MENDOCINO Co., 11/2/21 — Cannabis competitions may be a long standing tradition to Emerald Triangle residents, but this year, the California State Fair is getting into the mix with newly established cannabis awards added to the statewide event for 2022 for the first time in the fair’s 166 year history. For local farmers, whether or not the once illicit flower has been fully accepted as an agricultural crop, that means that cannabis flowers can be submitted to be judged at the fair alongside livestock, jam, gourds, and all the other bounty the Golden State has to offer — and entries are open now.
The state fair awards will be open to all state licensed cultivators, and submissions will be accepted until March 30, 2022, with the entries “evaluated and ranked based on total concentration of terpenes and cannabinoids and the ratio of cannabinoid-to-terpene content,” according to the competition’s website. Multiple samples will be accepted per cultivar, the guidelines note.
Winners will be announced in May 2022, and there will be a promotional tour in June, followed by an awards ceremony in July at the 17-day-long State Fair at the CalExpo center in Sacramento. All entries will be tested by SC Labs, including categories for indoor, outdoor, and mixed light, and more than 70 different awards will be open, including “best of California,” and “uniques.” The state fair, planned for July 2022, will feature a “21 and over interactive Cannabis Industry experience” with educational displays, but sales and consumption of cannabis with THC will be prohibited, according to the event website. There will also be no “homegrown” category for now, although it is under consideration for future years.
Long term Mendocino County residents may remember controversies over whether cannabis could be considered agriculture in various regulatory contexts, reaching back to county crop reports written in 1979, to disagreements over whether cannabis events like the Emerald Cup were allowed or appropriate for state fair grounds, to the development of cannabis appellations — debates which continue to shift and evolve as full commercial legalization settles in. Some of those local cultivators are now serving as official “ambassadors” for the state fair awards, including Marty Clein of Martyjuana, based in Covelo, and Nikki Lastreto and Swami Chaitanya of Swami Select, based outside Laytonville.
Information about how to enter and more about the competition can be found here. The initial announcement of the cannabis awards can be found here.