The Emerald Cup — Out Of The Shadows

California Assemblymember Jim Wood and State Board of Equalization Chair Fiona Ma will participate in the 13th Annual Emerald Cup, Dec. 10 and 11 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa.

The Cup’s "Government Agencies" panel will provide a picture of the current regulatory climate, not only for the end-consumer, but also for cultivators and workers within the industry. Sharing the stage at the Dec.10 panel with Ma and Wood, who has authored nine bills into law, including AB 243, the environmental cornerstone in California’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, are: moderator Jamie Kerr of Roots Consulting; Lori Ajax, chief of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation; organic farmer Brian Lehay, who is director of California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation, and John Nores of California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Emerald Cup founder Tim Blake of Laytonville says he’s amazed that the event has grown from a small local harvest party and contest into a massive gathering that will bring approximately 30,000 people to the Santa Rosa later this month.

“It’s been a blur it happened so quick,” Blake said. ”Thirteen years ago we only had a couple dozen entries and less than two hundred people at Area 101, and most people were afraid to show up, and a lot of people came in masks or disguises.

“It’s gone from what had been a completely illegal event to where it’s going to be a completely legal event.”

Performer Damian Marley, who is converting the old Coalinga State Prison into a cannabis farming business, will be the music headliner Saturday night.

Other entertainers are: Dirty Heads, Stick Figure, Tribal Seeds, California Honeydrop, Kabaka Pyramid, HIRIE, Raging Fyah, Nattali Rize, Vokab Kompany, Thrive, and Arden Park Roots.

Along with exhibits of cannabis-related products, a large 215 area will allow patients with medical prescriptions to buy and sometimes sample medicine offered by participating farmers, dispensaries, cooperatives and distributors.

Workshops and panels run all day. Scientists will address plant genetics and genome mapping as well as terpenes (key chemicals creating a plant’s odor and taste). Making concentrates organically will be one of several panels on cannabis manufacturing.

Hezekiah Allen, a third-generation Humboldt cannabis farmer who is now executive director of the California Growers Association, will participate in several panels, possibly “County Organizations Making a Difference” and “AUMA and MCRSA.” Drug Policy Alliance’s marijuana guru Amanda Reiman will also speak on several panels.

Blake said the Cup will present a new honorary “Regenerative Growers Award” and host a four-part series on regenerative farming.

“Regenerative farming is becoming a big word around here,” Blake said. “We’ve taken all our farmland and destroyed the topsoil all across the country, starting with the East Coast all the way out to the West. We have to stop putting in guano and amendments and fertilizers and get them out of our own back yards and farms and create living soil with worms and teaming with microbes and no pesticides.”

Blake said he used to be worried about the panels at the Cup because he wasn’t sure anyone would attend them. But he was wrong. “We received two standing ovations last year,” he said. “We’ll have almost 100 speakers going late at night on different stages we have so many speakers and topics.”

For more information about tickets, exhibitions, music, panels and speakers as they are rolled out, go to theemeraldcup.com. Doors to the Fairgrounds open at 11 a.m. Sat., Dec. 10 and Sunday, Dec. 11. The Sonoma County Fairgrounds are at 1350 Bennett Valley Rd, Santa Rosa, CA.

There is an age restriction of 18 or older for the event, and 21 or older for the 215 Area.

(Jane Futcher hosts The Cannabis Hour on KZYX.)

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