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California State Fair Names Winners of 3rd Annual Cannabis Competition

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The California State Fair Cannabis Awards announced its gold and silver medal winners. Judges awarded more than 100 medals across nine categories and 44 subcategories, including outdoor flower, mixed-light flower, pre-rolls, concentrates, cartridges, edibles, beverages and wellness products.

Gold medal winners are now vying for nine coveted “Best of California” Golden Bear trophies, likened to the new “Michelin Guide” of cannabis products. With more than 500 entries in 2024—double that of 2023—the California State Fair Cannabis Awards is the largest sanctioned cannabis competition in the world.

For 170 years, the California State Fair has awarded farmers from California’s traditional agricultural industries for their best-in-class bounty. In response to California voters’ overwhelming support for cannabis legalization and in recognition of the tremendous role cannabis plays as one of the state's top-ranking crops by value, the California State Fair has included cannabis in these prestigious awards for the past three years.

“Cannabis is a magnificent and wondrous plant, but for too long, stigma has stifled societal understanding of its capabilities,” said James Leitz, co-producer of the educational cannabis experience and awards competition. “We hope that this competition showcases the talent, dedication and innovation of California's cannabis community and celebrates its many accomplishments alongside California’s traditional agricultural industries.”

While the California State Fair has hosted an educational exhibit and awards show for cannabis since 2022, this year’s cannabis exhibition has been further expanded into an immersive experience with additional competition categories and the inclusion of licensed onsite cannabis sales and consumption hosted by Embarc’s Sacramento dispensary, allowing patrons to try award-winning products from many of California’s finest craft brands.

“The cannabis competition and corresponding awards amplify the extraordinary efforts of farmers and brands surviving in an increasingly competitive market," said Lauren Carpenter, CEO of Embarc and co-producer of the cannabis experience. "Normalizing and destigmatizing cannabis—one of the Golden State's most valuable agricultural commodities—is core to Embarc's mission, and this year's awards were the most competitive yet. Cannabis has earned its rightful place among Golden Bear-winning categories, including wine, cheese, olive oil and craft beer."

This year's flower entries underwent rigorous, empirical quality, science-based testing through respected cannabis testing laboratory SC Labs. New this year is the introduction of a judging panel who also reviewed submissions using a standardized 100-point sommelier-level evaluation scale developed by Budist, the world’s first social review platform for cannabis products, to objectively assess attributes such as aroma, flavor, appearance and effect.

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"As a small, multigenerational farm from the heart of Mendocino

County, cultivating the highest quality cannabis with mixed ratios of cannabinoids in harmony with nature and spirit is our guiding light," said Joseph Haggard of Emerald Spirit Botanicals. “We are so proud of our award-winning cannabis and are grateful for this opportunity to honor the importance of this plant and of environmental stewardship on such a grand stage.”

The nine Golden Bear trophies will be announced July 27 at a private Oscars-style awards show intended to recognize and celebrate leaders within the cannabis industry.

To learn more about cannabis at the California State Fair visit To view the medal winners, click here.



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