One of our favorite times of the year has begun – Emerald Cup judging. 

Over the last four years, L.A. Weekly has had the best seat in town for cup judging. We were on hand for the final flower and solventless judging in 2018, and in 2019, I joined the BHO team as a judge, before moving over to the solventless team last year. I’ll be returning to help the solventless team again in 2022. 

But L.A. will be well-represented in the flower judging that started last weekend. Among those making the trip north to help the Blake Family find the finest flowers in all the land is AHHS owner Jason Beck. While Beck is a regular voice on all things L.A. cannabis, this will be his first time judging The Emerald Cup’s prestigious flower category.

Beck is no stranger to grading cannabis in the two decades since he opened his dispensary, be it cups or whatever comes through the doors in hopes of making its way to his shelf. But this year, the Emerald Cup is going even deeper into the way it categorizes strains. 

“It was amazing,” Beck told L.A. Weekly of the SC Labs presentation on how the entries were categorized by terpene profile. “I compared it to speed dating, but for weed. Because you have all of the jars out there, and your whole objective first off is to identify what your favorite jar is out of everything and to what are your favorites in each category? Keep an eye out next week for our talk with SC Labs about the new terpene categorizing process.

Beck felt like that first pass on the hunt for excitement was about the look, smell and touch. This was before he’d even consumed any nugs, as he perused jars on the hunt for the first thing enticing enough to take to the next test, smoking it. 

Within the separate categories, the dessert profile is looking like an early leader when it comes to the number of entries. 

“I”ll say this, there’s definitely some dominant terpene profiles that were entered, as far as there’s a lot of Gelatos and Runtz, and those types of terpene profiles what they classify as the sweets or desserts type profile, and there’s definitely a lot of those in the mix,” Beck said. 

Beck is quick to point to the fact he is a fuel aficionado. Like many in L.A., he likes weed that smells like a gas station. Regardless, some of his favorite entries he’s seen so far are from the desserts category. He found that reality a bit surprising. 

“It’s great though, too, because there were a lot of gas entries,” Beck said. “So it shows that the gassy strains are coming back and there’s also a really significant amount of hazy, trainwrecky, Jackish type of strains as well.”

One of the funniest things about the whole circumstances is the fact Beck is widely known as an indoor guy, but he finds himself judging the world championship of outdoor pot. He will offer his skills to the indoor and mixed light categories, too. 

“Being someone that only likes indoor weed is some of the stuff in the Sungrown section,” Beck said, “There’s one entry in particular really, I was just like, holy shit. I can’t believe this is outdoor. And I was so impressed, it’s my favorite one in that category so far.”

The cup is essentially an extension of Beck’s daily life to an extent. He’s spent years always on the constant lookout for what’s the new latest and greatest or is really just the best in class. 

“And that’s really what I’m looking for,” Beck emphasized. “I call strikes and balls and you know, I’ve seen some phenomenal flower. I’ve also smelled some things and wondered why did these people even enter this? But nonetheless, it’s a fantastic competition and there is definitely some heat. For me to say that I found some outdoor that I actually liked and want to smoke, I think speaks for itself as far as to the level of the quality of the competition.”

Keep an eye out for the first glance at flower judging later in the week. 


Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.