The Mat-Su Valley is synonymous with a few things: the Alaska State Fair, fresh produce, and Cannabis. The birthplace of the famed Matanuska Thunder Fuck (MTF) strain—or strains, depending on who you ask—Alaska has a rich history of cultivation that began in the 1930s. As part of Roosevelt’s New Deal, Palmer saw an influx of midwestern farmers who were sent to the Valley to establish an experimental agricultural colony.
By the 1970s, the free-spirited offspring of Palmer’s homesteaders had embraced growing another kind of crop—Cannabis. The state wasn’t far behind on realizing the potential of Cannabis and in 1975, Alaska became the second state to decriminalize the plant. One year later, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that Alaskans have a right to privacy which allowed them to possess and consume a small amount of marijuana for personal use in the home. Although it would be nearly 40 years before Alaska would fully legalize recreational Cannabis, the perceived support from the state kept the growing tradition alive.
On Saturday, Alaska’s best growers, extractors, and bakers went head-to-head to claim bragging rights for the state’s best weed at the first annual Leaf Bowl held at the Egan Center. Hosted by Leaf Magazines in conjunction with WeedMaps and Green Jar, the Leaf Bowl featured over 140 products from across the state.
“There have been so many different Cannabis events that haven’t done a great job representing the industry via transparent, unbiased judging. So, we decided to throw the Leaf Bowl with the intention of honoring the plant, sharing the best products possible, and showing off some of Alaska’s best products,” said Leaf Magazines CEO Wes Abney.
Focused on fairness, Abney called upon two of the biggest names in the industry to serve as guest judges. Longtime veterans of the iconic High Times magazine, Danny “Danko” Vinkovetsky, and Bobby Black both bring a wealth of knowledge to the competition.
“As far as I know, I’ve judged the most Cannabis competitions in the world. So yeah, I’ve definitely smoked a lot of weed in a lot of places,” said Vinkovetsky with a laugh.
Co-judging events across the US, Canada, and Amsterdam, the duo has a deep appreciation for all forms of the plants and were excited to dip into the famed Alaskan waters.
“Alaska has a long history of growing and the area is really famous in the industry and what we judged lives up to what I expected, as far as quality and uniqueness. Also, some of the strains were pretty unique to the region, so that was interesting as well,” said Vintovetsky.
As it turns out, Alaskans were just as excited to share the fruits of their labor with the judging panel.
“We may have been out of our minds doing so many categories but I’m not complaining at all,” laughed Black.
In all, 19 companies across Alaska were awarded for excellence in their chosen categories.
“I am beyond grateful to the community, our team, and everyone who celebrated with us,” said Abney.
The Leaf Bowl is heading to Oregon and Washington in early 2022 before returning to Alaska next summer.
2021 Alaska Leaf Bowl Winners
Winner – GMO Cookies #2 by AKO Farms LLC
Runner Up – God’s Gift #21 by Tanana Herb Company
Winner – #2 Mercy Fruit Haze by Mercy Tree of Alaska
Runner Up – #16 Lost Cause by Matanuska Medicine Woman
Winner – #6 Grape Kush by Great Northern Cannabis
Runner Up – #15 Kush Mints by BAM Alaska
Winner – Caramel Cookies CBD by Top Hat Cannabis
Runner Up – Lambs Bread 1:1 by Secret Garden
Infused Pre Roll
Winner – #1 Mercy Circus Infused Joints by Kreative Konfections
Runner Up – #2 Critical Hit by Great Northern Manufacturing
Pre Roll Traditional
Winner – #9 Orange Wedding Cake by Herbal Dreams
Runner Up – #2 GSC XTRM by Great Northern Cannabis
Winner – Transdermal Liquid Patch by Herban Extracts
Winner- CBD Bath Bomb by Great Northern Manufacturing
Winner – Tangie Sugar Wax by AKO Farms
Runner Up – Platinum Huckleberry Cookies Terp Sugar by Einstein Labs
Winner- Tropicana Cherry Live Rosin by Enlighten Extracts
Runner Up- Lemon Mints Live Rosin by Enlighten Extracts
Winner- Peaches & Cream by Einstein Labs
Runner Up- Obsession by Einstein Labs
Winner- Black Dog by Top Hat Concentrates
Runner Up- Wonka Bars by Top Hat Concentrates
Winner- Ghost Train Haze by Herban Extracts
Runner Up-Skywalker OG by Herban Extracts
Winner- High Tea by Lady Gray Medibles
Runner Up- Bake & Wake by Einstein Labs
Edibles Baked Goods
Winner- Snickering Doodles by Lady Gray Medibles
Runner Up- April’s Lemon Dreams by MoMo’s Bakery
Winner- Caramel Indica by North Infusions
Runner Up- Green Apple Boingos by MoMo’s Bakery
Winner- Peppermint Breath Spray by Herban Extracts
Runner Up- Lady Grays Tincture Sativa by Lady Gray Medibles
Winner- Happy Booch by Higher Altitude Manufacturing and Zip Kombucha
Runner Up- CBD Honey by Frontier CBDs