Cannabis cups have been around in Latin America since the beginning of the century, but rarely do they attract global attention.
The creators of the Mexican Cannabis Cup (better known as Copa Cannábica Mexicana) are hoping that’s due to change. They recently announced the first Latin American Cannabis Cup (Copa Latinoamericana del Cannabis) will take place on August 7th and 8th in Costa Rica, at an as-yet-unannounced location.
Organizers are hoping that the event will showcase the talent of Latin American growers and extractors, as legalization is gaining steam in the region. Mexico is inches away from becoming the world’s largest recreational market, Uruguay was the first country to legalize recreational cannabis in the world; while Argentina — where a recent weed expo drew hundreds of thousands of attendees — Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, and Peru have all legalized medicinal cannabis in some capacity. In the Caribbean, Jamaica made key reforms in 2015 decriminalizing cannabis possession, permitting self-cultivation, and legalizing religious and medicinal uses.
“This event is meant to highlight Latin America in the cannabis movement at the global level,” says Alonso Soria, the event’s organizer. “Right now, the culture is very centralized in places like Barcelona, Holland, and the United States. We think this event will deliver a very intense punch for cannabis culture here in Latin America. There are so many countries that are coming up strong here.”
It’s hard to overestimate the role that cannabis cups have played in the development of cannabis quality. The competitions, originally pioneered by High Times Magazine, have offered massive opportunities for cultivators to come together and trade tips on how to coax the finest bud into being.
(Oh, and just FYI: In case you’re ready to book that flight, keep in mind that Costa Rican cannabis laws are vague, but possession of a “small amount” of weed is considered to be decriminalized — not legalized. There is a huge difference between the two.)
Copa Latinoamericana del Cannabis judge Pedro Nicoletti Motta at the 2020 Copa Cannábica Mexicana (Courtesy of Caitlin Donohue)
The cups that have confirmed their participation in the event are; Argentina’s Copa del Plata, Costa Rica Cannabis Cup, Ecuador’s Copa La Perla, Colombia’s Copa Farallones, Copa Cannábica México, Mexico’s Copa del Norte, Chile’s Copa Cannábica de los Andes, and Uruguay’s Copa Cannábica Canguro.
Names that have so far been confirmed for the cup’s judging panel read like a who’s-who of OG Latin American cannabis activists. The people assessing flower, extract, and edibles at the region’s first cannabis cup include: Juan Vaz, founder of Uruguay’s Cannabis Studies Association and key consultant to the country’s government during its legalization process; Uruguay-based Argentinian cultivator and educator Gastón Durana; Chilean cultivator and founder of cannabis brand Anumka, Carlos “Lechuga” Prado; and the two co-founders of cannabis education platform Cannativa, Brazilian extraction and cannabis lab expert Pedro Nicoletti Motta and Mexican cultivation specialist and co-founder of the Latin American Network of Cannabis Women (RELAMUCA), Polita Pepper.
For Soria, the event will be a chance for Latin American marijuana to show the world what it’s made of. “We want to show that we can compete with the quality, even in the countries with legal cannabis,” he says.
Follow the cup’s Facebook page for further announcements.
Follow Caitlin Donohue on Instagram