Stoners might have a reputation for moving at a glacial pace, but it was full steam ahead at the inaugural Cannabis Cup Thailand competition on Saturday.
The government removed cannabis from its list of banned narcotics in June, opening the way for a flurry of dispensaries and stalls, and for very enthusiastic puffers to enjoy a smoke without fear of prosecution.
At a small rooftop cannabis cafe in Bangkok, revellers gathered to compete for three Cup prizes: fastest joint roller, most creative joint, and best Thai cannabis variety — judged by the crowd who were all handed five joints on arrival, voting for their favourite throughout the afternoon and into the evening.
“It’s just super fun,” said 31-year-old organiser Matita ‘Mameaw’ Promjai.
Hundreds of applicants for the inaugural speed rolling competition had been whittled down to just 10, she explained.
“They are very nervous,” Ms Mameaw said. “Everyone’s hands shake.”
Each competitor would roll a small and large joint as quickly as they physically could, closely watched by a knowledgeable — if increasingly relaxed — crowd.
“I’m just trying my best,” said competitor Klaus, who gave only his first name, as he shambled up to the table to take his turn with a giant countdown clock behind him.
“THREE-TWO-ONE, GO!” shouted the MC as the 23-year-old scrambled to get his two joints done, banging the bell and stopping the clock on 1 minute and 44 seconds.
“It’s a really great experience, it’s really fun,” he said. “There’s some fierce competition.”
Trophies stand on display at the “Cannabis Cup Thailand” marijuana-based competition and event at No Man’s Land dispensary in Bangkok on Saturday.
In the back, self-professed “big time” smoker Nicky West, 52, was watching with a lazy smile.
“Really good, well-crafted,” he said, gesturing with an intricately-tattooed hand towards the latest competitor’s efforts.
“You’re really good, then you get up on that stage with all those people watching you and against the clock,” Mr West said.
“I take my hat off to them,” he added.
As the afternoon turned to evening, and with the winner lost in a cloud of increasingly dense smoke, the party looked set to roll late into the night.
– Educational rolling –
But the event had a more serious aspect too, Ms Mameaw explained.
The hasty government roll-out lifting cannabis restrictions has left many people in the dark — unsure about the benefits, unclear on the legality and unwilling to welcome the change.
“So that’s why I try to make a community to educate people,” she said.
While the educational aspect is important, Ms Mameaw said with a happy grin that her desire for the event was pretty straightforward.
“I’m a stoner, that’s why,” she said.
A judge looks on as participants take part in a joint rolling competition at the “Cannabis Cup Thailand” marijuana-based event at No Man’s Land dispensary in Bangkok on Saturday.