To Be Blunt: The Professional Cannabis Business Podcast

096 From Grey to Green, Growing the Largest Cannabis Competition in The World with Tim and Taylor Blake of The Emerald Cup

April 18, 2022 Shayda Torabi Season 3 Episode 96
To Be Blunt: The Professional Cannabis Business Podcast
096 From Grey to Green, Growing the Largest Cannabis Competition in The World with Tim and Taylor Blake of The Emerald Cup
Show Notes Transcript

"If you win the competition, you get tremendous props and financial rewards coming through there. So it is friendly, but it's also become a very serious thing now, because now its business, its branding. And so it's become something that everybody really works to put their best foot forward and win." - Tim Blake

In this episode, Shayda Torabi welcomes Tim Blake, the founder of the Emerald Cup, a competition showcasing the best of the cannabis industry for years. He is joined by his daughter and The Emerald Cup co-producer Taylor to discuss how they champion the advancement of cannabis culture while navigating California politics and regulations.

[00:01 – 06:49] Celebrating Cannabis: The 4/20 Holiday and  the Emerald Cup

[06:50– 15:19] Creating a Community of Cannabis Enthusiasts

[15:20 – 29:27] The Impact of Legalization on the Landscape and on Legacy Brands

[29:28 – 41:52] The Evolution of Emerald Cup

[41:53 – 54:49] Finding Balance Between Branding and Product Quality

[54:05- – 1:02:01] The Future of Cannabis in California and Beyond


Tim Blake created The Emerald Cup, the world’s largest outdoor cannabis competition thirteen years ago. Tim sponsored and helped produce the first gathering of law enforcement and cannabis farmers to openly discuss how they would work together.  He was the co-founder of the Mendocino Farmers Collective and also Healing Harvest Farms, both local cannabis dispensaries designed to help facilitate getting outdoor cannabis into the dispensaries across the state. He was a founding member of the California Cannabis Reform Policy (CCPR) and was also on the steering committee for the Heritage Initiative (Measure AF). 

Taylor Blake graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and has become a vital leader alongside her father Emerald Cup founder Tim Blake since 2008.  In her current role, she spearheads the Emerald Cup Awards judges' table and product categories, sourcing the best of the best cannabis products and experts to lead the awards. 


Connect with Tim and Taylor

Visit their website, and follow Tim, Taylor, and The Emerald Cup on Instagram.

Shayda Torabi has been called one of the most influential Women in WordPress and now she’s one of the women leading the cannabis reformation conversation building one of Texas’ premier CBD brands. She's currently the CEO and Co-Founder of RESTART CBD, a female-run education first CBD wellness brand. And has formerly held marketing positions at WP Engine and WebDevStudios. Shayda is the host of a podcast for cannabis marketers called To Be Blunt, where she interviews top cannabis brands on their most successful marketing initiatives. When Shayda's not building her cannabiz in Texas, you can find her on the road exploring the best hikes and spots for vegan ice cream. Follow Shayda at @theshaydatorabi

Key Quote:
“This was just a unique thing that came up, we've done a heroic act. But we need to open it up to the rest of the country and the rest of the world because cannabis needs to impact society, and this planet. ” -  Tim Blake

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Tim Blake  0:00  
Well, we started out it was pretty easy because we were doing an illegal underground show. So we didn't worry about anything. We just did it. We didn't have any vendors for the first several years for the competition, but it was really just a party and an underground competition. As we moved to Sonoma, that became a very large consumer vendor show. And all of a sudden, we had, you know, $20 million with a business going on in the 215. area, and it was still technically not legal. We were working around that and working with the state and the counties and doing everything to the letter of the law that we could, but technically, it wasn't a legal operation. So when 2017 hit with legalization, then the state wasn't aware of events. They didn't know what they were really dealing with what events and legalization so we had to go to like nine DCC meetings, to get on the agenda to talk about events how critical they were. So we got to them and really it made them understand that the direct access for consumers for small farmers and for product makers, how critical that is for them.

Announcer  1:09  
You're listening to to be blunt, be podcast for cannabis marketers, where your host Shayda Torabi and her guests are trailblazing the path to marketing, educating and professionalizing cannabis light one up and listen up. Here's your host Shayda Torabi.

