One year after it became legal for adults to possess and use marijuana in Massachusetts, cannabis aficionados will gather in Worcester this weekend to show off some of the best locally-sourced ganja and edibles, and to try to put a welcoming face on the world of weed.
Part competition, part expo and trade show, the inaugural Harvest Cup sponsored by the Massachusetts Grower Advocacy Council, MassCann/NORML and the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance will feature a spate of speakers from various segments of the marijuana industry and live demonstrations of how to use cannabis products in cooking and art. It runs Saturday and Sunday at Worcester's DCU Center.
The Harvest Cup is also a contest to discern the best marijuana products from the Bay State and a chance for Massachusetts marijuana growers "to show other regions that our growers and producers know a thing or two about cannabis," organizers said.
"It's an opportunity for locals to showcase their skills and we're also hoping it's an opportunity for the general public to come out and look at that world to see that it's not a scary place, as they might think," Peter Bernard, president of the Massachusetts Grower Advocacy Council, said.
The contest drew 73 entries in six categories: flower, edibles, concentrates, non-solvents, oils and tincture, and topicals. A panel of 21 judges selected from various parts of the local industry and advocacy community sampled and scored the entries over a period of about two and a half months, Bernard said.
"Because of public consumption rules, it wouldn't have been legal for us to do it in a public setting. Even if it was, we had about 75 different entries and a lot of that was edibles. There's no way to fairly judge that in one weekend," he said.
Bernard said MassCann/NORMAL prepared packets with samples of the entries for each judge, and each judge would visit ProVerde Labs in Milford once a week to pick up their next group of entries to judge.
When judging edible entries, Bernard said judges were careful to judge only one entry a day to make sure their score was fair and to avoid any cross-contamination between entries. Judges could try two or three entries in the flower and concentrate categories a day, he said.
Judges knew nothing about the entries they were given to score, and based their scores on "smell, taste, look, how well it burned and, of course, how good the effect was," Bernard said.
The winners of four categories will be announced Saturday, and judges will announce the winners of the remaining categories and an overall winner Sunday. Attendees will not be able to sample the entries — the entire event is a "non-consumption event," per organizers — but the entries will be on display in a glass case with information on the grower, the strain, the THC content and more.
"Believe me when I tell you, they sent us their very best," Bernard said of the entries.
At 4:20 p.m. on Saturday, a group of growers from Boston-based cannabis culture club Beantown Greentown will attempt to roll a 100-foot marijuana joint, a feat that Bernard said will likely involve the effort of about 40 people.
On its website, the club said the joint will be rolled using "1,000 grams of our own personal trimmings and stashes." It is unclear exactly what will happen to the joint once it is rolled.
Speakers will discuss topics including the history of the legalization movement, infusing components of marijuana into fresh mozzarella, opportunities to invest in cannabis and hemp stocks, advancing female entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry and an update on the in-progress Massachusetts marijuana regulations.
The weekend will get underway Friday night with a VIP kickoff party, held on the one-year anniversary of it becoming legal for adults to possess, grow, gift and use marijuana in Massachusetts.
The weekend's events are all limited to people 21 or older. Tickets cost $40 and a two-day package is available.