Weed heaven

Ngaio Bealum headed to Las Vegas for the largest cannabis trade show on the planet, then hung out with Tommy Chong at the Emerald Cup

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at ask420@newsreview.com.

So … How was your week?

Whew. It was good but looong. I started out in Las Vegas at the annual Mjbizcon, which is the largest cannabis trade show on the planet. More than 1,000 vendor booths and about 30,0000 cannabis entrepreneurs took over the Convention Center for three days of schmoozing and boozing.

The most interesting thing was seeing all of the “square” businesses reaching out to the cannabis industry. Laboratory gear, labeling and packaging companies and even a few beverage makers were in attendance, with their giant and shiny machines on full display.

But we were in Vegas, so people would only work for a few hours before heading out to the parties. Only one problem: Las Vegas is still weird about weed, so most of the venues wouldn't allow people to bring weed. I'm not sure how a weed party can't have any weed (looking at you High Times Cup and Brooklyn Bowl), but I still managed to have a good time (yay vapes and edibles).

So after three days of talking to people in blue jeans and sports coats, I went to Santa Rosa for the 16th annual Emerald Cup at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Weed heaven! The thing I like the most about the Emerald Cup is that cannabis is the star of the show.

It isn't a music festival with weed, it's a weed festival with music. It makes a big difference. Folks lined up to get the latest seeds and hottest strains, the weather was nice (even though it was hella cold after the sun went down) and all the chronnisseurs were out in full force, smoking and sharing. I got to try some “Roadkill Skunk,” an heirloom cultivar (apparently, “cultivar” is the new word to replace “cannabis strain” if you are a fancy pants) first developed in Kentucky around 1988. It definitely smelled like a dead skunk, but in a good way. I also enjoyed some POG (Passionfruit Orange Guava) from Greenshock Farms in Mendocino, and I got to smoke a “Hashbone”—which is the brand name for a hash-and-weed doobie from Hollister Cannabis Company. So tasty and so strong. I smoked a bunch of other stuff, but it tends to blend together.

The awards ceremony was great. Tommy Chong received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award and Mel Frank was honored with the Breeders Hall of Fame award. (Google him; he was one of the first people to really cultivate and propagate good weed way back in the '60s and '70s. He's a truly trailblazer.)

Other notables: Sacramento-based Newell's Botanicals won its fourth-in-a-row best topical award, its time for its brand new bath bombs. And Alien Farms also from Sacramento grabbed No. 2 in the mixed light category with and excellent strain, er, cultivar, called “Baklava. Delicious.”

There were a few after-parties at the cup (weed-filled, because California knows how to party), but to be honest, I was more than a little burnt out from the long week so I only made a few cameo appearances. Now I need some rest, and a good remedy for the strange malady known as “Cup cough.”