The Emerald Cup takes place this weekend at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Photo: Kent Porter.

The Emerald Cup takes place this weekend at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Photo: Kent Porter.

For the third year in a row the Emerald cup will return to the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds (Dec. 12-13, 2015).  The Emerald Cup has been running for 12 years, sussing out the best outdoor organic marijuana Northern California has to offer. There is a judged competition as well as more than 150 cannabis-related vendors for visitors.

This isn’t your typical Cannabis Cup or Hempcon. While pot is the main focus, and there will be great live music, that’s about all they have in common.

I have gone to the cup the previous years it has been at the fairgrounds and had a great time.

emerald_cup_logoWho can go: Anyone over the age of 18 can attend. While it is focused around medical marijuana, there are quite a few areas where you don’t need a medical marijuana prescription to visit. Only patients with a 215 may enjoy the outdoor medicating section, as well as some areas of the event. There is a charge of $55 per day, or $100 for the weekend. Doors open at 11a.m.

What’s New: The Emerald Cup is setting a precedent by requiring the edible companies to limit the amount of pot in their samples, the same goes for smokeables in the 215 area.   The goal here is to sample not to overdo it, and I commend them on this.

Tim Blake is the founder of the cup, and has watched it grow into one of the top competitions for outdoor organic medical marijuana in the country.     

I had a chance to chat with Tim and Taylor Blake about the Cup.  This year was the first time they had to charge for each entry to cover testing and other costs of judging. This didn’t discourage many people entering, only about 200 fewer submissions.

What else to check out: The amount of speakers scheduled to speak is quite robust as well, including Ed Rosenthal, Permaculture Teacher dan MarDr. Bonni Goldstein will be speaking on the endocannabinoid system and many more.

The speakers and panel discussions during the day are great, and I always walk away with some great knowledge.

Pace, Pace, Pace:  In the 215 area, there are a lot of things to sample (150 vendors).  Even with the restrictions they have put in place, I strongly encourage you to pace yourself.  Don’t try everything — I personally don’t eat edibles at events.  There are a few reasons for this.  Edibles take a while for any effects to be felt, which makes it easy to lose track of the potency and amount you have ingested from what vendor, and I’m fairly sensitive to edibles as well.

If you smoke at the event, once again I strongly advise you to pace yourself.  The THC and CBD ratios can vary greatly, so ask the vendors questions.  You are definitely going to want to save some energy for the music performances on Saturday evening if you like reggae.

The Emerald Cup includes many Sonoma County local people and businesses that are part of our community, like Care By Design and Absolute Extracts, who come together to showcase Northern California’s bounty.

Just like pot, this event isn’t for everyone.  But if you have a 215 it is a great chance to see (and sample) the local bounty.