Emerald Cup cancels 2023 Harvest Ball for cannabis cultivators

MJ Biz..

The Emerald Cup’s marquee winter event that celebrates small craft cannabis farmers in Northern California and connects them with prospective buyers across the state is being canceled this year, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The Harvest Ball Festival, which has drawn more than 13,000 attendees to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds the past few years, will forgo this year’s installment as event organizers focus efforts and resources on the Emerald Cup’s 20th anniversary event in the San Francisco Bay Area in the spring of 2024, sources told MJBizDaily.

Harvest Ball organizers hadn’t announced specific dates for this year’s event.

Emerald Cup officials declined to comment on this story.

The Harvest Ball, held in December in Santa Rosa the past two years, marks the start of the Emerald Cup Competition.

The event, one of the oldest and most established awards shows and B2B gatherings in the cannabis industry, highlights organic outdoor-grown and indoor-grown flower.

Major sponsors have included Rebel Grown, a Humboldt County-based company that produces organic, sun-grown cannabis and other products, and Redwood Roots, a distributor that sources bulk marijuana from the Emerald Triangle.

The Harvest Ball event and the Emerald Cup were established by Tim Blake, an industry vanguard and key player in the rise of the Emerald Triangle, long considered the most fertile cannabis-producing region in the world.

His daughter, Taylor, is the associate producer.

The Harvest Ball cancellation is another sting for Northern California’s cadre of small legacy farmers, who have faced numerous challenges the past several years in the world’s largest marketplace, including fierce competition from unlicensed growers, wildfiresdepressed wholesale prices and a lack of retail outlets.

Nearly six years after California launched adult-use sales, 61% of cities and counties still ban marijuana retail businesses, according to state data.

In Mendocino County, farmers and other cannabis operators have been exiting the industry in mass for years.

In 2020, more than 1,300 cannabis businesses were based in Mendocino County.

Today, fewer than 850 are operational, according to Michael Katz, executive director of the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance.

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