Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam: Ultimate Guide

Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam: Ultimate Guide

Amsterdam: Location and Cannabis Policy

Amsterdam is located in the province of North Holland and is the capital of the Netherlands. The city was founded in the 13th century by fishermen on a dam along River Amstel, hence the name Amsterdam.

This is the largest city in North Holland and the most populous with over 850.000 people. A large part of its population is composed of foreigners who probably migrated back in the day due to Amsterdam’s cannabis-friendly policies.

Cannabis Laws at Present

As crazy as it may sound, cannabis is still illegal in Holland. The situation is quite complicated as an international treaty precludes the country from legalizing cannabis completely. But, as you may know, there are hundreds of coffee shops in Amsterdam…are they legal?

Well, if you buy weed over the counter at a “legal” coffee shop it becomes kind of legal. This happens because the possession of small quantities of weed is considered a misdemeanor, so you can possess up to 30 grams of weed, more than this amount could be considered a criminal offense.

It’s only permitted to buy 5 grams at a time per coffee shop, so you will definitely not have any problems there as long as you don’t go from coffee shop to coffee shop trying to stock on weed. Remember, weed in Holland is still illegal, so make sure to always follow coffee shop regulations.

High Times Amsterdam Cannabis Cup 

This legal grey area that makes Holland one of the main weed-friendly countries for cannabis tourism also made the perfect spot to host cannabis competitions. As you may know, High Time’s Cannabis Cup (which is now held in the US) started and had its first edition in Amsterdam, back in 1988.

Steven Hager, a journalist for a Hip Hop magazine in New york became editor of High Times magazine, focusing on cannabis lifestyle, culture, and cannabis growing. In one of his trips to Amsterdam, Hager had the idea of creating a festival where growers from all over the world could compete to see who grew the best weed.

High Time’s Cannabis Cup started and had its first edition in Amsterdam, back in 1988

At that time, Amsterdam was the only place where the Cannabis Cup could take place legally. Hager rented a small room where just a few seed banks, growers, and judges could participate but as years went by, the vent grew bigger and bigger. In just a couple of years, there were more than 800 people participating and the rest is history, it didn’t take long for the event to turn into what it is today.


The Cannabis Cup originated in Amsterdam but due to the legalization of recreational cannabis in several places in the US, the event ended up migrating to California. This means that there aren’t any plans to host another Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam…at least for now.

But this doesn’t mean that Cannabis Cups are over, make sure to check the High Times website to see the nearest Cannabis Cup. From Alaska to SoCal, and even online events, it’s just a matter of taking a quick trip to the 2-day event, it’s extremely worth it.

Judges and Evaluation Process

Unlike the latest People’s Choice Cannabis Cup events, the first editions of the Amsterdam Cannabis Cup were judged by specialists in the industry. They had real hands-on experience in cannabis growing, which was great as they didn’t take into consideration anything other than the overall quality of the product, leaving out how popular the brand or the company was. Back then, they didn’t have as many categories as we have today, make sure to read more about the awards categories below.

Crowd at the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam

Award Categories
Over three decades have passed since the first Amsterdam Cannabis Cup, the first events only had one category which meant that only one entry could get first place. But the event has come a long way and the last edition of the Cannabis Cup held in Amsterdam in 2018 had 6 categories, they are:

- Best Seed Company;
- Best Indica Flower;
- Best Sativa Flower;
- Best Coffeeshop Edibles;
- Best Coffeeshop Neder Hash;
- Best Coffeeshop Import Hash;
- Best Coffeeshop Flowers.

Latest Winners

If reading about the history and categories of the Amsterdam Cannabis Cup got you curious about the latest winners, look no further, here are the first, second, and third-place winners of the last Cannabis Cup held in Amsterdam back in 2018.

Cannabis Cup Amsterdam 2018 Winners
3rd Place Winners

CategoryStrain / ProductProducer / Cultivator
Best Seed CompanySour Power OGby Karma Squad x Flawless Extract
Best Hybrid FlowerSmartiesby Kush for Breakfast
Best Indica FlowerGelato 41by Connected Cannabis
Best Sativa FlowerPurple Lemon Punchby The Plug Seed Bank
Best Coffeeshop EdiblesDolphin Muffinby The Dolphin’s
Best Coffeeshop Neder HashSoloby Platinum Valley Ice-O-Lator
Best Coffeeshop Import HashGolden Soulsby Grey Area
Best Coffeeshop FlowerSour Power OGChem Head OGby Voyagers

2nd Place Winners

CategoryStrain / ProductProducer / Cultivator
Best Seed CompanyBest Coffeeshop Flowerby Nature Boyz x Karma Genetics
Best Hybrid FlowerRainbow Riderby Karma Squad
Best Indica FlowerSpumoniby The Plug Seed Bank x Alien Labs
Best Sativa FlowerPurple Strawberry Sherbertby PhenoFinders Seeds
Best Coffeeshop EdiblesLemon Bubble Space Cakeby Voyagers
Best Coffeeshop Neder HashGrey Crystalsby Grey Area
Best Coffeeshop Import HashVoyagersby Atlas Edibles
Best Coffeeshop FlowerSkittlesby The Plug

1st Place Winners

CategoryStrain / CultivatorProducer / Cultivator
Best Seed CompanyGelato 41by Field Extracts x Connected Cannabis
Best Hybrid FlowerBiscottiby Connected Cannabis
Best Indica FlowerWedding Cakeby PhenoFinder Seeds
Best Sativa FlowerGelonadeby Connected Cannabis
Best Coffeeshop EdiblesTime Bombby Amnesia
Best Coffeeshop Neder HashLiberty Dry Freeze by Barney’s Coffee Shop
Best Coffeeshop Import HashAmnesia Polmby Amnesia
Best Coffeeshop FlowerStrawberry Jaffa Shopby Barney's Coffee


Unfortunately, Amsterdam won’t host any more Cannabis Cups in the near future, but if you want to stay up to date, make sure to check High Times official website for future locations and tickets.


If you’re a cannabis enthusiast, Amsterdam is a must. Not only it’s a beautiful city with great food and great weed, but it’s also the right place to go if you’re interested in learning about the beginnings of cannabis culture and how it all started. Some very special strains have come from the bottom to the top, such as White Walker and Star Killer by Rare Dankness.

Remember that it was thanks to the country’s cannabis policies that the Cannabis Cup exists in the first place. And remember, always respect local rules and regulations, and you’ll definitely have a blast!