Judging buds in Valencia: La 2a Copa de la Marihuana.

Jose and myself were invited as Honorary Judges for the 2nd Marihuana Cup of Valencia, which was held in La Barraca de Maria, home of the Valencia Cannabis Culture Association, the ACCV. The event was organised by the association, in collaboration with the owners of growshop Sinsemilla, Miguel and Juanjo Jimenez. These brothers are not only commercially involved in cannabis, they are experienced growers and motivated cannabis legalisation activists, who combine their business successfully with their activism.
The Jimenez brothers and Condemor paid for all our expenses including the hotel, and for all the food as well, as a form of sponsoring, thank you, guys, for being wonderful hosts!

The event was scheduled for January 17th and 24th, the first date was meant for the participants to hand in their buds, for the pre-selection, the final was to be the held on the next Saturday. We were waited for and picked up by Condemor, who took us to the hotel. After we checked in and dumped our luggage in our room, we were taken to a smoker friendly bar, to have a drink and a few joints of Valencian grass. After I have lived here for 11 months now, I can assure you that smoking cannabis is more accepted in Spain, than in ‘tolerant’Holland, where one can only smoke in coffeeshops and a number of smoker-friendly bars. In Spain I have been smoking in almost every restaurant we visited, not always discretely, might I add, but, so far, we have only been asked once to extinguish the joint we were smoking. We were often noticed, however, but the other visitors of the restaurants just were not bothered, they are used to smelling and seeing cannabis users over here. The staff of the places we enlightened with sweet smelling herbs did not even raise an eyebrow; they too are used to cannabis smokers, or are one of ‘us’.

The next day, we picked up Karulo, Goyo and Sergi, who came in from Barcelona by train. They too were Judges, this is Karulo walking up to us the moment he sees us, outside the Valencia railroad station.

These are all genuine semillas (seeds) of the Spanish Cannabis Culture, all of them have a hand in cannabis, from growshop-owner to cannabis reporter. I took this picture on our way to the restaurant that Condemor picked to treat me to a specialty I just love: Conejo al ajillo, or: Rabbit in Garlic.

Venta Cabrera, where rabbits rule.

We were joined by Paco, an expert grower, and Juanjo, Miguel’s brother, in the restaurant. Jose took out his laptop to show us the latest events in Spain. I did not take any pictures of the rabbit, sorry, I was to busy enjoying my meal…

I do have a lot of pictures of our dessert, a glass pipe with Ice, hash that is…
Karulo started his pipe, stating it would not smell at all. It smelled just fine, the waiters just pretended it did not happen, they served us coffee without a blink.

Condemor was served after Karulo drew first smoke, he just dropped tiny bits of his amber looking Ice in the bowl, a bowl for everyone…

It sure had effect, Condemor puffed, inhaled and coughed, but he did not give in, and kept on puffing. He turned all red, especially his eyes, but he took it like a sport. His comments and reaction made us laugh, maybe because Karulo gave him a big dose.

My turn, damn good smoke, made me cough too, a bit.

Sergi had a few puffs, only coughed a bit.

Jose lit another pipe, with some Honey oil, he did not cough.

Goyo has a go on Karulo’s Ice pipe, he puffed hard, and did not cough…at first. I saw him cough sneakily, after he handed the pipe back to Karulo!

This is the hash that could make you cough, if you inhale enough…

Later that day, we all went to La Barraca de la Maria, to start with the judging of the samples.
Paco was responsible for the intake of the participating cannabis at a small counter in the club.

Paco checked all the buds under the light, to see if it was up to standards.

These were the entries as we just came in, but there were dozens of growers waiting to deliver their buds, the Copa had 69 entries in its opening year, in 2003.

Of course there was Spanish hash, here is a sample of Spanish Ice.

These are 4 samples of Spanish Ice, all from the same grower, but extracted from 4 different strains. The structure and colour of the hashes were different as well, as you can see here.

Miguel and Goyo, checking up on the entries.

These two ladies were handling the buds gently, numbering them for the competition.

In the mean while, the number of entries was growing.

Karulo kept on smoking himself and his surrounding up with Ice, this time he used a double bubbler, a spacey piece.

Jose demonstrated his new hash extraction device, the Gaz-O-Lator, but could not go all the way, with over a hundred people smoking up around him. This device produces great Honey Oil, I saw it, smoked it and was wacked!

The device is simple, fast and effective, turns clipping material into great hash in minutes.

People kept on coming in with their buds, the number of entries grew constantly.

Pepe had a talk with Clara Colomer( c ), a well known Spanish Lawyer and Author, specialised in cannabis legislation.

These are some of the samples, that would be handed back over to the participating growers and members of the club, who would the judge and rate them, through the voting slips included.

Miguel setting up the judging table.

We were doing our ‘job’under the watchful eye of La Barraca’s Patron Saint: Sant Kanut, in English: Saint Joint! We were ready for some holy smoke.

Jose showed us how to use a new pipe, shaped as a cone, a new breed of the so-called “secret puffers”.

It sure smokes good, but I am not so sure if this is a secret puffer, maybe in the dark…

Well, it all came down to testing buds, so that is what we did the next few hours, we selected the best to be tested by the Honorary Judging Panel. All the buds were tested, by the members/growers of the club, but we could not smoke them all in a week, so we picked the best by structure, smell and looks, through a handheld microscope. Here are a few of the finalists, feast your eyes!

As you can see Spanish bud looks good, has a lot of resin and a tight structure.

This is a Sativa, they have the green voting slips.

This is an Indica, they have the yellow voting slips. I loved this one, hope it wins!

Another Indica.

A bit orange, but it was entered as a Sativa.

Sample 92.

Sample 105, Sativa.

Sample 115, the number of entries, total: 121 lots of marihuana, 4 Spanish Hashes!
This could well be a World Record, anyone out there that can come up with a higher number of entries in a cannabis competition??

This is the table with the entries, to be proceeded to the people that bag the samples. The volunteers of La Barraca had a hard time processing all the buds that were offered.

I could not keep myself from smoking, I just had to give that number 89 a ride through my lungs… It was as good as it looked, smooth, with a clear high and a great taste, there was plenty left for another test.

One of the members present began to set up a huge tulip joint, he is filling the cone on this picture.

The ingredients for a tulip, a large filter, made of rolled up cardboard, stuck together with king-size rolling papers, and a conic bag full of weed.

The result, a fine looking flower, with a firm stem and some leaf…

A flower says more than a hundred words…

Miguel is using his nose to value the bud.

Jose kept track of everything on his laptop.

The Judges Team, except Miguel and me, after we had selected the finalists for a thorough test.

Maria, Paco’s wife, had the loveliest sticky fingers, after having divided 121 different buds in baggies. Pace scraped her fingers after this picture, I never had a toke on the joint he produced with that fingerhash, as I recall now!

These were the samples we had to smoke in a week, a tough job, but some lucky guys had to do it!

This is how the Barraca de la Maria looked after a few hours of intense testing, the smoke was as thick as fog. We were all glad we could leave, it was around two in the morning, I felt grilled, baked and fried.

Paco finally had the time to smoke some bud, after having handled thousands of buds during the long evening.

The next morning, we all went back home, part of us to the South, another part, including Karulo, to the North. Jose and me are due to be back for the final, on the 24th of January, the Barcelona Judges will send their findings and ratings by email. As always, it was so nice to be with old friends in a new place, Valencia will be a place to meet more often, like next week?

, trying to test every strain in Spain.

(To be continued…)