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travel | 01.29.2020

Would You Vote Weed to Win Best in Show at This State Fair?

Cotton candy, carnival rides, and now cannabis? This is possibly the coolest State Fair in history.

State fairs. They invoke images of Funnel Cakes, prize booths, and Ferris Wheels. Fairs boast competitions for the best animals and plant produce that farmers can bring forth. Every cannabis lover has dreamed of the day that cannabis garners the respect and acceptance of any other fine fruit or vegetable. Now, that dream verges on reality. This year, the Oregon State Fair will display winners of a 4-H style cannabis competition.

What it will look like

Amid contests for the biggest pumpkin and longest legume, cannabis has arrived. Due to the concerns over cannabis, some stipulations set it apart, literally. Instead of sitting alongside other plants and livestock, the plants have their own secure greenhouse in the commercial expo hall. The plants aren’t officially part of any agricultural competition, at least according to the State Fair.

Rather, they serve as an attraction for the Oregon Cannabis Business Council booth. Security guards will prevent anyone under 21 from viewing them. Regardless, the first ever live plant exhibition promises to garner huge interest. Don Morse, chairman of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council states:

We are very excited about it. It is going to be the first time in the nation’s history that cannabis plants will be exhibited at a state fair.

The judging

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Over 100 growers will bring their live plants to vie for colorful ribbons and $10,000 in prize money. The beautiful crop faces the scrutiny of 5 judges, including herb guru Ed Rosenthal. Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid groups face scrutiny on several levels, including:

  • Color
  • Shape
  • Node stacking and spacing
  • Aroma

The competition begins at the Oregon Cannabis Grower’s Fair. The 9 prize-winning plants will move on to the Oregon State Fair. Morse proudly states that the competition will have the traditional feel of agricultural competition.

We are doing it 4-H style. You get a blue, purple or yellow ribbon. We are celebrating the plant as a farm crop from Oregon.

Agricultural tradition slowly embracing cannabis

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This year, the State Fair celebrates 151 years of farming tradition. Their spokesman Dan Cox said,

The Oregon State Fair is approaching the whole arena of cannabis one step at a time. This serves as an incremental step in terms of the role of cannabis at the Oregon State Fair.

Last year, an educational booth on cannabis met with little controversy, but a lot of interest. Morse and the OCBC see this inclusion in a grander scale.

One of the mottos for the Oregon Cannabis Business Council is safe access in a socially responsible manner. We regularly reach out to the community with some form of education, to destigmatize the industry and the plant. For the people at the state fair to let this happen is really groundbreaking.

Other attractions at the State Fair

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In addition to the greenhouse gala, grow industry companies promise to be on hand. They plan to offer education and expert advice on topics including lighting, soil, and nutrients. Morse also said:

The Legislature has designated cannabis as a farm crop in Oregon, and we are treating it that way. This is the way to celebrate the plant and the grower. There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of.

A couple of other caveats also exist. Plants will not be in flower, and there also won’t be any consumption at the State Fair. The Oregon Cannabis Growers Fair takes place at the Oregon State Fairgrounds on Aug. 13 & 14. The Oregon State Fair takes place Aug. 26 – Sept. 5 in Salem.

Want to attend to fair for food, fun, and fantastic cannabis plants? Should every state include cannabis in crop competitions? Tell us on social media or in the comments below.

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