Step back from the blindingly dazzling trichomes on the buds displayed in jars upon jars at the Emerald Cup, and one finds the basic essence of a county fair. The cup, unique in its celebration of outdoor cannabis, is held each December at the Santa Rosa County Fairgrounds in Northern California.
What began as a way for growers to come out of the hills and share the spoils of their harvest has now ballooned into a two-day extravaganza celebrating California’s most beloved agricultural product. While the event boasts speaker panels, a musical lineup and a huge zone for California medical patients to sample more than a few choice strain selections, the event’s cannabis judging competition remains at its beating heart of dankness.
At the cup growers of all types entered the 2016 competition and picked up seeds for next year’s crop. I joined with Max Savage Levenson, the producer of The Hash podcast, to catch up with three esteemed cultivators and artists in the cannabis scene during the event to discuss entering and judging the world’s largest outdoor cannabis competition and discover what’s next for California cannabis.