Shayda Torabi  1:32  
Hello and welcome back to a new episode of The to be blunt podcast. I'm your host Shayda Torabi, cannabis business owner and brand marketer. Thank you so much for tuning in. It is great to be with y'all for another episode of the podcast and today especially as it is the Monday before for 20. So I can only imagine what exciting and chaotic fun things you all have in store for yourselves. I know I have some fun things that I am participating in on for 20. Whether you are attending an industry celebration or creating your own brand activations for 20 is definitely the largest cannabis sales day ever in the United States. And according to a Corona, which is a cannabis enterprise software company, they reported in 2021. On 420 alone, there were $110 million worth of sales transacted. And they're projecting for this year sales on 2022 to reach 130 million. If you're listening to this, and you haven't figured out how to take advantage of the holiday opportunity to drive sales for your business. Act fast because it might be a bit too late. Either way, though, consumers are looking for ways to celebrate and participate and turning to brands, businesses and dispensaries to help them have a good time. In honor of the holiday. I shuffled around some episodes to bring to you a conversation that I had recently, that I think is a perfect expression of celebrating for 20. Why because they really set the stage for how we celebrate cannabis through healthy competitions, and are such a beacon of the community of cannabis, and bringing people together to celebrate and consume this plant that we all know and love. So you're probably familiar with the name, the Emerald Cup, and if you're in California cannabis, you've probably participated in some sort of form or fashion. It's grown to become so many things, but the core is still the same. To bring together the industry to determine the best of the best and celebrate the progress being made. And the type of impact that winning the Emerald Cup can have on a brand success and longevity in the industry is truly powerful. And I think this episode touches on a lot of nuances to the event that also parallel the legacy market transitioning into the legal market, all while being underpinned by California politics and regulations. Now in previous episodes, I've talked to y'all a lot about California cannabis, on one hand is the most exciting market and on the other hand, it is also the most taxing state in the industry. And when I say taxing y'all know, I mean, literally the taxation alone is enough to isolate people out of operating. In this episode, we go into the original purpose and intent of the Emerald Cup, how it has evolved over the years through medical and rec adult use legalization, to how they've navigated on premise consumption events and really helped champion that in the state of California. We discuss the commercialization of cannabis and the impact that events like the Emerald Cup have on the larger cannabis industry, to the evolution of the products and categories included. Originally, it started out as a flower competition and now has evolved to so many more things from minor cannabinoids being included to obviously consumer packaged goods and in terms of edibles or consumables from a beverage perspective, and there's just a lot of great insight that these two have shared and we get into all the little details in between. So I'm honored to have had a chance to sit down with Emerald Cup founder Tim Blake and his daughter and now co producer Taylor Blake, and hear their journey to building what has become the largest cannabis competition in the world. For one I love seeing a family so invested in cannabis, and so proud to champion it into the future and create space for the future generations to

participate. But I know their success has also been flanked with hardship, misunderstandings, and just general contempt as the legacy market that inspired the event in the beginning has been in direct conflict with a progression of how things have evolved, we get into a lot so from how Taylor navigates the actual competition, and manages all the influx of products wanting to compete to then coordinating drop offs to the esteemed industry experts that they work with as judges to learning from Tim and how they've had to pivot year after year through the many regulatory changes, and have found success along the way, toeing the line between green and gray. They're now about to bridge their event from Northern California to Southern California and launch an event in Los Angeles in just a few weeks in partnership with Green Street Festival. So the timing of everything just seemed right to bring this conversation to y'all now. So with that said, let's get to the episode. Please join me by lining one up, and let's welcome Tim and Taylor to the show.

Unknown Speaker  6:50  
I'm Tim Blake. I'm the founder of the Emerald Cup. It's in our 18th year. It's the largest Sungrown organic cannabis competition in the world. We now include indoor we started with one flowers contest, and we're now almost at 45 contests. I started dealing and being an outlaw when I was 15 years old back in Santa Cruz, California. So I've been in the industry for over 50 years. Through all these decades I've watched the minimum mandatory prison sentences come in the private prisons get built indoor come about, you know every aspect of the industry and culture over the last 40 or 50 years I've watched and witnessed and, and been history to, I helped promote and put together the first sheriffs debates and District Attorney debates in the country with law enforcement and district attorneys at my place every one on one. So I've been actively involved in the legalization side of it all these years too. So it's been a wild ride for me to watch, you know, both sides of an outlaw world legal world, how it all interacts the Emerald Cup, the Emerald triangle, all this stuff has happened. It's just been a wild ride. And I'm still on it with Taylor and the rest of my crew just doing it. So I'm very excited to be here.

