Marijuana Growers Compete at Oregon State Fair

State fairs provide fun, wonder and now, weed… in Oregon, at least.

With recreational marijuana now legal in Oregon, the cannabis industry has moved into the classic American world of fried Twinkies, Ferris wheels and fair games.

Oregon’s state fair this summer had all of the usual fair staples like food, rides and livestock. However, it also featured a competition for cannabis growers for the first time in history.

The Oregon legislature this year added cannabis to the list of the state’s farm crops. Dan Morse, head of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council, told NPR that decision provided an opportunity at the fair to let the general public know “what it’s all about.”

Nine Marijuana Plants Compete at Oregon State Fair

Contestant displayed nine different plants, all prize winners, in the marijuana tent at the fair. Judges considered the entries as curious fair guests examined the plants to learn more about cannabis.

For the competition, judges scored the cannabis plants mostly on physical criteria, like aroma, leaf structure and spatial noding. Judges did not consume the marijuana in any way, so the competition focused more on the growing and agricultural aspects than the potency or effects of the product.

Aside from the competition, the marijuana tent afforded people the opportunity to chat with the cannabis growers and get their questions answered. Many of the attendees had not seen marijuana in its plant form. The fair offered them a chance to see a new side of the booming business that has become such a staple in the state.

Marijuana Separated From Other Plants

No one partook of the plants. People had to show ID in order to enter the tent, as only those 21 years old and up could see the display, per Oregon law.

The decision to allow admittance of marijuana in the Oregon State Fair represented a major step toward acceptance. However, the Oregon Cannabis Business Council hopes to change one aspect of the event in the future.

This year, fair organizers placed the marijuana tent in the commerce area of the fair instead of the agricultural area with the rest of the state’s crops. The council hopes to have marijuana with the rest of the fair’s plants in the future.

Morse told NPR he hopes this year has helped to gain the trust of the state fair’s board of directors and the general public.

“My goal today is to have someone walk through that’s never seen it, or heard how it’s made or grown or anything like that, and say ‘I don’t see what the big deal is.’,” Morse said.

Based on this year, that goal seems possible. Fair goers enjoyed the cannabis tent and based on some reactions, it seems that the shock value of marijuana in public has passed.

“It’s not really much of a surprise, honestly, to see it at the state fair, because it’s everywhere,” Gavin Reiter, an attendee of the state fair, told NPR. “Plus you can just go down to the store and buy it if you want some.”

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