California State Fair Announces Cannabis Competition

When California legalized adult-use cannabis in 2018, it ushered in a new era for the legal market, which has since grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry.

Being fully established as a legitimate industry in the Golden State, cannabis will be coming to the California State Fair in Sacramento for the first time next year.

On Tuesday, September 21, the California State Fair announced the addition of the first-ever state-sanctioned cannabis competition.

“We are pleased to celebrate California’s legal and licensed cannabis industry as part of the CA State Fair in 2022,” says California Exposition & State Fair Board of Directors Chair Jess Durfee. “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 California State Fair says that the Cannabis Competition and Awards will join a list of coveted annual competitions that honor California’s agricultural history and dynamic industries like wine, craft beer, and cheese.

The awards are the result of a partnership between the California Exhibition & State Fair and Cultivar Brands.

Cultivar Brands is a California-based cannabis marketing and events agency specializing in creating programs that continue moving cannabis into the mainstream.

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

Submissions to the competition, which is open to all licensed California cannabis growers, are divided into Indoor, Mixed Light, and Outdoor categories.

According to the California State Fair, the competition will award medals for cannabis flowers only, showcasing their primary terpenes and cannabinoids.

Judges will identify and test seven individual cannabis plant compounds for awards.

There will be 77 gold, double gold, silver, and bronze medals awarded for cannabinoid and terpene concentrations.

Also among the awards will be the coveted Golden Bear trophy for Best in California.

Scoring for the competition will be objective, utilizing science-based analysis certified and performed by cannabis and hemp testing lab SC Labs.

SC Labs will provide competitors with Certificates of Analysis and PhytoFacts chemometric reports that identify compounds within submissions to determine award winners in the competition.

SC Labs President Josh Wurzer says he is excited to be involved in the state fair because it is the traditional place where the agricultural community showcases their best work.

“This just further validates cannabis as part of that community,” says Wurzer. “As a cannabis scientist, it’s really cool to see an event like this putting the data and analytics at the forefront of the process. It’s making a big leap forward for the application of quantitative cannabis testing to actually measure the qualitative aspects of cannabis.”

The CA will take place July 10-22, 2022, at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds in Sacramento, California.

The submission window opens on November 1, 2021, and closes on March 30, 2022.

Competition winners will be announced in May 2022.