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The Best Strains of the Emerald Cup 2019

PHOTOS Gracie Malley for Cannabis Now

Industry Events

The Best Strains of the Emerald Cup 2019

We reveal the cultivators and strains that stood out among the crowded field of the best outdoor cannabis in the world, and the complete list of official winners.

Another Emerald Cup has come and gone, and as expected, it was the biggest and best yet in the era of legal cannabis in California.

As we have in years past, Cannabis Now’s chief incinerators, Senior Editor Ellen Holland and I, hit the Emerald Cup’s aisles prepared to smell every jar of cannabis on hand. We call this the “Weed Walk,” and while we’ve been doing it for years, we are now joined by a full spread of people from across the industry. The crowd of jar sniffers dwindled the further we got into the walk, and by the end, only Holland, her husband Milos Cam-Robb and myself were left grinding through jars on our annual take-no-prisoners terp search.

Over the route of the walk on Dec. 14, we got excited about a lot of things that would take podium spots at the award ceremony on Dec. 15, not to mention Peanut Butter Breath from our Harvest Hype List coming in second in the ice water hash category this year. Overall, there was so much flame. The full list of winners from the Emerald Cup 2019 is below, but first, here’s our favorites among what we personally checked out.

We’ll dive right in with our first particularly exciting booth this year, Varsity Cannabis Co. Their Garlic Cocktail strain was very special. We really loved the notes we got off the pairing of GMO and Mimosa. Their Kush Sorbet was also very fun. The Varsity team told Cannabis Now they spend a lot of time pheno hunting, and we could smell the effort.

Another booth with a particularly stellar lineup was Humboldt Brand Cannabis Co. The first thing that caught our eye was the Green Lantern in the front row. At that point, I didn’t realize it was “the” Green Lantern strain that won the Emerald Cup last year. Then, when I looked at the top left of the display, I saw the Ridgeline Runtz, which would eventually take first place at this year’s cup, but at that moment, it was just spectacular pot that confirmed where the Green Lantern was from too.

LitHouse’s Lemon Love also got a lot of admiration this weekend, but I think their orange-heavy Sundae Driver pheno stole the show for me. I didn’t get to try smoking it, but I just loved how crisp and unique the nose was.

Coastal Star Cannabis Nursery had versions of their clones grown out for viewing. It was very proper. There was even some Pai Gow! We hadn’t seen any since The Village gifted me some awhile back. Yes, it was awesome. Coastal Star also had a good version of Banjo and Santa Cruz’s Zarabanda also had a competitive phenotype. The Humboldt Terp Council turned some Banjo into wild dabs too.

IC Collective had everything fun we love about IC Collective. I would argue the new batch of Ziablo had a little bit more cantaloupe aroma than I remember, and it was pleasant. All the other Ziablo flavor I expected was still there too. It was like a pinch of new color splashed onto the canvas.

Alien Labs and Connected’s weed fortress was as big as ever. It featured the release of Milky Way from Alien Labs and a wide array of other options like Cake Walk, Sherbacio, Alien Mints, Baklava and Gelato #41. Alien Labs also gifted me their Moonbow rosin collab with Archive Seed Bank and Field Extracts. It was weird how my allergies made my eyes water at that moment. I wouldn’t be able to explain the science.

Over at Woodman Peak, the Banana Jam Gang was back, and the Banana Jam certainly looked a year more refined. So much so that it was the only thing the farm entered in the cup this year, despite their other offerings looking nice too.

South Lake Farms had dope Gelato #33, a Dosi Lemonade that smelt like lemon peels and fuel, and a lovely rendition of one of my current favorites, Animal Face.

I’ve always appreciated Greenshock Farms’s visits to the tropics and sleigh rides, but this year I had to go with their Passion Orange Guava. The judges did also, as it placed second in the sungrown category.

Vital Garden Supply, a gardening store located in Nevada City, California, also launched their new flower line Vital Grown at the cup. It looked great and included a 30% Cherry Punch. Cherry Punch was on the podium, after landing on the 2018 Harvest Hype List last year. Vital Grown’s White Runtz and Zkittelz were also well above average in the pack this weekend.