Taylor Blake  7:50  
I am Taylor Blake. I am the Associate Producer of the Emerald Cup. And I also happen to be Tim's youngest daughter was actually not a big stoner growing up. I think it's one of those things where if you see your parents doing it, you're like, Oh, that's not cool anymore. You know, so I wasn't a huge donor growing up. But in 2007 was my first year I moved away from California and moved back to California in 2007 to do a full season outdoor with my dad. So it was my first time growing and cultivating cannabis. And in December of that year, I went to my first Emerald Cup, and I had no idea really what to expect. And I was just so blown away by the community and the culture. And after cultivating the full outdoor season you realize how much work goes into cultivating cannabis. And it was a life changing experience for me for sure. It definitely took me under a trajectory of which I have been a part of Emerald Cup ever since. But I did not come on full time until 2013. I graduated college in 2012 from UCSC and came on full time in 2013. So I've just been a part of the Emerald Cup full time since then, and gone from laytonville to read weighing in Humboldt County in California and to Sonoma County. And now we're going to LA so we're just yeah, we've been a part of the journey and seeing the growth and the expansion of the market in California for since 2007.

Shayda Torabi  9:09  
I'm super honored to have you both here. Clearly, you've built such a legacy brand in the industry but also been a part of the legacy market, right especially being in California as things have transitioned from really the illicit market into medical and ultimately into recreation and kind of the convergence of all of that happening. Also I have to call out you know, I represent a family brand as well and get to work with my parents and my siblings. So I love seeing the excitement of you know, father daughter kind of team going and helping in a myriad of ways right the Emerald Cup does so much to normalize and destigmatize cannabis but I think such a near and dear conversation to not only you know, me and my family, but to part of what I see an opportunity with cannabis is bringing it into the home right having those conversations and showing your kids and the next gen ration and really just everybody who is looking at cannabis from this stigma to it's an opportunity of showing hard work, like you were saying, Taylor, the effort that goes into actually cultivating cannabis in this plant is quite intense. And then also the opportunity of just finding relief and a better life by being able to utilize this plant and showing that it is something that can be adopted no matter how you want to consume. So just wanted to mention that get that out of the way, I think it's really awesome. And happy to again, have you both here representing the Emerald Cup. Getting into, I think a little bit of a history is really important for me to hear. I know my listeners will be curious. I know there's a ton of stuff, which I spent a lot of time digging and researching and kind of trying to piece together the true history of it. But some of the stuff that you know, I'm really curious to probably learn more from you, Tim and Taylor, feel free to you know, contribute where you see fit, but what was it like the first, let's say, three years, I know, there was some writings that I came across that we're talking about, you know, because it was so I guess, mysterious of how people were cultivating back then and just kind of like it 1986 and opening up for medical, but it was still not very favored upon. And so it being a way to kind of celebrate after harvest, right, all this hard work that had been done and create this community. But also, what was it like? What was the environment? Like? How did you put it together? What were the, I guess, like pillars of the Emerald Cup? Was it just really great outdoor flower? And there was maybe one category and you had like three judges like what was the actual makeup of the Emerald Cup in those early years? Because then it'd be really helpful to kind of contrast once we get to where it's sitting today.

Unknown Speaker  11:43  
Well, I grew up taking my kids to the county fairs each year in the fall, you know, the smells of the animals and the fruits and the vegetables and the friendly competition, just the joy of the Fall Harvest. And so we were sitting around in my place called everyone on one talking about how we'd like to do that. We felt the cannabis people deserve to do that. High Times wasn't doing shows in the country yet. Nobody was doing shows it was completely illegal and underground. And we just decided to go for it and disguise it as a couple of birthday parties for our friends and not put any posters out the first year. We had seven judges one contest, one flowers contest with Sungrown. It was a very simple thing, you know, a couple dozen entries and a couple 100 People that happened showing up in mass. Most people thought we'd get arrested, that we'd never make it through the night. I did too. We did we were pretty quiet. Word got out that first year of how much fun it was in the second year, it became a very much larger event. It went all night the whole night psychedelic party got kind of reined in that year, we had a poster we had all these bands and food and it became it doubled in size. It went from a couple 100 people to you know, 1000 overnight, and we had a CHP show up who came up. And you know, we live in the middle of nowhere up in Northern California and a highway. So he's out there by himself. All these cars are out there. And he pulls up. And he's sitting out in front talking with me. And he's like, What is going on here. He said, People were driving by him with pot coming out of the cars and he's like arrest all these cars, all these people this noise and then Marv my my MCs in there. And number six was a purple Kush. And he's like an I don't even know what is going on. There. He goes, this has to stop right now. And he drove off and drove down the freeway. And I couldn't get any cars. And we went and tried to get cars and when people were like, but he didn't, he didn't arrest us, he let it go. And it he didn't know what to do with us. And it just grew and grew. And over the years. It just we just kept adding on competitions and adding on different judges. And it got so big at my place one year, it was so cold that everything snowed, we couldn't get any water in its way to bring water in. And by the time we did that it rained so hard all the tents crashed. And we realized it was just too tough doing a show in the middle of winter at my place. So we moved to a material and the community center up there and humble one year did the biggest show. They were done in humble. But then we couldn't get the permission to go back the next year because we couldn't get the date. So we took a flyer and put a 22 page proposal out to Sonoma County to bring the Emerald Cup to Santa Rosa fairgrounds. And they said they would do it as long as we did a cannabis country fair that they would stand in front of us, God bless them, and they would bring us in. And Sonoma County and the fairgrounds there have led the way in California. That's where our show is. It's where Hall flowers is it's where all the legal shows are. And we've been there what eight years now? Taylor? Yeah, since 2013. So when legalization came in, in 2017, we realized I realized very quickly that this was going to become statewide global giant business, whereas the number one cannabis market in the world is La number one media market in the world was LA. And so we needed to move the Emerald Cup and bridge the north and the south and bring everybody together, make ourselves you know, a national show, eventually international competition and really plant our flag in LA which we're doing now. We're down here with Green Street. And we're going to do that on May 14. And it's the culmination of a dream for all of us, and we're very excited about that moving forward.

