Graham Abbott

The Oregon Cannabis Growers’ Fair last weekend attracted people from every corner of the state — and from beyond Oregon’s borders — to Salem, the state’s capital, for a two-day event of cannabis networking and celebrating the art of cannabis cultivation.

The fair took place in an exhibition hall on the Oregon State Fairgrounds.

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The weekend’s festivities took place in an exposition center on the Oregon State Fairgrounds.

The exhibition hall was packed with more than 80 exhibitors, but that wasn’t the event’s main draw: the fair’s large trade show presence was actually overshadowed by several rows of live cannabis plants that had been transported from around the state and lined along one entire wing of the exhibition hall. These plants were submitted by Oregon growers to be judged by a panel of cultivation experts headed by Ed Rosenthal, author of several popular cannabis growing guides. As per the fair’s rules, the submitted plants were not allowed to have any buds.

Rosenthal wore a shirt printed with a cannabis leaf floral pattern for the occasion. He and other judges spent several hours on Saturday perusing the dozens of cannabis plants entered in the competition. The competition’s nine winners were announced on Saturday by Rosenthal as the event’s first day came to a close. Plants had been broken up into categories based on whether they were a sativa, indica, or hybrid — there were first, second, and third place prizes for each of the three categories.

'Ganja Guru' Ed Rosenthal speaks with members of the press about his role in the Oregon Cannabis Growers' Fair judging process.
‘Ganja Guru’ Ed Rosenthal speaks with members of the press about his role in the Oregon Cannabis Growers’ Fair judging process.

“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 told ABC News.

The nine winning plants will be featured this year in the Oregon State Fair, which runs from August 26 to September 5 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.

The nine winning plants of the weekend, separated by category, are:

Sativa:

Indica:

Hybrid:

 

The winning cannabis plants will be kept separate from the rest of the Oregon State Fair in a greenhouse, and fair workers will be checking IDs to make sure all who enter that greenhouse are 21 or older. It will be the first time in the U.S. that cannabis plants will be featured in a state fair.

Event organizer Mary Lou Burton addresses the crowd before Ed Rosenthal announces the nine winning cannabis cultivators.
Event organizer Mary Lou Burton addresses the crowd before the nine winning cannabis plants are announced.

The Oregon Cannabis Growers’ Fair also offered presentations and Q&A sessions featuring representatives from the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. These discussions informed audience members — most of whom were professionally involved in Oregon’s cannabis space, or were eyeing the industry for potential business opportunities — about how to stay regulatory compliant despite the industry’s rapidly changing landscape.

“This event was so big for this industry,” fair organizer Mary Lou Burton wrote in an email to Ganjapreneur. “The growers, retail stores, and exhibitors were amazed at the coverage we received… We had press from all over the world at the event and calling us on the phone.”

 

According to Burton, three-quarters of this year’s exhibitors have already signed up for next year’s event, marking the inaugural Oregon Cannabis Growers’ Fair as a major success.

Continue scrolling to see more pictures from our weekend at the event.

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