Royal Budline had a lot of jars out on display, and we enjoyed all of them with a few standouts. The indoor GMO was super legit. Sour Snow and another competitive Zkittelz also caught our attention. The dry-farmers of Happy Dream Farms were sharing space with Royal Budline. They had a really cool Vanilla Frosting, grown in Southern Humboldt’s Eel River watershed.

Emerald Mountain Legacy’s Oil Spill #9 was wild, and then we saw another great Oil Spill over at Pacific Cultivation.

Esensia Gardens had some lovely options including a Pixie Dust they just did a meristem recovery on with Phinest. The Esensia team said it gave the plant a lot of its vigor back and the jar wasn’t a liar, you really smelled the life and energy it had while growing this season. Their Rum Punch and 31% THC Honey Dew also raised eyebrows.

Oakland’s Poseidon Estate had a selection of respectable wares that included Strawberry Kush Pop, The Village’s Wedding Crasher #18 and one of our of the absolute highlights for me this weekend, Slurricrasher. I think Slurricrasher has a lot of potential.

Monterey Kush Co. also brought some heaters. They included a True OG we definitely didn’t hate, a nose-friendly Mango Brule and finally a delightfully authentic Gelato 33.

Humboldt Seed Co.’s Blueberry Muffin was out in force. They have a good pheno of the cut they bred in-house. They also had great Caramel Cream.

And finally, The Emerald Cup launched its new partnership with Rosette at the cup. The first strain from the line is called Biancheto, Rosette’s other weed looked pretty good too.

Here is the complete list of winners from the 2019 Emerald Cup, along with the home county of each winner.

Regenerative Cannabis Farm Award

Organic Medicinals, Humboldt

Flower – Sungrown                               

1. Ridgeline Runtz – Ridgeline Farms, Humboldt
2. POG (Passion Orange Guava) – Greenshock Farms, Mendocino
3. White Runtz – Humboldt Redwood Healing,  Humboldt
4. Double OG Chem – Earthen Farms, Mendocino
5. Ice Cream Cake – Ridgeline Farms, Humboldt
6. Rose Lemonade – Wild Band of Mystics, Trinity
7. GMO Cookie – Green Light Farms, Humboldt
8. Mother Chronic – Wild Band of Mystics, Trinity
9. Green Lantern – Ridgeline Farms, Humboldt
10. Gelato 41 – Lost Coast Elixirs, Humboldt
11. Sour Limon – Down Om Farms, Nevada
12. “Mixed Light” Zkittles – Talking Trees Farms, Humboldt
13. Pixie Dust – Esensia, Mendocino
14. Candied Banana – DewPoint, Humboldt
15. Ice Cream Cake – Skyline Farms 
16. Love Humboldt’s Mac 1 – Love Humboldt, Humboldt
17. Lemon Butter Creme – Marigold Terra Luna Farms, Sonoma
18. Honey Dew – Esensia Gardens, Mendocino
19. Roze Water Zkittles – Savage Farms, Humboldt
20. Do-Si-Dos Zkittles – Savage Farms,  Humboldt

Flower – Mixed Light Flower               

1. Ice Cream Cake – Josh D., Santa Barbara
2. T.I.T.S. – Diamondback Genetics, Yolo
3. OG T.I.T.S. – Diamondback Genetics, Yolo
4. GMO – Palomar Works, San Diego
5. Ghost OG – Josh D., Santa Barbara
6. Baklava – Alien Labs, Stanislaus
7. Dynasty OGN – Josh D., Santa Barbara
8. Lemon Lava – Lit House, Mendocino
9. Chem-D (Victor) – Palomar Works, San Diego
10. Motor Breath – Josh D., Santa Barbara

Flower – Personal Use              

1. LA Kush Cake – Paula Jobe-Hudgens, Nevada
2. “Skunky” Cookies – Jon “Texas” Kelley      
3. Blackjack – Debbie Perticara, Humboldt
4. Mac Daddy Purp – Malcom Hunter – Placer
5. Wedding Cake – Jason Sparkes, Mendocino
6. Eden’s White Fire – Debbie Perticara, Humboldt
7. Orange Terp-entine – Mark Greyshock, Mendocino
8. Pluto – Casey Bernsdorf, Mendocino
9. Purpello – Corey Sangiacomo, Mendocino
10. Tropical Sleigh Ride – Mark Greyshock, Mendocino

