The California State Fair will include cannabis in their official agriculture competitions alongside other everyday agricultural staples next year. Here’s everything you need to know about the event and how to get involved if you want to enter the competition. 

Why California wants to include cannabis at the State Fair this year 

The California State Fair is held at Cal Expo in Sacramento every July. The event lasts 17 days and draws the attention of over 750,000 attendees, and creates a space where California can showcase its agriculture, culture, and diversity. 

Next year will mark the 166th annual tradition of the State Fair, where awards and competitions will be held alongside live concerts, carnival rides, food, and family fun. California’s State Fair is one of the largest and most successful state fairs in the country and is recognized as a leader in both entertainment and innovation in its programs and lineups. 

With that in mind, years after cannabis was legalized in California, they’d like to celebrate California cannabis for its agricultural history and join the roster of other agricultural annual competitions, including craft beer, cheese, wine, and olive oil. 

Including cannabis at the state fair is a direct line to destigmatizing cannabis and allowing it to become a regular part of our daily lives and culture. With an end goal of supporting licensed marketplaces and educating the public about cannabis, the fair aims to celebrate the innovation, craftsmanship, and leadership of California’s cannabis cultivators. Further, it’ll open the industry to new audiences and align with the state’s cannabis regulation agencies as no cannabis will be allowed to consume at the fair. 

About the Cannabis Agricultural Competitions 

The competitions will be broken down into three divisions based on what type of lighting is used to grow the plants: indoor, outdoor, and mixed light. The categories will identify the highest concentration of THC or CBD and Myrcene, Pinene, b-Caryophyllene, Limonene, and Terpinolene terpenes and compete for over 77 different awards. 

Instead of testing entries by misleading terms like indica, sativa, and hybrid, the fair aims to educate people on the different chemotypes (or terpene and cannabinoid profiles) of cannabis strains to help them make a more informed decision with cannabis. A chemistry-first approach makes it easier for consumers to understand how certain strains will affect them and creates awareness, interest, and a deeper understanding of cannabis chemistry. 

State Fair Awards 

So what’s at stake? There will be 77 awards: Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals for all seven categories for all three divisions for a total of 63 awards. 

Double Gold awards will also be issued to participants who achieve gold level results in two or more categories and several Exotics awards for entries that display unique, off-the-chart terpene profiles. 

Lastly, there will be seven Best of California awards. The award is a golden bear trophy awarded to the entries that receive the highest concentration of each compound, regardless of the division they entered in. 

Winners will be chosen for each category by division. Regardless of the award they win, winners get free PR and publicity, social media shoutouts, website features, tasting notes, a promotional and educational tour, medals and trophies, award-winner medallions for packaging materials, and free entry into the 2023 competition. 

How to get involved with cannabis at the California State Fair next year 

If you’re interested in bringing cannabis to the State Fair in 2022, there are a handful of different ways to get on board. 

You can become a sponsor at the event by getting in touch with them directly. There are several different levels of sponsorship available, all of which can help you grow your business and contribute to destigmatizing cannabis. You can also participate in the Cal Expo, which houses the State Fair and offers plenty of room for cannabis brands to mingle with consumers and other companies. 

However, if you’re interested in participating in the competitions, you can start by submitting an application on November 1st, 2021. Only licensed cannabis cultivators with a distributor license can participate. They must obtain a compliance COA through the fair’s partner SC Labs. The submission window ends in March 2022, and winners will be announced in May. 

You can enter as many different cultivars as you like, and you’ll get a discount on the more strains you submit. One submission will run you $250, but 4 will only run you $210 per strain. There will be a base fee for lab testing that will run you $420, and if you fail the test, you’ll have to pay another $420 to retest. 

At the end of the day, this is the first time that cannabis has been judged at a state fair since before prohibition. With many different legal issues, there may be a few kinks to work out this year. Still, ultimately the fair is a great way to destigmatize cannabis, educate the community, and celebrate the hard work cannabis cultivators put into their crop.

We’re looking forward to seeing it in the competitions next year. 

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