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WINNING WITHOUT INHALING

Move over, milk cows, Pipe down, pies. Stand aside, salads. There’s a new competition coming to the 2002 California State Fair in Sacramento that’s likely to attract a record amount of interest — cannabis flower.

Which is giving the crop its due respect: cannabis growing has been a vital part of California’s economy for years. The state generates more than $3 billion a year in licensed cannabis sales, and when you rank crops it comes in fourth, right behind dairy, almonds and grapes. (And arguably, if you add in illegally-grown cannabis, it is most likely number one.)

All licensed cultivators in the state will be eligible to submit their grown flower in the pursuit of more than 70 silver, gold and double gold medals — including nine “Golden Bear” trophies for “Best of California.” However, there won’t be a passel of judges walking from table to table taking respective tokes … it’s all going to be scored scientifically.

One of California’s premier cannabis and hemp testing laboratories will “judge” the competition by testing each cultivar for chemometric data. Specific terpenes and cannabinoids, and their levels of concentrations, will be used to determine winners.

Competition entrants will be classified by light source into three primary divisions: Indoor, Mixed Light, and Outdoor. Each division will have awards for 11 cannabis compound categories:

  • Dominant terpenes: Myrcene, Caryophyllene, Limonene, Terpinolene, Pinene, and Ocimene
  • Codominant terpene profile
  • Cannabinoids: highest THC and CBD
  • Specialty: Unique (rare) terpene and cannabinoid

The competition will be the first of its kind in the U.S.; while there are privately-run competitions within the industry such as the High Times Cannabis Cup, this marks the initial state‑sponsored event. So entries are due by March 30, 2022 … the award winners will be announced in May … and the strains will be showcased to the public at the Fair itself in July.

However, unlike jams and jellies, there will be no opportunity for public tasting: officials have already made clear the 2022 Fair will not allow cannabis sales or consumption. Nonetheless, cannabis will finally be recognized along with other agricultural products at the location where growers typically show off the best of the best.