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The Emerald Cup Soiree on the Bay

The vibe this year was one of hopeful anticipation tempered with battle-weathered weariness...

Mike Rosati

A familiar and familial energy marked the return of the Emerald Cup awards to the Bay Area in May. Now in its nineteenth year, the storied awards ceremony moved to the Craneway Pavilion on the Richmond waterfront. Hopeful competitors and craft-conscious connoisseurs of the California Cannabis community filled the space with the cacophony of excited conversation as everyone waited for the ceremony to begin.

Emerald Cup
Mike Rosati

This time presented by rolling paper producer OCB, the Cup once again featured a deep bench of terpene-rich sungrown flower – a staple of the awards since the event’s birth in Mendocino nearly two decades ago. Some of the best indoor flower on the planet once again made its return, feeling more at home in its second year of inclusion in the Cup.

The vibe this year was one of hopeful anticipation tempered with battle-weathered weariness, as an ever-evolving community once again gathered to take stock after surviving another year of change. New players and familiar faces mingled, the highlights were many, and one thing was for certain: The California Cannabis community still loves to party. 

Emerald Cup
Mike Rosati

Adding a distinctly baller vibe to the proceedings, Guild Extracts supplied their legendary yacht to the event, serving as the VIP lounge for the competitors and sponsors, disembarking for occasional smoked-out cruises around the Bay. Celebrated event producer and activist Alex Aquino earned the Trailblazer Award – one of a number of honorary awards given to those who’ve made significant contributions to the community over the years. Other honorary awards went to the Hash Queen, Mila Janssen, who received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, Weldon Angelos who was given the Social Justice Award, as well as Amber Senter (Visionary Award) and Soma (Breeders Hall of Fame Award). 

Hash and other products made with Huckleberry Hill’s famed flower once again took the podium multiple times, with their Heritage Hash collabs winning Best Ice Water Hash (Whitethorn Rose Live Bubble Hash) and Best Infused Solventless Pre-Roll (Whitethorn Rose flower x Whitethorn Rose Bubble Hash). 

Emerald Cup
Mike Rosati

Rebel Grown walked away with the coveted hardware for Best Sungrown Flower for its Double OG Chem #15, thrilling the fans of old school OG and Chem terps. The farm also won the Sungrown Breeder’s Cup Award with that strain.

The insanely delicious Ridgeline Lantz won both the Mixed-Light Flower Award and the Mixed-Light Breeder’s Cup Award, cementing the fairly new cultivar’s place in the ranks.

Space Gems’ Wendy Baker won the coveted Best Gummy Award for her Sour Spacedrops, and Moonstone Medicinals bested the beverage category with their Herba Mate Lemon Mint. 

One of the biggest thrills of the night was seeing the legacy legends from Fig Farms win Best Indoor Flower, as well as overall Best in Show for their Blue Face – a cross between Face Off OG and Animal Mints.  

Emerald Cup
Mike Rosati

As ceremony emcee El Rock took the show to a close and Tim and Taylor Blake prepared for the all-night party that’s the staple of the Emerald Cup experience, one thing was for certain: The Emerald Cup and the California Cannabis community had done it again. 

We can’t wait to see what next year has in store. Find the entire list of winners at theemeraldcup.com

Photos by @rosatiphotos

About Tom Bowers

Tom Bowers is in this with all of you.

This article was originally published in the June 2023 issue of California Leaf.

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