Shayda Torabi  14:57  
Yeah, I'm very excited to learn more about green Main Street I mean side side fan girl moment big fan of Gary Vaynerchuk. And just like knowing over the years, he's talked about cannabis, but then to see him actually get into the market is is obviously really exciting. And when I saw that you guys had joined forces to kind of forge this partnership, I was like, Oh, hell yeah, ads game on like some big industry heavy hitter. So I want to get to some of the new stuff y'all are doing. But first, I want to kind of go through a little bit more of the actual Emerald Cup. I mean, you were just talking about switching venues right, going into Sonoma, it's awesome that you're able to find a place and my listeners are not they've heard me talk about the municipality variance. Right. I think when people look at California cannabis, they assume it's legal everywhere, and everybody is a fan of it. In 2022. And even back when it first became legalized, right, they don't realize all these nuances of different cities and different governance and how that actually goes into legally consuming selling transacting cannabis. Right. So I am curious, because you're putting on such a major event, you were the first from my understanding in terms of kind of bringing cannabis into this event, obviously, competition, but I have to imagine there's consumption on the property. Right. So how did you navigate consumption from a legal perspective? And how have you seen your championship of on premise consumption impact the industry in other ways, because it's a huge topic. I mean, you don't go to an event now without wanting to be able to consume on premise. And it's as cannabis continues to go more mainstream, it's just $1 Talk, especially with states introducing hospitality licenses and consumption lounges. It is really the future to be able to pair all these experiences. And I really look at events as an experience, right? So knowing that y'all were those first champions, what was that like kind of challenging consumption on premise?

Unknown Speaker  16:53  
Well, we started out it was pretty easy, because we're doing an illegal underground show. So we didn't worry about anything, we just did it. We didn't have any vendors for the first several years for the competition. SC labs finally showed up about 12 years ago as a testing lab. But it was really just a party and an underground competition. As we moved to Sonoma, that became a very large consumer vendor show. And all of a sudden, we had, you know, $20 million, with the business going on in the 215. area. And it was still technically not legal. We were working around that, and working with the state and the counties and doing everything to the letter of the law that we could, but technically, it wasn't a legal operation. So when 2017 hit with legalization, then the state wasn't aware of events, they didn't know what they were really dealing with with events and legalization. So we had to go to like nine DCC meetings, to get on the agenda to talk about events and how critical they were. So we got to them. And really, it made them understand that the direct access for consumers for small farmers and for product makers, how critical that is for them. When you think about farmers markets around the country around you know, every community has these farmers markets, and where do small farmers go, they go to these farmers markets, and they sell directly to consumers. And it's, it's how they survived for the most part. And so we're very proud that we helped the state because up until that time, they didn't know what they're doing. They looked at us like they wanted us to take everything off the floor at the end of the day and take it off site off the property. And it's like 200 vendors are going to take their products off site. They wanted us to destroy anything that was on the tables that day and opened up already. And I was like, this is not the way it works. Okay, we ended up having to spend about a half million dollars and build like armed walls behind each distribution tent, to show them that we can make a safe environment to not take stuff off the sites and not throw stuff away. It costs us a lot of money that first couple of years to teach them how to do events. But because of that High Times was able to come in Dougie with chalice we've been advocating to DCC that they need to open up more events, not not just us, but more events for everybody across the state. And we need to have farmers markets and these direct access, you know, events going on every week, so that this community can really thrive and survive. So it's been a tremendous evolution and education for all of us to learn how to do this together. And Taylor has dealt with the competition side because that's still technically illegal, but we're moving stuff around in ways and stuff. So it's an ongoing process. DCC loves us because we're really there for helping do this. And we're there for the community, not just for us, but for every event that's out there, because we need them.

