At The Emerald Cup’s inaugural Harvest Ball there was plenty of smoke in the air, but many found a higher level of enforcement than ever witnessed at a state-legal cannabis event.
Emerald Cup founder Tim Blake was quick to take the blame in a letter he sent to the Department of Cannabis Control following the cup, but he also offered a path forward.
Separately, some voices are concerned with the scale of the enforcement targeting small farmers attempting to stay above water. Is hounding miniature state-legal farms, 27 of which couldn’t even afford to be there without the cup’s support, about display jars really what’s going to break the underground market’s grip on most of the weed being sold in California?
Here is the Emerald Cup’s official response to last Saturday:
“After so long apart, the overwhelmingly positive feedback coming out of the Harvest Ball has been heartwarming as this much-needed reunion reminded so many of us what this culture is really about.
“Last weekend at the Emerald Cup’s Harvest Ball 2021, we were all caught off-guard and
disappointed by the numerous issues between ourselves, our vendors, exhibitors, sponsors, attendees with California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC).
“On behalf of the Emerald Cup organization, and as founder and creator of our Awards and Harvest Ball events, I want to personally take responsibility for the issues with the DCC this weekend. While we did everything in our power to create a safe atmosphere that celebrated the end of the harvest and our journey to the Cup with music, cannabis, conversation and advocacy, we were also navigating new regulations from the DCC at an inaugural event. We could have had clearer communication with all parties involved about these regulations and we are striving to address this immediately and work with the DCC in efforts to better inform, educate and regulate so we can excel as a team and not be adversaries. Our goal is always to build a bridge where there was battle, and to collaborate on actionable solutions that better the experience for everyone in our community at all of our events – from our exhibitors, sponsors, attendees, staff and even the DCC themselves.
“As the most iconic and longest running competition in California, Emerald Cup continues to be the leader and shining example of excellence in cannabis and live events. Over 17 years of competition and awards, the Emerald Cup organizers have worked with the DCC and every other California government agency, in a positive manner to successfully produce our iconic cannabis gatherings. We have spent countless hours guiding, educating, and collaborating with esteemed members of these regulatory agencies about various points of engagement including the legality and proper execution of on-site sales and consumption of cannabis. As an organization, we have invested an enormous amount of money and resources to ensure that there would be no complaints surrounding our events. We were even given a standing ovation at our 2019 post-production meeting from local law enforcement and various other city, county, and government agencies for producing incident-free large events at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. We’re very proud that there has never been any serious issues between DCC and Emerald Cup – this weekend included.
“We recognize the challenges the state and DCC are facing in dealing with the ever-changing and evolving state of the legal cannabis industry. However, what was encountered at our recent Harvest Ball event was an unexpected and unnecessary heavy-handed show of force to enforce new regulations. These rules continue to stifle our cannabis industry, specifically our already struggling sponsored small farms vendors who were part of the ‘Craft Cannabis Marketplace.’ It fails the consumers on many levels – as it prevents opportunity for education and engagement for those looking for plant-based solutions.
“If these outdated regulations continue, cannabis events will cease to exist. There is a tremendous need for there to be as many public cannabis sales events – from large ones down to farmers’ markets – as possible. Small farmers and craft cannabis product makers, as well as large corporate cannabis companies, need these outlets to get direct access to consumers, and consumers need and deserve direct access to cannabis companies.
“Knowing that there is power in our collective voice, our top priority is to come together as a community and agree to what reasonable terms for future cannabis events that we can exist and prosper under. We extend an invitation to the Emerald Cup community, the greater cannabis industry and other notable players in the event world to set up advisory town hall meetings as soon as possible. As industry leaders, we will take charge towards building a consensus on improving these regulations in California so we can all work within them safely and profitably. Through these conversations and collaboration, we can share with the teams at DCC the shared responsibility of creating cannabis environments that all can enjoy and business can thrive in. It’s in the best interests of everyone in the boat to ensure that we’re all rowing towards a common goal. I am eager to pick up this flag and run with it as one of Emerald Cup’s 2022 community-aimed initiatives.
“With your feedback in my sails, I look forward to sitting down with our community and DCC for our first of many advisory meetings. I assure everyone that as an organization, Emerald Cup will be transparent in our progress on this effort.
“Thank you everyone for making the Harvest Ball 2021 a success. It was a privilege to celebrate our return with you.”
Founder and Executive Producer of Emerald Cup
With all that in the past, cup organizers now focus on the big move to L.A. and the contest has officially started! If you or your farm want to enter the Emerald Cup this year visit enter.theemeraldcup.com. We’ll have to wait a few months to see if you make it to the awards show stage!
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