Pubdate: Sat, 16 Dec 2017
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2017 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Dan Adams


WORCESTER - Thousands of people gathered at a convention hall Saturday
for the first-ever Harvest Cup, a friendly if spirited competition
among home-growers of marijuana that doubled as a convention for the
burgeoning cannabis industry and its consumers.

The event, taking place this weekend at the DCU Center, came the same
week that marijuana regulators began drafting rules for the scheduled
July start of recreational sales in Massachusetts. Many participants
Saturday were overheard debating various policies and what they will
mean for the small-scale cultivators at the heart of the Harvest Cup
once millions of dollars of investment funds pour into the state.

But mostly, the Harvest Cup was a chance for enthusiasts,
businesspeople, and the merely curious to mingle before their world
bursts into the mainstream next summer.

"A lot of these people are coming out of the shadows today," said
Peter Bernard, president and director of the nonprofit Massachusetts
Growers Advocacy Council, which organized the event. "This is a safe
place to be public about marijuana. Here, it's normal, like it should
be across the culture."

More than 50 marijuana home-growers submitted 73 samples of their best
buds to the Harvest Cup throughout the fall, using an elaborate
"blind" drop-box system that kept their identities hidden from the 21
judges. The entries were scored on aroma, taste, ash, cure, effect,
and appearance on a scale of zero to 10.

Prizes were awarded Saturday for the best edibles and concentrates,
but the prize for best flower - the premier category - and an overall
winner will be announced Sunday.

Bernard declined to release the identity of the top grower early, but
said the judges were unanimous in their verdict.

"It was a no-brainer," Bernard said. "Nice dense little nugs, nice
trichromes, obviously hand-trimmed, not machine-processed - everything
about it was exceptional."

Vendors at the event showed off glassware, trimming machines, gadgets
for making pot-infused edibles, plus lights and other cultivation
equipment. Also represented were medical marijuana dispensaries and
laboratories that test samples of the drug for potency and purity.

A star attraction Saturday was Beantown Greentown's 100-foot-long

Perhaps the star attraction, however, was a 100-foot-long joint.
Containing 2 pounds of weed and assembled in about 100 hours by
Beantown Greentown, a marijuana apparel company and cannabis-growing
club, it snaked across more than a dozen long tables. A crowd of
onlookers cheered wildly when it was unveiled from underneath a black
cloth - at 4:20 p.m., of course, in accordance with a tradition of
marijuana culture - then jostled to take pictures of the 100-foot mark
on the measuring tape that had been laid alongside.

The joint was not consumed - the DCU center doesn't allow smoking, and
besides, even the best horn-player in the world wouldn't have enough
lung capacity to get a draw. Instead, 1-foot sections were given away
to attendees who posted about the joint on social media.

An attempt by Beantown Greentown to have the joint certified as the
longest ever by the Guinness World Records failed; the records
organization is based in the UK, where marijuana is illegal, and
declined to participate.

But that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of those who helped roll it.
Andrew Mutty of Beantown Greentown said the company is gearing up to
enter the recreational market as a licensed cultivator, and stunts
like the giant joint will help it build its brand.

"I was 15 when I dropped my first seed," Mutty said. "The chance to
become a professional craft cultivator and make some really high-end
products - that's the dream."

While some attendees fit various stoner stereotypes, others said they
don't even use the drug.

One, 39-year-old Melva James, can't smoke pot because she works for
MIT's Lincoln Laboratory defense research center, which is federally
funded. Marijuana is illegal under federal law, and so she is
forbidden from using it.

However, James, who holds masters degrees in chemistry and computer
science, said she has found herself increasingly fascinated by the
business and science of the plant - especially its medical uses. She
wishes her mother had been able to access the drug while suffering
from breast cancer, and she described grilling vendors about use of
the technology in their devices or laboratory protocols and equipment.

"I'm surprised by how many people are coming to it from a place of
love and compassion, for themselves and other people who are in pain,"
James said. "There are a lot of people who are not just potheads. The
stereotype is Shaggy from "Scooby-Doo," and Shaggy's here, but
everyone's not Shaggy."
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