This week we’re looking at one of California’s premier cannabis families, Emerald Cup founder Tim Blake and his daughter Taylor, the event’s associate producer.

The pair recently made waves when they announced the Emerald Cup awards ceremony would move from its traditional home in northern California to Los Angeles. It will still incorporate a harvest event element in Santa Rosa that will serve as the official start of entries being received.

“It’s really exciting because we’re still keeping the December show, so it’ll be December with genetics – you know, real like rootsy and community in Santa Rosa – and then springtime in L.A.,” Taylor told L.A. Weekly.

The Blakes give Willie Nelson his lifetime achievement award.

Even though that harvest element will remain in Wine Country, the idea of taking the global cannabis industry’s most cherished awards show from its ancestral homeland was major. For some old-school growers, the idea of the cup moving to L.A. reinforces their fears about where cannabis is heading. Tim spoke on those tough conversations.

“It was a very challenging discussion, and we went around and around about that,” Tim replied. “We’re getting some flak from that, but we got that same flak when we moved to Santa Rosa. People thought we were abandoning the tribe.”

He said while that first year in Santa Rosa was a tough pill for many to swallow, they heard about how well their peers directly connected with their consumers. By year two it was all aboard. It’s fair to expect this move to the world’s largest municipal cannabis market will likely avoid those growing pains.

“I think what’s really exciting about the opportunity is taking the magic and the essence of Northern California and bringing that down to Southern California. I think there’s definitely a line between Northern California and Southern California. We’re very proud Northern California people, but we are still all in the same state,” Taylor said. “I think we’ll have the best of both worlds by keeping our roots in Northern California but extending down to L.A., especially for the awards. So that way, the winners are in the biggest marketplace in the world for cannabis. I think that’s where they want to be.”

Tim elaborated further on their hopes of connecting the OGs of the Emerald Triangle with L.A.

“It’s always been our dream to bridge the gap between the cannabis communities of Northern and Southern California,” Tim said. “Both bring unique offerings to the table for the industry. With our first-ever Southern California show, we plan on providing our contestants, vendors, speakers and sponsors with the preeminent platform in the world’s largest cannabis marketplace.”

Tim said those who are bummed about the plan should keep their head up. It’s just another attempt by the Emerald Cup team to help the winners make the most of it and to drive even more appreciation for all the other deserving folks that make the various podiums in the process. Not to mention, this all happens in the process of further connecting all the different circles in the industry.

“Some in our community have voiced their disappointment in our announcement to move the awards ceremony to L.A.,” Tim said. “We want to make it clear that we are not abandoning our NorCal community. For those that love our event in Northern California, we will still be there in December celebrating the fall harvest together. For those that want to go along for the ride to Southern California in the springtime, hop in the spaceship and enjoy the journey with us.”

Also on the controversial side, this year’s pandemic rendition of the cup featured the first-ever indoor category. While some of the sun-grown crowd were a little salty at first, it felt like it slid right in as the awards were livestreamed to 30,000 people globally.

“I was surprised, because we got more flak bringing in the hemp than we did the indoor,” Tim said. “People really didn’t mind the indoor. They understood it.”


LA Weekly