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I’m sitting at a long white table in a folding chair surrounded by bearded men in hats decorated with pins and 15 different ways to do a dab. The room is brightly lit, and I dig through my own bag to find the small silicone container I’ve got my errl in. Mostly everyone has slabs, oil on parchment paper that could be clear and golden like amber or have holes in it like swiss cheese. It’s important to know that BHO has been made correctly, but in this case there is no question. It’s fire.
Little dabbers fashioned after swords and forks float around the table, the hissing of the blowtorch followed by coughing providing the soundtrack. There a rig attached to a separate ceramic element with a tube that looks like something out of a fancy spa. There are conventional electric nails of all shapes and sizes attached to glass of all shapes and sizes, all lined up on the table by the back wall where the outlets are. Domeless nails, quartz, glass, titanium, fired up then covered with carp caps before getting the torch again. Cases are filled with samples, dozens of little jars to taste and evaluate, from crumbly wax to stiff shatter. A mountain of water bottles sits in the corner, keeping us all hydrated, which is just as important as keeping us all high.
On August 9th and 10th the first New England Secret Cup: Beast Coast was held in Providence, Rhode Island and while the state might be small, the dabs were not. Folks from all over the country gathered at this cannabis competition, which featured vendors and music all weekend long. There’s some great pot culture in the northeast, and it was out in full force. Over 20 glass blowers gave demonstrations with even more there hawking their wares, and over 30 companies entered into the competition of shatters, waxes and solventless concetrates. Hundreds of attendees left knowing they had been a part of something special.
Noticeably absent was the thick cloud of skunk smoke that is usually synonymous with gatherings of marijuana enthusiasts, but no one was complaining. That’s because the focus of the Secret Cup is hash and hash oil, specifically dabbing, which involves vaporizing a bit of cannabis concentrate on a hot surface and inhaling the vapors. Some compare it to having a whole joint in one hit while others say it takes them back to how it felt when they first started smoking weed. Either way it’s not for the novice, and while it doesn’t produce that familiar hotbox effect it definitely does the trick.
Rhode Island’s medical marijuana law includes reciprocity, which means that any card carrying patient from a medical state is protected in Lil’ Rhody too. All of New England’s states recognize the benefits of medical marijuana, so it was the ideal spot to hold an event of this kind. Even non-medical users are relatively safe in Rhode Island- the maximum fine for possession of less than 1 ounce of weed is $150, and it is a civil offense, not something that would create a criminal record. With this in mind, stealth was unnecessary, and it was a treat to see so much functional art being utilized.
The way the Secret Cup is structured is that the entrants are the judges, and all of the samples are numbered to help ensure a blind and unbiased vote. A competitor and friend from Royal Extracts listed almost every aspect of the cup when I asked about the best parts of the experience of entering and judging- “Chilling and dabbing with the other extractors, meeting a lot of awesome people, judging, checking out the glass and the art” pretty much encompasses the experience. An appearance from Immortal Technique was definitely the musical highlight of the weekend.
In the end the winners were:
First Overall – Rhode Island Red Extractions
Second Overall – Something Better Concentrate Company
Third Overall – Diesel Extracts
High CBD – Coastal Concentrates
High THC – Anchor Extracts
Best Budder- East Coast La Nostra Family
Best Non Solvent – High Grade Extracts
Connoisseur’s Choice – Cannaissuer Extracts
In addition, it was a win for Rhode Island and the event organizers. There were no apparent medical emergencies, and no issues with police, nothing to harsh the buzz of the attendees except the hot summer sun. Even that could be easily remedied by ducking into the shade for another dab session. Event organizer Bobby Nuggz put it best, “It’s been time to make history here and change a wide ranged perception on a remarkable plant, its resins and their healing properties. We did it and I have a feeling it won’t be the last time if I have anything to do with it.” I hope it won’t be the last time either, and I don’t think I have to worry much. The Beast Coast is not a new frontier for weed – it’s already here.
Photo Credit: JENuineVision