Shayda Torabi  19:26  
Yeah, it's really remarkable. My observation, right? I mean, you really straddle the lines from that prohibited illicit market, I have to imagine some of them have transitioned into the legal market, right? Some of them have maybe done so begrudgingly because the regulations are so taxing on them just to operate legally, but I'm curious to learn a little bit too, and maybe it's good, maybe it's bad. I really don't know. And that's really where I'm kind of leaning on your history with it. Right. You come from the legacy side of things. You are probably really well connected to the legacy side of the cultivators. And really the humble beginnings of, hey, I want to put this event together because I really want to shine a light, I want to create, you know, celebration for the community of the hard work that these people are doing to bring this plant to people who need it, whether it is legal or accessible or not. But as things have gotten more mainstream, it's kind of like my feeling is unfortunately, we're going there, whether you like it or not, we're going mainstream cannabis is going into this legal, professional, normal category. But what does that do to the legacy? Right? What is that sentiment between those original kind of group of growers, and I know people are still growing in a legacy sense. But how has that been adopted or welcomed with your I guess, person being in the middle of that, because you're bringing this event you really started for these black market? I don't know if black markets even fair to say, because it's not like a negative thing. Right? Underground. Yeah. non traditional. What is that been like where you originally started for them, but now it is going so mainstream? Are they welcoming it? Do they hate that it's gotten so much attention?

Unknown Speaker  20:58  
It's so interesting, because like one of the questions that is asked a lot of us is like, why is the legacy market important? Or like why should people be supporting legacy brands? And I think that like even your question about consumption and public events is like a good highlight into why this is an important question is because we wouldn't be here where we are today, if people didn't take risks and do things that they were told that they were not to have done like it, there was no like law that allowed Tim to have a public weed competition at his at his property. But he was like, it's important, I'm doing it, I'm going to take the risk. And I'm going to push the boundaries. And it evolved a whole market and it started a movement of people that felt comfortable to like, then have their products entered and be a part of this community and like stand up for themselves a little bit more and feel proud about that. And so I think that there's a slew of community members that are have brands, or are activists, pebbles TripIt is one of them, that have been like, we're the ones that are staying on their shoulders at this point. And so we need to just make sure that they have a seat at the table when it comes to importance of purchasing power for consumers. And my legacy brands are important. I just feel like it's one of those things where I think that the community as a whole that are not cannabis consumption, people that are just new to the market, maybe they're not as familiar with these stories. And so we just we really value people like yourself that are in the media that are trying to get out the message, as well as not only just educating people on consumption, and like why cannabis is cool, or why you can use it for medical reasons, but also why it's important to support legacy brands, because they're definitely the the reason why we got here as where we are today. But I think that there are a lot, a lot of legacy brands that are evolving, and they want to evolve and they want to go interstate, they want to be brands around the world, and they put in the time and the work to get there. It just it's hard, it's really hard to evolve. Because the gray area just even for events, it was a lot easier to operate in the gray area when you're kind of making your own rules. And now that everything is more formalized in the legalized states, and the tax scene is so high, it's like, it's very hard for these brands to make any money. And without making money, it's hard for them to survive. A lot of them are family brands. And so it just it's a hard place in the industry, because the goal is there to evolve and want to be there in the future. But the tools really aren't there to help support a lot of these brands make it?

Shayda Torabi  23:13  
Yeah, I appreciate you sharing that because I couldn't agree more. It's something that I often reflect on just personally, right, you know, you have all these new consumption methods out there. And it's like the plant is the original, growing the plants being one with the plant understanding cultivation and genetics. And just that component is so important. And especially looking at the history of cannabis here in America and who were really those first pioneers, and I loved the way you phrased it too, right? Like we're standing, y'all most importantly, are standing on their shoulders. And those are the people who came before and so how do you bring them to the table? And I guess that is the best answer that I could have expected to hear. Right? Because I think that that is just so important for people to understand. It's not that legacy is going away, although it is harder to maintain in the changing landscape that is legal cannabis. But how do you bring everybody together? And I think, you know, y'all have done a really great job of bringing everybody together even though the industry is continuing to grow and it's going more normalized, there's still so much conversation and education and history that has to be unpacked. And I really see all as again that straddle of where legacy came from an intersecting with it now going into more of a traditional market so thank you for sharing that tinge. I'm gonna say something else.

