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Emerald Cup Deepens its Committment to Legacy Small farms and Regenerative Sungrown Cannabis

Emerald Cup Deepens its Committment to Legacy Small farms and Regenerative Sungrown Cannabis

When the Emerald Cup ( announced an expansion into the Southern California market, some critics wondered if the 18-year tradition had lost its way or forgotten its roots. On the contrary, the road to the 2022 Emerald Cup Awards brought a caravan of the finest cannabis cultivators from the Emerald Triangle on a SoCal tour, promoting clean, pure sungrown cannabis and the folks who grow it to the world’s largest marijuana marketplace.

Emerald Cup Community

Since 2004, the Emerald Cup has honored these outdoor farmers with an annual competition and celebration. In contrast, since 2016 the state of California has created an unsustainable burden of cannabis regulation and taxation that presses down harder the smaller your operation is. This has led to the loss of legacy family farms and, in some cases, the loss of life as some farmers could not bear the emotional burden that came along with the financial one. 

Knowing that many mom n’ pop craft cannabis farms might not be able to muster the resources to represent themselves at the Emerald Cup last year, Cup co-Founders Tim and Taylor Blake formed an advisory council to create the Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative.

The Emerald Cup recognizes that their heritage, small-batch craft cannabis cultivators in Northern California are facing an existential crisis resulting from a combination of taxation, licensing, and market conditions. In partnership with the Origins Council, a statewide advocacy organization representing licensed small farmers in legacy producing regions across California, the Emerald Cup launched the Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative, which is Chaired by Michael Katz, the Executive Director of the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (MCA)

Through the Emerald Cup Small Farm Initiative, the organization provided complimentary vending and competition opportunities to small cannabis farmers at this year’s Hall of Flowers (HOF) in Palm Springs. The program accepted submissions from small farmers of 10,000 sq ft of canopy or less with sustainable cultivation practices to help support their efforts in accessing the retail market.  

Wild Land Farms

Widely recognized as the top B2C (Business-to-Consumer) and B2B (Business-to-Business) gatherings in the cannabis space, the Emerald Cup and Hall of Flowers, in partnership with the Origins Council, and the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, provided complimentary booth space at Hall of Flowers to four legacy craft cannabis farms; Flying Tiger Farm, Perrin Family Farm, Tall Tree Society, and WildLand Cannabis. Michael Katz from MCA explains the significance of the collaboration between HOF, the Emerald Cup, and the Small Farms Initiative by saying “It has been incredible to see the love and support for the legacy cannabis cultivation community translating into concrete opportunities for market access from The Emerald Cup and Hall of Flowers.  Through the Small Farms Initiative, we hope to continue inspiring and developing more of these direct connections between small farmers and the people who care about their cannabis!”

Hot on the heels of Hall of Flowers, the Emerald Cup was invited to attend the private grand opening of The Woods dispensary in West Hollywood on May 13th, 2022 which marked the start of a budding relationship between retail cannabis supporting small farms.

Carrying the Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative Spirit, The Woods ( founded by actor and outspoken advocate, Woody Harrelson, this year’s recipient of the 2022 Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the 18th Annual Emerald Cup Awards. The Woods, which is located on Santa Monica Boulevard in the heart of WeHo, has dedicated ample shelf space to legacy, sungrown, craft cannabis farms like Huckleberry Hill Farms, Happy Day Farms, Arcanna Flowers, Moon Made Farms, and more. The Woods Co-Founder, Devon Wheeler added “We strive to be the vehicle that drives awareness and appreciation towards sungrown, craft cannabis – ensuring the legacy of California heirloom doesn’t get washed out by corporate cannabis.”

The Woods – 8271 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046  –  Photo Credit: Stephanie Keenan

The road to the Small Farms Initiative began in Santa Rosa in December of 2021, and six months and 420 miles later it culminated on May 14th, 2022 at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood.

Over 700 entries were submitted in the world’s largest and most diverse cannabis competition, filling over 50 different categories and creating a daunting challenge for the 90+ Emerald Cup Judges tasked with sampling and ranking it all. Working with cannabis advocacy partners like the Origins Council, Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, and others, the Cup offered heavily discounted entry fees to 21 farms that met the strict criteria associated with these highly reputable groups. Additionally, the Cup offered complimentary entry to 10 small farms to compete in this year’s judging competition that otherwise would not have been able to participate. Several of these small farms wound up bringing home awards, including 1st place wins by Emerald Spirit Botanicals, Lit House, Sovereign, Sunrise Mountain Farm, Lost Paradise Organics, Sol Spirit Farms, Moon Valley Farms, Rebel Grown, and Flower Power. These wins reflect how important programs like this are to helping provide access to small farms growing some of the best cannabis in the world but who are severely challenged by the challenges in the California market.

In fact, the winner of the Sungrown Flower category, Lemon Sponge Cake by Farmer and the Felon, also won ‘Best in Show’, beating out the top entries in Greenhouse, Mixed Light, and Indoor along the way. There is just something about sungrown cannabis and the Emerald Cup continues to advocate for the farms that grow it well and grow it in a regenerative, earth-friendly manner.

“It was a tremendous source of validation to see so many small farmers in the spotlight at the Emerald Cup Awards ceremony, out at Hall of Flowers, and at the gathering at the private opening of The Woods as well,” says Tim Blake. “After evangelizing to the community since cannabis was legalized about how critical it was for smaller farmers and brands to connect with the cannabis market in Southern California, to see so many lights go on in the minds of all the folks who made the trek to L.A. was incredibly appreciated.”

Before and after the Emerald Cup Awards show, friendly farmers could be seen strolling on the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame, stars in their own right, shining and growing cannabis under the sun. There truly was a vibe in the air that a vital connection had been made there that weekend.

Media needing to connect with The Emerald Cup and Emerald Cup 2022 Awards Show, or to speak with founder Tim Blake regarding this announcement, please reach out to Kenneth Loo, Chapter 2 at [email protected].

See Also

For more information and to get updates on upcoming events follow the Emerald Cup @theemeraldcup

To Shop Flying Tiger Farm, Perrin Family Farm, Tall Tree Society, and WildLand Cannabis please visit

Hi-Res images of the 2022 Emerald Cup Awards

Photo Credit: Emerald Cup


Landing in Hollywood in 2022, Emerald Cup is now 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 the leading experts in the cannabis industry to educate and inspire our fellow farmers, patients, and patrons each year. A community celebration that has grown to become a global movement honoring the year’s finest, organic, 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 industry. (