Photos Gracie Malley for Cannabis Now
Moments into the Emerald Cup and my nose is stuffed into a large mason jar filled with the most beautiful cannabis grown in the California sun. The outdoor organic I’m eyeing, including Acapulco Gold and Super Silver Haze, is from pioneering cannabis breeder DJ Short and represents a fraction of the premium sensimilla that came out for the harvest celebration.
Essentially a cannabis county fair, the 10th annual Emerald Cup and its location at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds marked a true turning point for the California breeders and growers who have put the Golden State on the forefront of cannabis production since the 1960s. Named after the Emerald Triangle, three counties in Northern California – Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity – which produce much of the state’s choice supply, this year’s event truly transformed the once underground gathering into a public celebration.
The two-day all organic outdoor competition held Dec. 14 and 15 featured 316 entries of both flowers and concentrates, coupled with panels of activists and breeders. Whether gathered in the exhibition halls lined with cannabis pennants, checking out the products in the Hall of Flowers or sampling the herb in a number of Proposition 215 areas, smokers and growers mingled and discussed the future of marijuana.
The event, and its relocation to Santa Rosa after years as a private gathering in Humboldt County, fostered opportunities for dialogue between attendees and the farmworkers who grow their buds. In the sense of a farm-to-table party, the Emerald Cup presented an opportunity for supply chain transparency as a sort of farmer’s market to obtain and sample incredible flowers, along with the seeds and knowledge for patients to grow their own.
Closing with an awards ceremony and a performance by Jefferson Starship, the Emerald Cup was a true harvest party honoring the Californian crop that remains illegal under federal law.