Emerald Cup wrapped its second annual Harvest Ball this past weekend in Santa Rosa, CA. The organization continues to gather its community, celebrate small farms, and set the pace for global cannabis conversations while providing a platform for music discovery. The grassroots feedback on the historically inclusive festival has been overwhelmingly positive from the connoisseurs and curious who made the trip from around the world, particularly from brands and farmers who experienced large crowds of enthusiastic attendees all weekend long.
On Saturday, December 10th, a large and diverse crowd of cannabis fans converged at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, CA. The energy was electric despite periods of rain showers while consumers, industry leaders, and the Emerald Cup community poured into the festival to participate in thoughtful Emerald Cup Sessions panels, and listened to various musical performances from local and chart-topping artists. In a moment only possible at the Harvest Ball, CEO of Viola and 16-Year NBA Veteran, Al Harrington and Tim Blake shared a hug and conversation while at the Compound Genetics booth. Fans enjoyed top shelf cannabis, landrace-derived hash, and a wide selection of food trucks as they eagerly awaited a performance by E-40 to close out the day. Hyphy culture was in the air as E-40 delivered a high-wattage performance and brought out last year’s Harvest Ball performer, Keak Da Sneak for a surprise performance.
The Emerald Cup community showed up big, returning on Sunday, December 11th for Day 2 of the Harvest Ball. Building upon last year’s collaborative efforts with the Department of Cannabis Control, the Emerald Cup worked hard once again this year to ensure a safe and fun event for all. In a positive step forward, Day 2 kicked off with a passionate Emerald Cup Sessions panel held by the Department of Cannabis Control’s Eugene Hillsman, Deputy Director of Equity & Inclusion and Cassandra DiBenedetto, External Affairs, Chief Engagement Officer. Tim Blake took the Emerald Stage presented by Cookies on Sunday afternoon to bestow Terrance Alan the “Emerald Cup Legacy Award” for the LGBTQ+ advocate’s decades-long career in cannabis and amplifying awareness of the power of cannabis in San Francisco as the AIDS/ HIV epidemic swept through the nation. In 1996, after the passage of Prop 215, Terrance helped found the nation’s first non-profit dispensary, CHAMP (Californians Helping to Alleviate Medical Problems) which would eventually win a court case that eliminated sales tax from medical cannabis sales for patients in need. Terrance Alan dedicated his acceptance to fellow advocate Wayne Justmann, who helped pave the way for medical marijuana in San Francisco, CA. Tim Blake awarded the Social Justice Award to co-recipients Amy Ralston Povah of CAN-DO and Stephanie Landa of Freedom Grow Amy and Stephanie accepted their awards onstage with the Freedom Grow community behind them. Stephanie registered Freedom Grow a 501C3, as a way to legally and efficiently send money to prisoners incarcerated for cannabis-related crimes after her own incarceration and signifies the community support and resources behind incarcerated prisoners.
The late-day rain didn’t halt the festivities of the 2022 Harvest Ball, which closed out the weekend with the final show-stopping performance by Compton native, Channel Tres. Much like its reputation in cannabis, the Harvest Ball has always been a place of discovery and a platform for emerging talent on the rise (last year’s event featured a performance by Pitchfork’s Best New Artist Sudan Archives). Proclaiming “hello stoners” from the Emerald Stage at the start of his performance, Tres and his dynamic dancers brought the heat.