Unknown Speaker  24:28  
Well, yeah, I was gonna say it was a very interesting set of debates and rousing discussions about this what you're talking about back then because people were like, you know the first time we did the sheriffs debates for an area one on one I was given death threats up on spy rock called with death threats and said that I was going to ruin the industry. I was going to destroy, which we did we did destroy the traditional markets and that I should really be dead for that. And I can understand their their sentiments looking back. We did basically put an end to the traditional markets in Most ways by doing this, but I told them back then, and I told him that when we went for Prop 64, look, as long as people are going to prison for 10 to 20 year prison sentences, as long as mainstream people don't feel comfortable, like my priest, you know, oldest rainy priest in the Bay Area, as long as he doesn't feel comfortable using cannabis, then we need to change, we need to evolve. There was never any guarantee that outlaws had a guaranteed life forever to make a living off cannabis. This was just unique thing that came up, we've done a heroic act, but we need to open it up to the rest of the country and the rest of the world. Because cannabis needs to impact society, and this planet. And it's done that what we've done through this is you see now with California going legal, the rest of the country falling the rest of the world. It's happening. The fallout from that is really the demise of so many of those legacy farmers that did all this work. And they just weren't prepared. They were outlaws, but they're not great at social media. They're not an HR, they're not really, you know, CEOs, they don't like to go out and schmooze. That's not who they are by nature. And so they were destined. When we passed Prop 64 Gavin Newsom, our governor came up and promised all of us that there would never be anything more than one acre for five years, so that there'll be a five year window so that all these small farmers could segue out. So they wouldn't be wiped out overnight. Well, two months into the legalization of 64 Gavin Newsom opened up large scale farming. And the next thing you know, you didn't have one Acre Farms, you had 1020 30 Acre Farms. And the property value in Salinas county went from 20,000 an acre to being worth 80,000 an acre and six months, the value of land in the Emerald triangle dropped in half. Okay, and that wasn't the deal that I ever set up. It's not the deal that we agreed to. It's not the deal that we all said would work. It was like the legacy brands did this. Let's protect them. Let's give them a chance to leave. That wasn't done. It's a mess. You've got an extinction event going on a lot of bitterness amongst all the small farmers. People have come at me venomously for what came about, I understand that I don't blame them for that. But I didn't buy into that that's not what the politicians sold us and this is what we're dealing with now. So overall, I'm still glad we went in this direction. But it breaks my heart to see so many friends and family members going bankrupt.

Shayda Torabi  27:16  
It's the double edged sword unfortunately and I'll further add to that right if it wasn't you would be somebody else like it was going to be inevitable the direction of this industry I often reflect on and especially here in Texas where we're dealing with not even a full legal market but we've got these minor cannabinoids in the state's trying to I don't know if y'all know this but Texas is currently in the middle of a smokable hemp ban that is at our Supreme Court. And so it's like okay our st can even have smoke bubbles or medical program is very infant doesn't even have smoke bubbles but you've let the cat out of the bag and how do you stuff a cat back in a bag you cannot so no matter how you look at cannabis, whatever market it is what it is it is very hard and it is very challenging I feel for these legacy people. I respect the legacy but it is I mean, you said it very well Tim right. The evolution of business and looking at cannabis as this commodity. I talk a lot about cannabis being a consumer packaged good, right how is it what is it looked like in the package, the quality of course matters what you are feeling and how it smells and the profile of the plant but people are looking at you know, 10 different gummies in any given dispensary and trying to make a decision. So how do you compete with that you have to be smart you have to be bringing in the finances, the team, the money, the background, everything. So it is really fascinating. And I should appreciate you guys sharing so openly. I can't imagine that it's a comfortable position to be in but it is you know, par for the course of just being the leader that you guys are in the industry and helping champion this evolution of cannabis and just trying to you know, create the community to welcome all these conversations and really try to shape it moving forward. I mean, I was telling Taylor before we started recording, you know, politics as a consumer, I wanted legalization. And the moment I got in the industry I'm like legalization doesn't look like legalization. There's so many nuances to it so you can have politicians you can have governors in Texas they're currently right now you know, get our current governor out we need a new governor so we can legalize and I'm like y'all it's not even the governor. It's the lieutenant governor so you're you know voting the wrong person. So whatever it's just you don't realize it until you're actually in the industry navigating it

