The Emerald Cup Awards (ECA) has pledged its support to the heart of their community, the small farms that have built and fuel the cannabis industry, many of whom are currently facing extinction by the current cannabis pricing collapse compounded by overbearing regulations. At the upcoming Emerald Cup Harvest Ball (www.theemeraldcup.com), Dec. 11 & 12, 2021, founder Tim Blake has made the crisis a major focus of ECA programming for the coming year with the goal of mobilizing and supporting the community via the ECA platform.
In an act of instantaneous support for those in crisis, the organizers have created a dedicated Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative, which will provide twenty-seven (27) qualified small farm exhibitors with pro-bono presence at the Harvest Ball. This initiative will be led by a council of community leaders, including Michael Katz of the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, Genine Coleman of Origins Council, Chris Anderson of Redwood Roots Distribution, Nicholas Smilgys of Mendocino Cannabis Distribution, and Traci Pellar of the Mendocino Producers Guild, will launch at the Harvest Ball Craft Cannabis Marketplace and will continue at the Spring 2022 event in Southern California. Selected applicants will have the ability to present their products to attendees with premium placement on the market floor, a reduced concession arrangement, and heightened promotion to drive attendees to seek and support these small farms during the event and beyond. With the vision of lifting up and amplifying these small farms in the global marketplace, The Emerald Cup envisions this program as the first immediate step to support the community of the Emerald Triangle to prevent its disappearance.
As with any important initiative, the first challenge facing the Emerald Cup organization is determining selection criteria. With literally thousands of small farms and businesses struggling in the California cannabis market, and the organization’s sincere desire to help each and every one, this is an incredibly difficult task. To structure this effort, Emerald Cup evaluated license distribution among Northern California’s heritage cannabis-producing counties with active ordinances. An independent body, the Council has allocated a proportional number of possible participants to each county. This first event of the Harvest Ball will support four (4) operators each from Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity Counties, three (3) each from Nevada and Sonoma Counties, and two (2) each from Lake, Calaveras, and Santa Cruz counties. An additional three (3) slots will be made available for approved Social Equity Operators as defined by the requirements of these areas.
Participants that meet the criteria will be selected at random by lottery from all approved applicants from a given county. All applications are due by Saturday, November 13, 2021. Participants will be notified and announced on November 15, 2021. Each selected applicant will be able to offer up to three product SKUs for sale at the specially created Harvest Ball Craft Cannabis Marketplace during the event.
“Burdensome and complicated regulations, over-taxation, and lack of access to market are destroying the small farmers who have pioneered and led the industry with innovation and quality,“ says Emerald Cup founder and CEO Tim Blake. “Small growers face challenges like prohibitively expensive permitting, legal fees, and rising taxes encouraging many of them to remain on the unregulated or “Traditional” market. Perhaps worst of all, most of these small growers are also located in the legendary Emerald Triangle region of Northern California, an area continually devastated by ongoing wildfires.”
“The damage is done, there is no escape. Now we are in first responder mode,” continues Tim Blake. “Proposition 64 promised that no farms larger than one acre would be permitted to open until 2023, allowing smaller farms time to get organized. In 2017, Governor Brown opened up large scale farming, and smaller farmers didn’t have time to react. Our goal is to do what we can to assist these remaining farmers who poured their love — not to mention finances — into their product, only to have the market landscape suddenly change. We support the Origins Council and other community organizations working to advocate for sensible policy change. We recognize that getting rid of cultivation taxes and streamlining the regulatory process at the county, state, and even national level is imperative to the survival of our small growers. We’d also like to see the retail component augmented, growing from 1,500 certified dispensaries to the 10,000 or so that are needed to provide an accessible, legal market.”
Supporting events during ECAs and Harvest Ball
An industry rally and press conference will be held on Saturday, December 11, 2021, at the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball to raise industry, government, community, and media awareness of the crisis.
Smaller sessions on the topic will happen during both the Harvest Ball and the ECAs. The sessions will include an open, solution-focused discussion on the issues affecting the market, with a focus on best practices and regulatory limitations.
Special booth arrangements make it easier for growers to participate at ECA:
- On an individual level, qualified small farms and growers selected for the Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative will be offered premium vending locations at the Harvest Ball. The Initiative will also run for new participants at the Springtime Emerald Cup Awards in Los Angeles. All participants will enjoy a reduced concession rate at both events.
- Growers must meet several criteria to qualify for the program:
- Hold a current and valid cannabis cultivation license for the state of California
- Have a maximum farm size of 10,000 square feet
- Practice sustainable farming
- Participate in third-party certification programs such as OCal, Sun + Earth Certification, Clean Green Certification, Regennabis, Envirocann, etc.
“With the tremendous support of the Council of the Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative, we are offering small farmers an exclusive vending program and platform so they can make more money at the show,” says Emerald Cup associate producer Taylor Blake. “We know that we can’t solve all of our community’s problems with one initiative, but we are committed to putting our resources into evolving this program and working to improve access to the market for all small cannabis farmers.”
For additional information on the Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative and the Harvest Ball Craft Cannabis Marketplace, please email: Michael Katz at [email protected].
The Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative application will open Monday, November 8, 2021. The submission process will close for all farms on Saturday, November 13, 2021, at 11:59 PM PDT. All participants of the 2021 Harvest Ball Small Farms Initiative will be selected by lottery and alerted by Monday, November 15, 2021.
For additional information on The Emerald Cup 2022, Harvest Ball or to speak with founder Tim Blake, please contact Kenneth Loo, Chapter 2, [email protected].
Parties interested in exhibiting, sponsoring or supporting the upcoming Harvest Ball, please contact Gina Gallo at [email protected].
ABOUT THE EMERALD CUP
The Emerald Cup is the world’s premier virtual cannabis destination and iconic live event. While advancing the concept of sustainable, sun-grown farming, the 17-year old organization’s reputation is firmly solidified as the largest, most-respected cannabis competition in the world. As a group, The Emerald Cup prides itself in bringing together leading experts in the cannabis industry to educate and inspire our fellow farmers, patients, and patrons each year. The community celebration has grown to become a global movement honoring the year’s finest organic and sun-grown, cannabis harvest as well as the finest cannabis products available. The Cup has stood as a celebration of excellence and over the years, has seen founder Tim Blake recognized as a guardian of the ever-changing cannabis industry. www.theemeraldcup.com.