One of the true marquee events of the U.S. Cannabis Cup circuit that have developed over the past decade, the NorCal Cup is a glimpse into the current state of high-grade cannabis: This is the backyard contest for some of the world’s best cultivators, and taking home a cup (or runner-up medal) is a major validation of the effort any grower, edible producer or hash company is putting in.
While a NorCal Cup victory is obviously one of the most prized in the game, the tunes are also a pretty solid draw as well — two nights of music included 311 headlining Saturday night, just a week shy of the group’s 27th anniversary. Sunday evening’s music stage competed against the NBA Finals for the crowd’s attention, which provided a more eclectic setting for The Wailers and the first half of Sublime with Rome’s set.
But in the end, it’s all about the folks on the podium.
The edibles category saw startup chocolate effort Satori, a new brand affiliated with folks like Care By Design and Absolute Xtracts — through their parent company CannaCraft — take home a win; it isn’t a shocker that a proven brand would go all in with their new edible. Blueberry, Lemon & Poppy Seeds Clusters by Atlas Edibles were the runners-up, with the Cannabis Love Bar by LuLu’s Botanicals with Higher Vision coming in third.
The importance of CBD products has risen over the years. The best CBD Edible was Blueberry Peach CBD/THC by Sensi Sweets, which recently entered the California market. During their acceptance speech, Sensi Sweets noted they intended to take over from “Seattle to the Bay.”
Awards show host and comedian, Tony Hinchcliffe, suggested they should try and get all the way to LA first.
For CBD Flowers, the cup went to the master cultivators at C.R.A.F.T. We weren’t surprised: Along with their multiple cup wins, it was easy to see the love and care they put into the process when we spoke to them about the effort they put into propagating their Super Lemon Haze.
The vape cartridge category saw a big upset win: After two years of R&D (according to their victory speech), Indigo Pro took home a cup for their 100 percent Sour Diesel oil. For a new face in the industry, beating out two Gelato collabs from some of the top producers is a major notch in their belt.
The hash contests were less shocking. They saw Exotic Genetix taking first in solventless for their Cookies and Cream dry sift. Golden State Banana by Critical Concentrates with LA Kush and CHR took home the best indica concentrate and it looked top class — Critical’s live resins are always a spectacle.
Yellow Cake by Royal Key Organics with Greenwolf was the best sativa and Pineapple Crush Live Resin by Humboldt’s Finest won the best hybrid. Both had a very similar consistency of a loaded terpene sauce.
All those prior awards wouldn’t have been possible without great cultivators and the weekend’s big winners featured some surprising names. Banana Fig #8 from Fig Farms took home best indica. The farm had been known for providing to some of NorCal’s classier providers but this will definitely put them in the spotlight. L.A. Snow by Lumpy’s Flowers was the top sativa but details were sparse. LA took home the hybrid prize with Mother Pucker by Buds & Roses.
During the awards ceremony, Cannabis Now contributor Eddy Lepp was presented with the lifetime achievement award by Kyle Kushman.
TELL US, do cup wins affect your likelihood of buying a strain?