Hello, just want to take a quick moment to thank my sponsor and full disclosure, my company restart CBD, restart CBD is a brand that I built with my sister so we are family owned and women owned we do operate a brick and mortar in Austin. So if you ever find yourself in Central Texas, we'd love for you to come say hi, but we also shipped nationwide and we carry a wide range of CBD products. We really care about this plant we really care about educating our customers. This show would not be possible without their support. So please go check us out at restart cbd.com and use code to be blunt for $5 off your next purchase. Thanks. And let's go back to the show. I want to transition into the competition, because that is really fascinating to me of when you originally started the Emerald Cup to where it's evolved. Now, I mean, I was going through a list of all the categories you have included, you know, going into cartridges and edibles and flour and there's hydrocarbon and then you're even getting into subcategories of indoor greenhouse and all the variations of different distillates and rosins, and things like that. So how has that evolved? And what has really been driving it? Were y'all driving it? Were you saying, Oh, these are new products that people want to submit into the competition? And so you're starting to see the market open up from that perspective? Or was the market opening up and saying, hey, you know, we're now seeing these types of products. Let's open up these categories. And I really want to start picking apart you know, the competition side because it is so fascinating how you execute a competition on cannabis. I mean, I can eat, you know, five different pieces of cake in one day. But I don't know how much cannabis I could personally be judging in any given moment. So be curious to hear how y'all approach competition for the Emerald Cup? Well, so

Unknown Speaker  31:24  
the competition is definitely like the soul of the Emerald Cup in so many ways, because it's really it's truly like the the unifier between every single year, even in the year of COVID, when we couldn't have an in person event, we still managed to pull off that competition. And that's like, the most prideful thing, because it is a annual tradition that impacts so many lives. And it is so fun and so crazy. And so like dynamic, and just announcing the awards is so like life changing. It's just as like, there's so many things that are so special about it. But in terms of expanding the competition to different categories, we definitely take a snapshot of the industry as it is, I would like to say that almost the competition categories has evolved as the market has evolved in California, as different methods of extraction are developed and popularized and worked through we add those categories in if there's different beverages, or edibles or ways in which people are consuming, you know, ingestible products, we add those in hemp products, we added those in. So it's kind of as things sort of, like formalized in the industry. And take hold, we add those new categories because we want to be honoring of those products and realize the difficulty that is judging those things side by side. So for example, for an edibles judge to judge like a beverage against a gummy, those things are different. So we have separate categories for those. And we definitely pick judges that are experts in whatever it is the field that they are in that they're judging, so they definitely have to have high tolerances, I could never be a flower Judge, I have no idea how they do that. Because there's definitely a difference between just enjoying cannabis and then being able to smoke or consume a large amount and then be able to be critical of it. But why it is so important also, just for your audience to understand is like in any type of industry, there is like a best stuff, you know, like a Luer has their like Best of beauty. You know, there's the kid on YouTube who like reviews, toys for other kids and is like this extremely popular YouTuber because of that, because there's like there's this ability, when you can see something that is trusted to be chosen the best, then it kind of gives you the reassurance when you're purchasing something with your hard earned money, that you know, that's something that's going to be of a great quality. And that is something that we are just so honored to have the the caliber of judging that goes on at the Emerald Cup, the products that win truly are the best that are entered. And so it catapults these brands also into a sales number that is just the best, like a side effect of winning an Emerald Cup is not only just the fact that you get a trophy, and you get to be on stage, but then you're also your brand is recognized as the best. And so it's just the synergy that happens in the competition that is so special. But I will definitely let Tim speak to us. He's seen more of the evolution of the competition as to how we pick categories or how we expand the categories as we go.

Unknown Speaker  34:07  
Well, it's funny, we started off with just that one contest. And then people thought we were adding contests just to add more money to the competition. And we're like, No, we were just trying to keep up with all the different innovative products coming in. And the way things evolve. Like Taylor said, Just breaking out the edibles into 10 categories and whatnot. But it's really something to have watched us just go from the flowers to start adding the CBD in. We couldn't do concentrates or genetics because they were so illegal back then. And one by one these competitions just slipped into the cup. The first year they did an illegal concentrate competition in my side room. They didn't even tell me I looked over and saw like seven of my friends doing an illegal hash contest. Because hash was so dangerous back then you still go to jail for 15 years. And I looked at him and I was gonna give him some hack about it. And I went well I guess it's just anarchy within anarchy. They're just doing the thing. So that's when the the hash contest the third year came in, you know, and the genetics through Ringo came meant, because Maher wouldn't let him sell him there. But then Ringo brought the genetics and we started doing that. And so year after year, we just kept adding these things in. It's hard to believe that we're almost at 45. Contests now with 100 judges and almost 200 Awards, the competition is so challenging, people have no idea how much work goes into picking up these products, and then delivering them to all these judges, God was Taylor and Vicki have their cars stuck with these judges PACs driving all over the state, it's technically not legal, you know, you've got this whole framework that we're taking it in, there's a technicality of that where where they're driving around with all these packages, and if somebody got pulled over, we don't know which way it would go. And here we are doing this supposedly illegal competition, but there's still elements of it that are totally legal. And so it's really a fly by the seat of your pants, the judges come in, they see how much effort we go into this, how much we request of them how much dedication it takes for them to pull this off. I mean, they literally need co parenting for the three weeks, they're judging because somebody's got to help them put their clothes on get their food. I mean, these guys are getting so high ladies to and they're concentrating on this, they give their lives up, you know, and they're not being paid. It's quite an honor. And it's something else, because the judges never want to leave, we almost have to pry them out to get new judges in. Because it's such a badge of honor for them that they don't want to go, we have judges that have been in there, Swami and Nicky for almost 20 years now, and they don't want to go. And so it's really fun for the judges. For the contestants, the competition's a very hectic, stressful moment for Taylor and Vicki to get through, because they're running it. But it is the heart of the soul of the whole show. And people just love it. There's so much of a thrill there. We had the judges retreat last weekend and a couple 100 people came together that were just so happy to just be there talking about all these products and seeing it all and hanging out. And just, it was like the cream of the crop and action.

