Emerald Cup Marijuana Festival Draws 21,000 To Sonoma County Fairgrounds

CALIFORNIA: The Emerald Cup, the celebration of cannabis culture now in its third year in Santa Rosa, wrapped up its two-day run at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds on Sunday with its biggest attendance ever, showcasing some of the best outdoor organic marijuana in the world and the industry the plant has spawned.

The weekend event drew more than 21,000 people, according to organizer Tim Blake, compared to 13,000 last year and 7,000 in 2013, the first year it was relocated from Mendocino County, where it had its humble, more clandestine beginnings 12 years ago.

Billed as the equivalent of the Oscars for the cannabis industry, the event draws many producers from the so-called “Emerald Triangle” of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties, a business that organizers claim is the largest agricultural crop on the North Coast, and will grow even more with outright legalization — perhaps as soon as next year.

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CALIFORNIA: Wearing a straw hat and a big grin, farmer Casey O’Neill is busy greeting customers at a Saturday farmers’ market in Mendocino County, Northern California. “Another day in paradise,” he calls out, as one approaches. Fresh broccoli, courgettes and spring onions are on display on his table, all grown at his farm.

Next to the vegetables is a different kind of crop: mason jars full of marijuana buds, bearing handwritten labels such as “Lemon OG” and “Ogre Berry”. A bong sits at the front of the table, for sampling. “Wow, is that really grown outdoors?” says one shopper who takes a hit. Cannabis-infused honey, lip balm and chai tea are for sale at nearby stands.

Among the market-goers is a bright-eyed entrepreneur, Michael Steinmetz, a native of Venezuela based in San Francisco. He chats with farmers and shows around new staff members, who wear green T-shirts displaying the name of his company, Flow Kana.

The concept behind Flow Kana is simple: delivering farm-to-table cannabis that is organic and grown outdoors. Several of its partner farmers are at the market. When a Flow Kana customer orders some of O’Neill’s Ogre Berry strain, the buds will arrive at their door with a little label saying, “Grown by Amber & Casey”.