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Dab-A-Doo Northeast: Meltin’ in Massachusetts

People shared equipment with their neighbors and bonded over a beautiful shared experience.

Photos by Mallory Tjaden

The 2024 Northeast Dab-A-Doo got underway with a cast of 24 incredible competitors, each competing for a chance to win one of the most enduring and honorable competitions in the world of hashish. Created by Mila Jansen, the Hash Queen, Dab-A-Doo is a contest centered around traditional and modern forms of resin. This is the competition Jansen has spent the last decade of her life hosting all over the world, where some of the most respected people in cannabis have judged or competed in. Dab-A-Doo’s latest foray into the Northeast is the passion play of four talented individuals: Cassandra Purdy, Ben Handwerger, Ben McCabe and Ben Chambers.

Vegetarian chef, activist, and copyeditor for Mila’s book, Purdy first met Jansen at a High Times competition in Amsterdam during the ‘90s. The plan for Dab-A-Doo Northeast really started about four years ago when Purdy started the plans to open New England’s first Hash-centric dispensary. 

“Sweetgrass Botanicals is the only dispensary on the East Coast where you can watch the hash being made live,” she told Skunk. “Part of the mission is trying to connect with people who are into hash and gather together the whole community. From the start, we knew one of the best ways to do that would be to have a Dab-A-Doo.” 

When she got confirmation from Handwerger that the property they wanted was available, she knew this was going to be one for the books and enlisted the three talented Bens to help make the dream a reality. 

“There’s such an honor in getting to throw this event,” said Handwerger between puffs of a thumb-sized joint. “Mila is a legendary figure in our community and knowing that we can help create a moment like this is a dream come true.” 

This was a slightly more intimate version of the event, with 24 different flavors in the lineup, no dry sift category, and tons of on-site amenities. People sat together on long tables that formed a U-shape in front of Mila so she could interact with everyone. You almost had lunchroom-style groups forming, where people shared equipment with their neighbors who had traveled for the event and bonded over a beautiful shared experience. Mila expressed that this is one of the parts of the event she has treasured since its inception: “What I like about Dab-A-Doo most is that nobody’s looking at their bloody phone. Everybody’s communicating whether they’re from the same part of the world or not, and I think that’s so different from everything else today.” 

Along with cultivating a very community-session vibe, the team’s primary goal was to collaborate with Mila on some operational changes to the format of the competition. 

After listening to feedback from the community, especially around the subject of full melt, Cassandra and the three Bens wanted to update the way samples were distributed, which would preserve both temperature and terpenes. Every fifteen minutes, a new number was brought out and served to the judges, who looked over the jars before passing them down and closely examining their samples to better score each entry. Every maker was allowed to submit temperatures for both their larger jars and the portioned-out samples the judges received, ensuring the optimal appearance and consistency for each one.

“When we first started this ten years ago, there wasn’t this whole thing about temperature. There wasn’t even much that needed to be kept in a freezer,” said Mila. “I’m glad to see the updates and I think it was good to get them one at a time and not just in a big pile.” Judges like Dank Dutchess, Jenn Doe and Jillian Krall said they were also pleasantly surprised by the switch up. “At first it was a little slow but as we got going you really had to keep on your game to keep from falling behind,” Krall said between jars. 

One thing Purdy mentioned was the strong female presence, not only in the judges’ panel but in the entries as well. “We went to a tremendous effort to get not only women competitors but also women judges for the event,” said Purdy. 

Being from the West Coast, it was refreshing to see a lineup of names I didn’t immediately recognize from Cali’s competition circuit. There are so many Maine brands out there that you really got a chance to see what is making the state such a hotbed of up-and-coming hash and weed brands right now. Not to mention that the East Coast has a different set of favorite flavors, and the gassy, funky crowd was in full effect for this one and the full melt entries were outstanding examples of quality. 

Alongside the 16 different rosins and 8 different full melts, Dab-A-Doo attendees were served a menu of small plate snacks prepared by professionally trained chefs who sent out personal charcuterie boards, chimichurri steak, woodfired French onion pizzas and traditional Austrian desserts. A longtime chef, Purdy prepared the menu, and it cannot be understated how well-fed everyone was throughout this Dab-A-Doo. After sitting down, the only reason you’d need to stand up was to stretch your legs. They even made sure that before the full melt came out there was a coffee service and parchment paper delivered to the tables.

The soundtrack for both days was also an intentional pairing. A set of master musicians, Skot Hanna and Andy Algire calling themselves “Wallpaper Weird,” performed a ten-hour-long set that created an immersive soundscape with drums, guitars, electric sax and even a koto. There were times when you genuinely felt like the audio was transporting you to some science-fiction session on a faraway world. More than once I looked over and caught fellow judges Danny Danko and Adam Dunn grooving to the music. 

With any luck, the crew will bring this back next year and I hope that they keep the same feeling of event-with-a-competition instead of a competition event. Organizer Ben Chambers said, “We all worked so hard on this one that we’ll need a minute to look back and do some planning before next time, but I think everyone agrees there should be a next time.” 

The following morning, I asked Mila if she knew this was going to be such a special time. She turned her head towards the morning sun, inhaled from her spliff and smiled mischievously, “I knew it would all work but I didn’t dream it would unfold quite like this.”

Winners List


1. Michelin Terps “Super Boof” (jar 11)
2. Grow Space Killa “Hachimaki Grape Juice” (jar 12)
3. Third Shift Resin “Wedding Pie” (jar 15)

Full Melt

1. Third Shift Resin ”Stuntz” (jar 20)
2. Creme De La Creme “93 Octane” (jar 22)
3. Grind Cannabis “Halle Berry” (jar 21)

shopsweetgrass.com | @sweetgrassdispensarylee | @dab_a_doo-event | @milahashqueen | @werglz | @benjamenmccabe | @thecannacaptain

Photos by @mallorytdjaden

This article was originally published in the July 2024 issue of Northeast Leaf.

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