Flower – CBD

1. Holy Crunch – Phytologie, Alameda
2. Medihaze – Foothill River Farms, Nevada
3. Harle Bubba – Amaranth Farms, Humboldt

Flower – Pre-Roll

Talking Trees Farms Mixed Light “It’s It” Pre-Roll – Talking Trees Farms, Humboldt

Breeders Hall of Fame

Mel Frank

Breeders Cup 

POG (Passion Orange Guava) – Greenshock Farms, Mendocino

BHO Liquid

1. Zkittles – Terp Hogz/Humboldt Terp Council,  Mendocino
2. Banjo – Humboldt Terp Council, Humboldt
3. ErrlHill-BlueBerryMuffins live resin from the Humboldt Seed Company – ErrlHill x The Humboldt Seed Company, Humboldt
4. Forbidden Jelly Suprize – Suprize x Neukom Family Farms, Humboldt
5. Peach Z – Humboldt Terp Council, Humboldt

BHO – Solid

1. Rainbow Driver Suprize Suprize – Sabertooth Farms, Humboldt
2. Strawberry Banana Batter ArcataX, Royal Budline, Humboldt
3. Live Resin Project Red Congolese CWG Botanicals, Alameda
4. Hibiscus Batter ArcataX, Fire Mountain Farm, Humboldt Seed Co., Humboldt
5. Larry Bird Live Resin Budder Big Oil, Co (Bear Labs), Critical Concentrates, San Bernadino

Carts – CO2 

1. Nectar – Ancient Lime Eel River Organics, Humboldt
2. Elevated Sativa Vape Cartridge – Humboldt Alchemy Group, Humboldt
3. Ghost Train Haze – Accentian x Gold Drop, Alameda
4. Key Lime Pie 1902 -Wildseed, Humboldt
5. Forbidden Fruit 1901 – Wildseed, Humboldt

Carts – Distillates

1. The Monarch Tangie – Legion of Bloom of Bloom x Ridge Top Botanicals –  Sonoma
2. Roses Sauce Cartridge – Beezle Brands, Sonoma
3. The Monarch Banjo Solventless Terpenes – Legion of Bloom x Humboldt Trees, Sonoma
4. Sherbert Sauce Cartridge – Beezle Brands, Sonoma
5. Pineapple Muffin Live Terp Distillate Cartridge – Bloomfield, Nevada

Carts – Live Resin

1. Lime Mojito Refined Live Resin Cartridge – Raw Garden, Santa Barbara
2. California Sauce Lemon Cake – Legion of Bloom, Sonoma
3. Blue River x Talking Trees Angel Food Cake Jelly Cart – Advesa Wellness x Talking Trees, Alameda
4. Raspberry Punch Refined Live Resin Cartridge – Raw Garden, Santa Barbara
5. URSA Liquid Diamond Sauce Cartridge – Lemon Tree URSA Extracts Humboldt

CBD – Tincture

1. Chemistry x Lady Sativa Farm: Lady Benbow Full Spectrum High CBD Tincture SG Scientific x Chemistry x Lady Sativa Farm, Alameda
2. Fiddler’s Green ACDC Rogue Tincture – Fiddler’s Green (High Tide Mfg. Inc), Sonoma
3. Humboldt Harvest Tincture-wellbeing CBD Rich – Humboldt Harvest, Humboldt

CBD – Topicals

1 Deep Soak – Newell’s Botanicals, Sacramento
2 REWIND for Restoration – MPlant Productions, San Mateo
3 High CBD Tincture – CAD, Sacramento

CBD – Hemp Topicals

1. CBD Infused Body Oil Rose Geranium – Akashic Creations DBA Om Wellness, Alameda
2. Weed Sport CBD – Canna Sport CBD, Los Angeles
3. CBD Athletic Epsom Salt – Akashic Creations DBA Om Wellness, Alameda

