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Humboldt, Mendocino & Sonoma County Growers Take Top Honors

Why has the CA State Fair added cannabis to its competition line up?

Cannabis ticks all the boxes for inclusion as a coveted Awards competition.  Cannabis became legal for recreational adult use in 2018 in California.  The CA Cannabis industry is highly regulated, culturally significant, part of our agricultural legacy and essential to the California economy.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., (June 22, 2023) – The CA State Fair Cannabis Awards today announced this year’s award-winning cultivars and cultivators from throughout California. More than 250 entries were evaluated for this year’s competition. A total of 63 trophies and medals were awarded, consisting of gold and silver medals by division and category, as well as the coveted Golden Bear trophies for the “Best of California” overall winners. 

Taking top honors was Cotati-based Mercy Grown which won seven awards including three Golden Bear trophies. MOCA Humboldt, a Eureka-based operation continues its reign in the indoor division receiving nine awards including two Golden Bear trophies. Sonoma County-based Farmer & the Felon and Mendocino County-based Esensia shined in the outdoor terpene categories each receiving five awards including one Golden Bear. For a full list of this year’s winners, please click here.

“This second annual CA State Fair Cannabis Competition has highlighted the meticulous dedication, skill, and creativity of the cannabis growers in our state”, said Tom Martinez, CEO of Cal Expo and California State Fair. “It’s clear from the high-caliber entries and passionate cultivators that cannabis cultivation is more than just farming – it’s an art form that requires science, patience, and unyielding devotion to the craft. We are thrilled to celebrate and honor these pioneers at our upcoming state fair, as we continue to highlight the economic and cultural contributions of this flourishing industry to California.”

“Any grower will tell you consistently cultivating high-quality cannabis is challenging and doesn’t happen without an incredibly passionate and dedicated team,” said Mercy Wellness CEO Brandon Levine. “We are nothing but proud of our now award-winning cultivation team for overcoming all the obstacles to put us in a position to showcase the best cannabis in California.”

The science-based competition evaluated cannabis flower across three divisions: indoor, mixed light and outdoor. Lab testing was provided by SC Labs, California’s premier testing facilities, to determine the winners in 11 categories: Cannabinoids consisting of CBDa, CBGa and THCa, as well as Terpenes including Myrcene, beta-Caryophyllene, Limonene, Ocimene, Terpinolene, Pinene, a co-dominant category and total terpene content. Each entry was put through the full gamut of California compliance testing requirements to maximize public safety and identify the award-winning genetics.

“Award-winning cannabis comes not only from masterful cultivation; but from the immaculate care, craft and skill in the drying, curing and preservation of the most fleeting indicators that the plant produces,” said SC Labs Co-founder Alec Dixon. “When abundant and preserved, these terpenes and other trace volatile aromatics work together with cannabinoids to substantiate the overall flavor, aroma, and unique effects. Each award winner exemplifies these attributes.”

Clearly craft cannabis is grounded in technique, but also superior genetics. “As celebratory as these victories are for Farmer & the Felon and Soma Rosa Farms, we are but farmers that water plants,” said CannaCraft Co-Founder Ned Fussell. “The real golden bears are the plant scientists and breeders who dedicate their lives to sniffing out the most outrageous terps to share with the masses. We humbly thank our friends at Molecular Genetics for their commitment to the chronic – the world is a better smelling place for it.”

“My wife Laura and I are over-the-moon to receive this recognition,” said Marty Clein, Founder and Farmer of Martyjuana. “Competition in sun grown flower is fierce, and while we’ve won awards before, this one feels extra special. This award is the equivalent to the Good Housekeeping seal of approval, which will energize our marketing and lift our brand.”

All award winners will be celebrated and showcased at the CA Cannabis Exhibit at the CA State Fair from July 14-30, 2023, at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds in Sacramento, California. The exhibit will be open to fairgoers 21 and older where they will be taken on an educational journey about the cannabis plant as well as the history and pioneers of cannabis in California. Exhibitors, speakers, and farmers will be on hand to bring this vibrant industry display to life. An awards ceremony and reception will be held inside the exhibit on Saturday, July 15, from 5 pm to 9 pm. 

The awards have been developed in partnership between the California Exhibition & State Fair and Cultivar Events, a California-based cannabis marketing and events agency who specializes in the creation of programs that continue to move cannabis into the mainstream.

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Editor’s Note: Members of the media are invited to a media preview of the CA State Fair Cannabis Exhibit Experience on Wednesday, July 12, and the CA State Fair Cannabis Awards Ceremony on Saturday, July 15. 

About the CA State Fair

The CA State Fair is an international award-winning fair. The CA State Fair is dedicated as a place to celebrate the best the state has to offer in agriculture, technology, and the diversity of its people, traditions, and trends that shape the Golden State’s future.

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