax is selling its hemp hurds as horse bedding, they have not found a suitable market for the long, bast fiber. Peter Gentenaar may have invented the solution for HempFlax's problem with the "Peter Beater", a machine that turns the coarse fiber into a slurry-like mixture which can be pressed into tree-free paper. A large scale replica of the Peter Beater could help HempFlax liquidate their large inventory of fiber, solidifying their future in the world of hemp.

Himalayan Hemp's hempen flag waved proudly above the Hemp Expo at the Cannabis Cup. Himalayan Hemp's Raman Chauhan impressed visitors with his knowledge of the hemp industry as well as his large selection of quality hemp products, including bags to store one's favorite glass pieces.

One of the cutest hemp products to ever hit the market is the Aware Bear, introduced at the Cannabis Cup by Electric Eden, a company based in Coney Island, New York. The Aware Bear is a nine inch tall hemp teddy bear sporting a hand made beaded macramé necklace. Dan Glass and Barry Nathanson pointed out some of the Aware Bear's selling points, including a reasonable price (under $8 wholesale), movable arms and legs, and an educational hemp-hang tag. Electric Eden's press release calling the Aware Bear the "mascot of hemp awareness" and a "gift with a purpose" are appropriate monikers.

The 1997 Cannabis Cup successfully brought together some of the world's foremost cannabis activists, hempsters, cultivator's and connoisseurs. Holland's policies towards the sale and consumption of marijuana and hashish (and the cultivation of industrial hemp) differ markedly from America's zero-tolerance laws. Holland's law enforcement officers focus on violent crime while America wastes billions of dollars a year tracking down, arresting, adjudicating, and incarcerating hundreds of thousands of otherwise law abiding citizens. Holland's farmers can take advantage of the environmental benefits of industrial hemp while American farmers continue to drench their cotton fields with tons of toxic pesticides. Demand that your elected officials reconsider America's Draconian laws in the so-called "Land of the Free"