Last Updated on May 12, 2020 by Team Spinfuel

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All hail Steven Hager. We thank you. And if you’re a smoker of cannabis, you should too. You see, Steven Hager (for those who don’t know) is an American writer, journalist, filmmaker, and counterculture and cannabis rights activist. He’s also the editor of High Times magazine, and the founder of the High Times Cannabis CupTHE final word on the world’s BEST cannabis strains. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the most important date of the year for stoners around the world.


The High Times Cannabis Cup – How Does it Work?

Every November bud fans and cannabis judges from around the world make their way en masse to Amsterdam, where the festival is held. The VIP judges, lucky them, taste and test cannabis samples to settle on a winner in each of six categories – best new product, best booth, best glass, best hash and best Nederhash, and then the best overall winner.

This cannabis festival is also home to live music, educational seminars and an expo of cannabis products.

2010 marked a milestone year for the Cannabis Cup, with the event landing on US soil. To date, the event has been held in Northern and Southern California, Denver, Michigan, Seattle, Portland, Oregon.

As it turns out, this was good timing, as the 2011 Amsterdam High Times Cup was raided, which made the decision to move to the US all the easier.


The High Times Cannabis Cup Bids Farewell to Amsterdam

In 2014, the High Times Cannabis Cup drew to a close in Amsterdam – a decision that wasn’t just about the raid in 2011, but also down to questions around upcoming changes to Dutch cannabis laws.

Since this decision, the cup made a return to its homeland in 2018. Yet skepticism about its future here is well-founded, as the current Amsterdam major is exploring whether to ban foreign visitors from buying cannabis altogether. Sad times indeed.


A Potted History of the Cannabis Cup

32 years into its history, the High Times Cannabis Cup is respected the world over as the ultimate judgment on cannabis strains.

Its inauguration year was all the way back in 1988. The winner? Skunk. Since then there’s been a long line up of strains that have been graced with the title of ‘High Times Cannabis Cup Winner’ – here’s a walkthrough…


1988 – Skunk #1 from Cultivator’s Choice

1989 – Early Pearl/Skunk #1 x Northern Lights #5/Haze from the Seed Bank, Snocap by David Swenson

1990 – Northern Lights #5 from the Seed Bank (please see discussion page before attempting to change this entry)

1991 – Skunk from Free City

1992 – Haze x Skunk #1 from Homegrown Fantasy (High Time’s Cannabis Cup Winner Master Kush = Hindu Kush X Skunk #1)

1993 – Haze x Northern Lights #5 from Sensi Seed Bank (High Time’s Cannabis Cup Winner Master Kush = Hindu Kush X Skunk #1)

1994 – Jack Herer from Sensi Seed Bank

1995 – White Widow from the Green House

1996 – White Russian from De Dampkring

1997 – Peace Maker from De Dampkring

1998 – Super Silver Haze from the Green House

1999 – Super Silver Haze from the Green House

2000 – Blueberry from the Noon

2001 – Sweet Tooth from Barney’s

2002 – Morning Glory from Barney’s

2003 – Hawaiian Snow from Green House

2004 – Amnesia Haze from Barney’s

2005 – Willie Nelson from Barney’s

2006 – Arjan’s Ultra Haze #1 from Green House

2007 – G-13 Haze from Barney’s

2008 – Super Lemon Haze from Green House United

Cannabis Cup 2009

^^^ Poster art for the 22nd High Times Cannabis Cup, 2009 ^^^


2009 – Super Lemon Haze from Green House United

2010 – Tangerine Dream from Barney’s

2011 – Liberty Haze from Barney’s

2012 – Flower Bomb Kush from the Green House

2013 – Rollex OG Kush from The Green Place

2014 – MaraDawg Blue Flake Cheese Pearl from Chopper Special

2015 – YDK Jack by Lorax Labs with CannaSutra LA

2016 – Ghost Train Haze #13 by Phresh Cannabis Oregon

2017 – Bagheera Mango Haze

2018 – Strawberry Jaffa

A Word Of Warning on Your Weed Seeds

Hit Google for “HighTimes Seed Banks”, and you might just wind up on a website proclaiming to be certified by the smoker’s magazine of choice. 




According to CNBS, the High Times is a publisher, not a seed bank. They don’t sell seeds. They’re completely hands-off:


While some websites claim to feature “The Best HighTimes Seed Banks”, the seed banks in these lists are NOT endorsed by High Times Magazine in any way – it’s nothing more than a shameless marketing scheme. False advertising at its finest”.


So just to be clear – the High Times Cup is about strains, not seed banks. That said, some seed banks rightly proclaim to be sellers of strains that have picked up the cup in years previous (like the Green House Seed Co, which has won 42 High Times Cannabis Cups Since 1985). 

So you see, fellow toker, we’ve got a lot to thank Steven Hager for. Long may his reign as High Times Editor and Cannabis Cup Head Honcho last. Here’s to you, Steve.