Oregon State Fair Welcomes Back Cannabis Growers

Once again the Oregon Cannabis Growers and Consumers Fair (OCGCF) is coming to the Oregon State Fairgrounds. This second annual event was the very first of its kind last year when it debuted and made international news due to the participation of the Oregon State Fair and the uniqueness of having a cannabis plant competition.

Cannabis plants are an amazing botanical example of sturdiness, versatility, and easy propagation. After 20 years of legal medical marijuana, and five years of legal adult use, it is no surprise competitions now exist.

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Winning plants at the Oregon Cannabis Growers and Consumers Fair in 2016. Image OCGCF.

“We wanted to acknowledge the incredible growers in this industry … the ones that really are the heart and soul of the industry,” explained Mary Lou Burton, the organizer of the event. “[Last year] we were able to work with the OLCC to get a permit to bring the plants to the fairgrounds and then the winning plants and the growers were able to display their plants at the Oregon State Fair.”

Although many hoops had to be jumped through last year to get a permit to display plants, it was made substantially easier this year when Oregon passed SB 1057 which had a provision that will allow public display of cannabis plants at trade show events across Oregon just like OCGCF.

The media coverage of the event was unparalleled and included media outlets from across the nation as well as international coverage. The exposure was great and it went a long way to normalize cannabis cultivation and use.

“The publicity was incredible,” explained Burton. “We had local, national and international [media]. We had the BBC covering it because it had never happened before.”

Last years inaugural event was well received by the attendees and participants that entered plants. Judging was based on a number of criteria, including color, aroma, shape and more. The judges include, for the second year, legendary Oregon grower “Farmer” Tom Lauerman, and Southern Oregon activist and cultivation expert “Pioneer” Pete Gendron, Mark Herer (Son of Jack), and they hope to bring back world renowned grower and author Ed Rosenthal, along with other judges.

“I am really looking forward to coming back for a second year and judging,” explained Gendron. “It was great for the state fair, it was great for revenue, it was great for the [cannabis] community and I am really pleased this year that they put in the fourth category of CBD plants now that Oregon has reformed its hemp cultivation laws.”

Judge “Farmer” Tom Lauerman in 2016 examining a entry. Image OCGCF.

Just how does a person actually judge a cannabis plant? It is based on a number of details and observations that consider the type plant, the method of cultivation, and the media used to grow the plant.

“I’m looking at not just the plant, but I am looking at the media the plant is grown in,” explained “Pioneer” Pete. “I want to see a plant that represents what a plant looks like if it’s grown ideally in the type of media it’s grown in. I’m not just looking at indicas and sativas, I’m looking at how well the intent of the grower, as the creator, is expressed by the plant in its media.”

The actual competition is August 12 and 13 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem. But, what makes this one special is the willing participation of the Oregon State Fair in the event. After the competition the plants will appear on display during the actual Oregon State Fair from August 25th to September 4th. The plants appear in a segregated area accessible only to adults over 21 years old. Apparently, it was a major attraction at last years fair.

“The Fair told us that attendance was up about 10% last year,” explained Burton. “And they said the number one question asked at the gate was ‘where are the marijuana plants’.”

One major change is that dispensaries who have booths will be allowed to take orders for cannabis during the competition. They are not going to be dispensing on site, but can arrange delivery later or pick up at their actual store.

A new service they added is the Canna-Help You Desk that will gather pharmacists, doctors, nurses to help consult with consumers about their cannabis needs, answer questions, and provided guidance to those who are unsure about different aspects of cannabis and are seeking answers. It fits within the education and information theme they like to promote.

Tickets for the event are available online at www.cangrowfair.com and they are only $18.00 ahead of the event and $20.00 at the door. Plants can be entered in the competition for under $100.00 and growers are limited to one plant in each category (indica, sativa, hybrid, CBD). They are still accepting a few more entries, though space is limited to about 60 plants. Information about entering your plants is also available on the website.

Listen to the “Mad Dog” Mansur interview of Mary Lou Burton here on Goddab Radio, a podcast for progressive thinking people.

© 2017 Oregon Cannabis Connection. all rights reserved.

Keith Mansur

Keith Mansur is the founder, publisher, and editor of Oregon Cannabis Connection newspaper. The print publication has been serving Oregon since 2010. He has been a Oregon medical marijuana patient, grower, and caregiver since 2006. Find him on Facebook or email him at occnewspaper420@gmail.com

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