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California State Fair Announces First-Ever Cannabis Competition



This week, the California State Fair announced the addition of the first-ever, state-sanctioned cannabis competition and awards. They will join a roster of coveted, annual competitions celebrating the Golden State’s rich agricultural history and dynamic industries including wine, craft beer, olive oil, and cheese.

This announcement comes about five years after California voters approved an initiative to legalize marijuana for adult use.Since that time, it has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry.

“We are pleased to celebrate California’s legal and licensed cannabis industry as part of the CA State Fair in 2022,” said Jess Durfee, director of the California Exposition & State Fair Board. “For the past 166 years, the CA State Fair has always been a first mover, leading the State Fair circuit with innovative programming and large-scale competitions that celebrate the best the state has to offer, making the addition of cannabis cultivation a natural new category.”

The awards have been developed in partnership between the California Exhibition & State Fair, an independent state agency established by law under California’s food and agriculture code, and Cultivar Brands, a California-based cannabis marketing and events agency who specializes in the creation of programs that continue to move cannabis into the mainstream.

Governor Gavin Newsom is an ex-officio member of the fair’s board of directors, as are several state lawmakers.

“The launch of state-sanctioned awards is a watershed moment for the California cannabis industry,” Cultivar Brands CEO Brian Applegarth said. “Not only will we showcase that California farmer, large and small, and the incredible cannabis flower that the state has to offer, but We will also educate, demystify the plant, challenge the stereotypes, and continue to evolve towards normalcy.”

The competition is open to all licensed growers in California, and entrants will be classified into three classifications representing three primary divisions for submission by light source: Indoor, Mixed Light, and Outdoor. Medals will be awarded for the cannabis flower only, showcasing the primary cannabinoids and terpenes expressed in the cannabis flower.

A total of 77 medals will be awarded including the coveted Golden Bear trophy for “Best for California.”

The competition will be scored objectively, through science-based analysis performed and certified by SC Labs, one of California’s premier cannabis and hemp testing labs. SC Labs will provide all entrants with the required Certificate of Analysis (COAs), as well as a PhytoFacts chemometric report that will identify all the unique compounds of the submission to determine the award winners.

“I’m really excited to be involved with the state fair because it is the traditional place where the agricultural community comes to show off their best work,” SC Labs Co-founder and President Josh Wuzer said. “This further validates cannabis as part of that community.”

The first-ever California State Fair Cannabis Competition and Awards will evaluate the 2021 harvest and celebrate the award winners during the CA State Fair set to take place July 10-26, 2022, at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds in Sacramento. The submission window opens on November 1, 2021 and will remain open until March 30, 2022. Award winners will be announced in May 2022.

On the other side of the country in New York, officials announced ahead of this year’s State Fair that, since cannabis was legalized in the state earlier this year, adults could consume marijuana in any place where tobacco use is permitted.

Although the California event will host the cannabis competition, officials clarified that “there will be no sales or consumption of cannabis products containing THC at the CA State Fair in 2022.”

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