Pubdate: Sun, 14 Aug 2016
Source: Mail Tribune, The (Medford, OR)
Copyright: 2016 Associated Press
Author: Gillian Flaccus, Associated Press


SALEM (AP) - People flocked to Oregon's first-ever marijuana growers' 
fair on Saturday where a competition for best pot plants was being 
held, with the winners to be displayed at the Oregon State Fair.

The inaugural two-day Oregon Cannabis Growers' Fair underscores how 
the once-illicit marijuana industry is starting to go mainstream in 
Oregon, one of four states to have legalized recreational marijuana 
use, along with Washington, D.C.

Ed Rosenthal, known in pot circles as the Guru of Ganja, poked, 
prodded, rubbed and sniffed several dozen marijuana plants - some of 
which were so big they engulfed him in an exhibition hall on the 
Oregon State Fairgrounds. He and other judges were picking nine 
winning plants - three in each of three categories - that will be 
displayed at the Oregon State Fair for two weeks starting later this month.

Rosenthal, wearing a marijuana-leaf print shirt, scribbled on his 
clipboard as onlookers snapped photos and gaped at rows of pot 
plants. None had buds, per contest rules.

"The first thing is health and to make sure they don't have 
infections and then to make sure they ... don't have nutrient 
deficiencies. Then, we look at the structure of the plant: Has it 
been getting as much sun as it should be getting? Is it sunburned?" 
Rosenthal said.

Danny Grimm, owner of Uplifted, a cannabis farm, entered the 
competition and said that winning it could spur sales.

"It's great to put it on our portfolio and get publicity here and get 
our name out there," he said. "That is huge for the cannabis 
industry, and it's definitely a step in the right direction for us. 
We've been waiting for this for years."

Donald Morse, a pot grower who came up with the idea of holding the 
fair, was happy with the strong attendance on opening day Saturday. 
Segments of the industry, from seed providers all the way to a 
company offering mechanized bud trimmers, were among more than 80 exhibitors.

Reggae music thumped from Savant Plant Technologies' display on 
Friday as owner James Knox, 38, of Corvallis, set up his 
do-it-yourself grow package, including peat and microorganisms to 
stimulate plant growth.

"It's nice for us to be stepping across the line and say, 'Here we 
are, and we're ready to do business,' " he said. "For those of us who 
have been doing this a long time, this is a breath of fresh air 
because we're able to work openly and in the light."

The winning entries of the pot-plant competition will be displayed at 
the state fair with more traditional items like tomatoes, hogs and 
horses, but in a translucent greenhouse guarded by extra security. 
Only those 21 or older will be allowed to enter. It will be the first 
time cannabis will be exhibited at a state fair anywhere in the 
United States, organizers said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom