Julie Johnson, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Emerald Cup has brought an audience of tens of thousands to the Sonoma County fairgrounds each of the last four years, and the contest’s environmental focus sets it apart from other cannabis competitions.
But this year, pesticides upended many of the winners of the three-day marijuana festival in December known for its focus on organic and sustainable outdoor farming.
About 25 percent of 263 samples in the concentrates categories submitted from producers across the state were disqualified, mostly because they tested positive for pesticides, according to the event’s official laboratory, Santa Cruz-based SC Labs.
The issue wasn’t uncovered until after the Dec. 11-13 contest due to a late crush of entries plus internal miscommunication about deadlines, said Emerald Cup founder Tim Blake. Blake said he was troubled by the discovery and has apologized to contestants.
“We were dumbfounded that we’d see this (pesticide use) at that level,” Blake said. “We’re going to have to be very careful about that in the future.”