SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) — There was a lot of buzz surrounding the state’s biggest pot fair this weekend in Santa Rosa.
“This is it for us. This is our main, huge gathering of everyone,” Emerald Cup Organizer Jordan Caballero said.
The Emerald Cup is the largest gathering of outdoor organic marijuana growers in the nation. The Sonoma County Fairgrounds welcomed 30,000 people this weekend with information booths, product displays and even a competition between farmers.
“They’re looking for taste, smell, effect, uh, quality, how well it was trimmed – all those kind of things, just like any other agricultural product,” Caballero said.
A win at the Emerald Cup can set a grower up in business – much like winning an Oscar or Grammy. Linda Prestyly grows cannabis in Mendocino County and seemed equally proud of her daughter and her best bud.
“The world is just changing, let’s just say that, and I think we’re all open to the change and acceptance, obviously with 30,000 people plus here,” Oceanea Prestyly, whose mother grows marijuana, said.
Until now, the medical marijuana debate has been about easing sick people’s suffering. But, when Proposition 64 passed, legalizing recreational marijuana for adults, it threw open the door to the business of weed. When it goes into effect in 2018, Emerald Cup founder Tim Blake believes the debate will be over.
“And I think, really, it’s the turning point of going over the top of the roller coaster. There’s no turning back and we’ll see full legalization in a couple years,” Blake said.
But, cannabis is still illegal under federal law, and Blake says he believes President Trump may surprise people by treating it as a state’s rights issue.
“And so, I’m a liberal Democrat that actually believes more in Donald Trump than I do in the Clinton family or the Bushes or the Obama’s,” Blake said.
Events like the Emerald Cup are taking the growing and selling of marijuana out of the shadows, and most attendees believe it’s high time they did.