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The Emerald Cup 2017: Industry Can’t Beat Experience

Emerald Cup Cannabis Now
Photos Jimi Devine for Cannabis Now


The Emerald Cup 2017: Industry Can’t Beat Experience

This year’s big winners included the underdogs Molecular Farms, the dominant 3rd Gen Fam and the always-popular Om Edibles.

Another Emerald Cup is in the books, leaving many worried that it might have signaled the end of an era, as legal sales of recreational cannabis in California are perched right around the corner. But whether or not this prophecy is fulfilled, the Emerald Cup in 2017 was the competition’s biggest and best year ever, and it provided many of the cannabis industry’s great brands the opportunity to again remind their peers of the view from the top of the mountain.

Molecular Farms in Monterey County claimed first prize in the prestigious flower category for the second time — sorry, hill kids — and is bringing The Emerald Cup back to the Central Coast for seagulls to perch on. Their Lemon Crush strain came in at 24 percent THC, and at 2.99 percent terpenes. The hardball nugs won the judges over with hints of gingerbread. Molecular Farms also went back-to-back in the CBD flower category, winning this year with Guava Jam. The team at Molecular told the crowd that their pot was grown with “lots of love and lots of fish.”

Molecular Farms accepts one of their two first place flower awards.

Second place never looked so good, despite coming in second — as 3rd Gen Family x Dying Breed Seeds took home the silver medal for their strain Rozé, which you may remember we predicted would be a hit in our Hype Strains of the Harvest 2017.

Brandon of 3rd Gen joined Swami on stage as he read the judge’s notes on Rozé, saying it smelled of cinnamon with a hint of rosemary. The Zkittlez offshoot came in at 17 percent THC and 2 percent terpenes. The testing also showed it to have an exceptionally high pinene content.

“It took a couple years to get the Rozé and do this the right way,” Brandon told the crowd. “We got this thing developed now where it’s spitting out diamonds. The Zkittlez was the same way, it was ugly and nobody wanted it, we just had to present it to the right people the right way.”

Brandon from 3rd Gen Fam poses at his booth.

Brandon went on to make his third retirement claim in as many years, before alluding to the future of regulation. “We all have to step it up or we’re going to get squashed out,” he said. “This is the artisan.”

When head flower judges Swami and Nikki Lastreto announced the 3rd Gen Family x Dying Breed Seeds’ strain Rozé won second place, they reminded everyone that the Emerald Cup has the most blind judging arrangement of any cannabis contest in the world. This was to soothe any haters who had already watched 3rd Gen Family walk across the stage after winning another shelf of trophies.

Over the course of the evening, 3rd Gen had already taken first and second in the rosin category, with two other places in the top 10. They sparred with champions Ahti Hash in the solventless hash category and took six places in the top 10, including winning second and third place.

Concentrates from Dabbenport Extracts on display.

Following the Molecular Farms first place win, the competition’s founder Tim Blake returned to the stage to announce the Breeder’s Cup, which was also won by Rozé and the 3rd Gen team. Brandon returned to the stage, grasped the microphone and said, “The whole story on Rozé, on how we found it and how it was made, is going to be published in Cannabis Now Magazine next month or so. Thank you so much for the love and respect! The Rozé is the future, I knew this thing was full of terps.”

In other categories, popular edibles company Om Edibles took home another cup. Om previously had a stranglehold on the CBD edible contest scene for years with their raw cacao spread and various other treats, but this year they won for their “CBD Mango” products.

In the topical category, Newell’s Botanicals pulled off another rare back-to-back win. People had a year to attempt to best their Deep Skin penetrating topical oil that won the 2016 Emerald Cup and they all came up short, despite the ultra-competitiveness of the current topical market. In less than two years since Chelsea Dudgeon first whipped up the formula to help her grandmother’s aches in March 2016, she has asserted herself as the top cannabis topical maker on the planet, thanks to her ingenuity and earth-friendly regenerative farming methods.

The Soil King took home first place in the best booth category for their massive booth dedicated to solventless extracts. Patrick King, the man behind Soil King, was also a major part of the cannabis community relief efforts during the recent wildfires that swept through California. We asked King what it was like to see the support continue to come in now through the Emerald Cup’s attendees and affiliated charities. “It means a lot,” King told Cannabis Now. “This whole event, including this experience center, means to me we’re doing it together.”

The exhibition floor of Emerald Cup 2017.

We asked King when he thought the industry’s progress would catch up with what activists have been advocating for following the passage of Prop 64 in California in 2016. In King’s perspective, the business and activism sides of the cannabis industry are a bit more intertwined than some realize.

“For example, I just got five felonies expunged myself recently, I have a micro license, and my wife has a dispensary license. So being a felon and being able to abolish and knock down my felonies is awesome for a guy like me, right?” King said. “To be an OG in the industry and to allow me to enter the next part of the industry is huge.”

Creek Tompkins and the team at Soul Evolution Enterprises are always a crowd favorite for their unique fruity terped phenos, much of the time found only at their booth. This year, the organizers rewarded Soul Evolution Enterprises by placing them as the first booth in the 215 Zone’s main thoroughfare.

“It’s been an absolutely fantastic cup,” Tompkins told us. “I feel truly honored and inspired to be here with these amazing people. Folks like Brandon [at 3rd Gen], folks like Thomas at Ahti —they’re just amazing people and it’s beautiful to all come together as a community, to celebrate our harvest, and to share the fruits of our labor. Most important is to just commune with each other as an evolving community and blossoming industry. It’s a beautiful event showing us some light in a world that’s pretty dark.”

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