The Friday before this year’s Golden Tarp Award, California legislators passed a historic and sweeping set of regulations regarding the medical marijuana industry that the governor is expected to sign into law. Since the passage of Prop 215 in 1996 the industry has grown from a few Bay Area providers to a lucrative statewide industry. Due to a lack of regulations, that growth has resulted in many problems – from local moratoriums, to blatant abuse by unscrupulous operators. Starting over two years ago, members of the Emerald Growers Association, California Cannabis Voice-Humboldt and other stakeholders worked tirelessly, both in Sacramento and the Emerald Triangle to help the state legislature pass regulations favorable to the industry. With this victory under their collective belts, the celebratory mood was palpable and the stage was set for another amazing event produced by the boys from Wonderland Nursery and The Ganjier.
Luke Bruner and Kevin Jodrey are the heart and soul – as well as the brains and visionaries – behind both the cannabis nursery Wonderland and The Ganjier, which have grown from an online magazine into a broader cannabis lifestyle brand and development company, Ganjier Solutions. The Golden Tarp Award was created in 2014 to promote light deprived cannabis or light dep. This style of greenhouse growing, where blackout tarps are used to artificially induce flowering has become increasingly popular.
In the last several years “dep” has gone from a small segment of the market to becoming an integral part of the yearly cannabis production cycle. Among the advantages of “dep” is the grower’s ability to better control the environment as well as to get an additional harvest. The sun is also at it’s zenith during peak flowering time allowing the buds to create more resin. Recognizing all of these benefits, Bruner and Jodfrey decided in 2014 to create The Golden Tarp Award to recognize and celebrate all of the hard work that growers put in.
The first day of the event dawned relatively hazy and extremely hot. The haze was from the fires, which have ravaged Northern California this summer, but this did little to dampen the excitement in the air over the proposed new regulations. A palpable sense of victory was shared by most and a feeling of happiness was in the air.
The scene inside was much different than last year’s or their Spring Kick Off, where multiple dab stations were set up and “weed fairies” patrolled the grounds handing out samples of the contest entrants. The Mateel Center in Redway, which hosts the event, had informed the organizers that no cannabis or seeds could be distributed – a radical departure from their previous standpoint.
Due to this regulation, the event was much less of a party and more of a political rally and information seminar. The panel discussions were all well-attended and most folks spent the whole day discussing the new regulations and what they meant to our community.
The seed companies were especially well-represented with Aficionado, Ganja Rebel, and Emerald Family Farms all having large well-attended booths. Dan of Ganja Rebel taught a popular breeding class and other booths featured folks making rosin from attendee’s buds. Emerald Family Farms was the day’s big winner, taking home first place in the Floral category for their Diesel Berry. The Tarp is run differently from many other events in that there are four categories: fruit, fuel, floral and earth. Having categories based on observable characteristics as opposed to the increasingly arbitrary indica/sativa breakdown is a new trend and one that makes judging easier in many veterans’ opinions.
Even with the slight damper that The Mateel Center put on the party the event was once again a huge success. Turnout was between 800-1000 and all the vendors reported good days. That evening the party ran late as it moved to town and all over the surrounding hills. The Golden Tarp is truly an expression of cannabis culture at it’s best and is not to be missed.
Have you ever attended a cannabis competition? Tell us about it in the comments.