CBD – Carts Product Name Entrant County

1. Chemistry x Wildland Farm: Electric Jah Full Spectrum Cart – SC Scientific, Alameda
2. Humboldt Alchemy’s Cannatonic 6:1 CBD Vape Pen Cartridge – Humboldt Alchemy Group, Humboldt
3 Island Twist Refined Live Resin CBD 2:1 Cartridge – Raw Garden, Santa Barbara

CBD – Edibles

1. SolDaze Tropical Mango Fruit Bites – SolDaze, Stanislaus
2. Somatik Golden Berry – Sparks Somatik x Endorphin Foods, San Francisco
3. SolDaze Strawberry Mango CBD – Lyfted Farms, Stanislaus

CBD – Concentrates

1. Susie Q Live Budder – Blessed Extracts, Yolo

Edibles – Sweet

1. Cannabis Infused Granola Clusters – Atlas Edibles, Alameda
2. Binske Gummy Mango 100mg – Binske, Humboldt
3. Strawberry & Rhubarb – Coda, Alameda
4. Hard Coffee Drops – Ms. Greenfields Exquisite Edibles, Sacramento
5. Pear & Ginger Fruit Notes – Coda, Alameda

Edibles – Savory

1. All Natural Peanut Butter Zendo Edibles Orange
2. Mandarin Teriyaki THC Infused Beef Jerky Sticks – Stoned Age Edible Company, Alameda

Edibles – Beverage

1. Tinley High Horse Spicy Ginger & Lime Sparkling Tonic – Vet’s Leaf & Lakewood Libations, Riverside
2. Tinley ’27 Coconut Cask Elixir – Vet’s Leaf & Lakewood Libations, Riverside
3. Pink House of Saka, Napa
4. DRENCH Unflavored IHP – Integrative Health Products, Santa Cruz
5. High Dose Adaptogenic Cold Brew THC Coffee – Somatik, San Francisco

Ice Water Hash

1. THC BOMB 104u Water Hash – Papa’s Select grown by Humboldt Kine Farms, Humboldt
2. Peanut Butter Breath 104u Water Hash – Papa’s Select grown by Humboldt Kine Farms, Humboldt
3. Wedding Crasher 104u Water Hash – Papa’s Select Grown, Humboldt
4. Cherry Blossom Full Melt – Kalya Brand, Alameda
5. Sour Diesel Full Melt – Kalya Brand, Alameda

Packaging – Eco-Conscious

MMGreen Cannaster – MMGreen Packaging Solutions, Santa Cruz

Packaging – Most Innovative

SULA Breathable Cannabis – Dispersa Labs, Alameda

Solventless Rosin Winners

1. Fruit Stripe Rosin – Zenganic Inc. Kalya Extracts, Sours, Alameda
2. Banana Cream Rosin – Zenganic Inc., Kalya Extracts & Monterey Kush Co., Alameda
3. Garlic Juice Rosin – Zenganic Inc, Kalya Extracts, Dancing Dog Ranch, Alameda
4. Moonbow Premium Rosin – F/ELD, F/ELD X Alien Labs, Los Angeles
5. Tar Hill Pink Lemonade Premium Live Rosin – Papa’s Select, Grown by Tar Hill Cannabis, Humboldt
6. Lemonhead Zkittlez Live Rosin – Terphogz, Mendocino
7. Runtz Rosin – Zenganic Inc. Kalya Extracts & Sky High Humboldt, Alameda
8. Sugar Cone Premium Rosin –  F/ELD, F/ELD X Connected, Los Angeles
9. Passion – Suprize Suprize, Humboldt
10. Pineapple OG Live Rosin – Terphogz, Mendocino


1. Elderberry Elixer – OM Edibles, Alameda
2. Equanimity Tincture – Bloomfield, Nevada
3. Humboldt Harvest Tincture – THC Humboldt Harvest, Humboldt
4. Botanist Herbal Series CALM Tincture – CWG Botanicals – Alameda
5. Living Tincture – Papa & Barkley, Humboldt


1. Deep Down Athletic Balm – Cosmic View, Marin
2. Brightening Eye Cream Green Bee Botanicals, San Francisco
3. Love Balm Om Edibles, Alameda
4. Rose Geranium Bath & Body Oil Om Edibles, Alameda
5. Deep Skin Newell’s Botanicals, Sacramento

TELL US, what strain do you think deserves to win accolades?

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