Judging cannabis on the competition stage | TheUnion.com

Judging cannabis on the competition stage


Cannabis will be judged between olives, grapes and oil paintings at the next California State Fair.

Although cultivators two states away can still be arrested for growing marijuana under federal law, state event organizers announced the first state-sanctioned cannabis competition will take place July 2022.

All licensed cannabis cultivators eligible to participate who choose to do so will be judged in three divisions: indoor, mixed light and outdoor. Judges will evaluate the quality of the flower and test the plant to determine the level of two cannabinoids — CBD and THC — and five terpenes, aromatic compounds that give certain varieties their characteristic smell.

The introduction of the new competition is a big step for the state, said representatives of the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, as both legal and illegal growers struggle with ongoing stigma that surrounds the industry, even after successful local legalization efforts.

Maggie Philipsborn, membership and education director for the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, said the competition’s introduction into a typically patriotic event highlights how crucial cannabis has become in the state’s agricultural landscape.

“If the state fair is the litmus for what is a crucial part of California’s agricultural landscape, then I hope it seems logical to the State Fair Board and all of its supporters and attendees to help the advocacy efforts to classify cannabis as an agricultural crop and regulate it as such in the future,” Philipsborn said.

According to the competition’s website, highlighting cannabis at the fair is an opportunity to educate the public, and destigmatize the conversation around marijuana.

The alliance said it hopes the cultural shift takes place in time to help the businessmen and women who paved the way, as opposed to large corporations.


Proposition 64 not only legalized recreational cannabis for adults under California law, but barred the state from licensing any farm larger than one acre until 2023.

Cannabis has not been federally recognized as an agricultural product.

Nevada County’s Chief Fiscal Officer Martin Polt said because there are no unincorporated cannabis retailers in Nevada County, local government generates cannabis tax revenue purely from cultivators.

Since the first tax revenue was collected by Polt’s department in January 2020 through August 2021, the county has collected $595,000 in revenue from licensed growers.

Although the future of the individual cannabis farmer is uncertain, the industry is certain to generate revenue on behalf of the state.

According to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, the state has collected $1.1 billion dollars in tax revenue in 2020 alone.

As the state generates revenue from an industry it once criminalized, district attorneys have made sweeping motions.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Monday that his office will dismiss 60,000 marijuana convictions.

Recreational cannabis is legal in 18 states across the United States. An additional 13 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized its use.

“Every opportunity to further recognize cannabis as an agricultural crop is a step in the right direction,” Philipsborn said. “I hope that this news from the California State Fair helps to move statewide advocacy forward towards cannabis being designated as agriculture.”

The first iteration of the competition will take place during the 166th California State Fair. According to the website, the 17-day event showcasing the state’s agriculture and culture attracts over 750,000 attendees to the Cal Expo in Sacramento every July.

To enter in the July 2022 competition, visit calexpostatefair.com/participate/competitions/california-cannabis.


Price of Entry:

SC Labs Certificate of Analysis (COA): $420

Submission Fee for an individual strain: $250

Discounts for multiple strain submissions:

2 strains – $225 (each)

3 strains – $220 (each)

4 strains – $210 (each)

The submission window officially opens Nov. 1, and closes March 30.

Winners will be announced in May.

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