Cannabis competitions, from Colorado’s Cannabis Cup to California’s Emerald Cup, are major events. These contests’ winning strains set the trends and shape the course of the cannabis industry, especially its horticultural dimensions. Producing a winning strain means big business and big profit, and judges have the enviable task to sample dozens of strains to determine the cream of the crop.
Not a bad gig, you’re probably thinking. But do you have what it takes to be a weed judge?
According to Tyler Hurst, it’s a bit harder than it looks. Accurately judging marijuana involves more than simply smoking a sample and jotting down your impressions.
It requires a disciplined, studied approach. You consume on a regular, evenly paced schedule. And you avoid abusing your palette with alcohol or spicy foods.
Hurst is taking his training to a new extreme. In less than a month, he’s attempting to sample all 98 strains submitted for judging in the first Cultivation Classic, a festival of the state’s best soil-grown, chemical-free cannabis.
Hurst has the following advice for would-be cannabis judges. It’s advice he is trying to follow as he gears up for the Cultivation Classic.
Plan your days
People who write shit down and then make plans to take care of that shit at a particular time tend to get shit done. No kidding? So we loaded up our calendars and alerts with anything that needed attention. Waking up? 7 am alarm. Dinner prep? 4:15 pm reminder. Client meeting? Workout? Walk the dog? I added those, and kept everything on the hour—too much to do is just as distracting as too little.
Prep your sample
There’s no one way to consume cannabis, so I start each day with a bong, vaporizer, pipe and rolling papers. The first three should be cleaned the night before and left out to dry. If you’re serious about judging, be sure to use the same brand of rolling papers for every strain in the competition.
Think beyond THC
Yes, getting high is fun. But if you’re judging a contest, the THC alone is the most annoying measure. It’s the combination of cannabinoids and terpenes that give that oh-so-good feeling, so don’t spend all your energy on the psychoactive part. Good judges will take note of how their lungs feel. Great judges will toke up while on a brisk hike.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m taking this Strawberry Cough for a run.
Carry a notebook everywhere
New strains are about surprises, so keep that smartphone charged and pen and paper ready. Need to shit? Bring all those things with you.
Hitting up a food-cart pod seemed a very good idea when I started judging, but, uh, the amount of decision-making required to get from where I am to where it is hurts to think about. Bypass the urge to give in to the munchies by having last night’s leftovers at the ready. Toss in some fruit, maybe frozen grapes, and you’ll come out of this back at your fighting weight.
The Cultivation Classic is Saturday, April 30, at the North Warehouse, 723 N Tillamook St., from Noon-6 pm. Tickets go for $40. Growers are advertising that after puffing on some soil-grown, pesticide-free buds, smokers will never go back to conventional cannabis again.