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Never Folded: Willie Nelson receives the Emerald Cup's lifetime achievement award Dec. 16. It's newly renamed the Willie Nelson Award. (David Downs/Leafly)
You know the old cliché: “Everyone who entered is a winner.”
But that was the stone cold truth last weekend north of San Francisco at the 15th annual Emerald Cup cannabis competition, expo, and smoke-out.
Every single entrant in the massive contest survived the test of California adult use cannabis legalization and implementation. It was a year where more than half of the pre-existing medical cannabis industry got wiped out by local regulations. Three-quarters of the cities in the state have banned legal cannabis activity.
“We have gone through quite a whirlwind,” said Carter Lash, founder of award-winning topical maker C.A.D. “But we’re happy to be here. It’s a big change for everyone and we’re trying to stay positive. A lot of people weren’t able to be here.”
Multi-generational farmers as well as industry newbies traded war stories and harvest buds with thrilled attendees Saturday and Sunday.
An award ceremony Sunday afternoon doled out trophies to the best California cannabis products in 24 categories. Willie Nelson popped in for a lifetime achievement award and director Kevin Smith busted up the crowd with a NSFW podcast taping.
Scroll down for some of our favorite pictures from Emerald Cup 2018.
NSFW: Director Kevin Smith and actor Jason Mewes record an episode of ‘Jay and Silent Bob Get Old’ Saturday. (David Downs/Leafly)
Packed Hall: Tens of thousands of cannabis industry and friends gathered north of San Francisco last weekend for two days to celebrate the end of the full-sun season. (David Downs/Leafly)
Willie Nelson holds up his award, a custom Bluegrass “lamp” bubbler. Cup organizer Tim Blake has been trying to book Willie for years. (David Downs/Leafly)
David Downs directs news and lifestyle coverage as the California Bureau Chief for Leafly.com. He's written for WIRED, Rolling Stone and Billboard, and is the former cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the author of several cannabis books including 'Marijuana Harvest' by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. TW: @davidrdowns | IG @daviddowns