Shayda Torabi  36:46  
Yeah, it's so fun to get to witness like what you guys are expressing because I've seen it on social media and just through different media, you know, stories and testimonials and videos and things like that. And so I can't imagine the behind the scenes, which I appreciate getting to hear a little bit more from y'all directly. But it is a lot of work that goes into that. And our tailor if you want to add anything to that too

Unknown Speaker  37:08  
well, just because we really truly pride ourselves in being a statewide competition. And so we have like contestants and judges that range from like Trinity County, to San Diego, to Grass Valley, to Sacramento, to the bay to Mendocino, it's just like we have judges everywhere, we have contestants everywhere. And California is such a large state that just it's like, the little like airplane map that you see that's just like all of those things, all those entries having to get to one place then to be logged in sorted and delivered. It's definitely a large undertaking, but it is like it is so fun. And so much joy comes out of doing it and so much love goes into it that there's nothing that feels more rewarding than at the end of a competition. You're just like, oh, I want to do it again. We should just do it again. Right now.

Shayda Torabi  37:54  
I am curious to learn how many entrants you get, I couldn't help but notice on the website, you are almost like setting up a meeting prior? I don't know if you I don't want to say gatekeeper. But I'm sure you review, or is there a qualification of people's products that need to meet a certain standard for them to even be submitted to be a part of the competition? Or are you just trying to set up kind of like a check and balance like okay, we don't want people submitting randomly. We want to have a conversation know who these people are. I'm curious how you do the input and how many total products I mean, you said there's you know, X amount of categories, but how many actual participants are submitting their products into the competition. Since prop 64 was

Unknown Speaker  38:37  
passed, we do actually maintain now three personal use categories. So those categories, you don't have to have a license to enter. But we need to make sure that those products are safe for our judges to consume. And so those are the only ones in the personal use categories that we have to get tested and make sure that they pass all their like microbiology and pesticide testing and all those things. And so that way they're safe to consume. And every year we do have a few fails for that. So there are a few contestants that don't make it through. But California testing standards are so high that it's to not even sometimes their fault that just as the way that the testing standards are so high, but we definitely this year had hundreds and hundreds of entries. I thought it was a secret. But then Jim said that he was telling people so that's why I'm like I think it's okay that we tell people if you've already been telling people, but I mean, you're the boss after all. So I don't know if you would get in trouble by but we've had over 700 entries this year across all categories, which does make us the largest competition in the entire world for cannabis. We've had that as like a reigning champion title, but it definitely just feels rewarding to have that much interest in entering the competition because it just goes to show like what it means to win. You know, people are really excited about entering.

Unknown Speaker  39:49  
You know, you look at it, Leo aficionado he won the flower competition. I was about what maybe eight years ago 20 An exact year. His genetics went up from $5 a seed to fifth You know, I was a seed overnight connected one the indoor last year and ended up getting a $20 million deal. If you win the competition, you get tremendous props and financial rewards coming through there. So it is friendly. But it's also become a very serious thing now, because now it's its business, its branding. And so it's become something that everybody really works to put their best foot forward and win. So it's a really a fun thing to see across the board and be able to give those winners their awards at the end of the day, and see it come through, it's really a joy. This year, they packed over 8100 single gram jars just in flowers. So the team had to pack up over. In fact, even more than that, I think was probably over 8500 I think you guys, so you're talking almost 9000 packages just for the flowers alone. So it's incredible to see these go into these bags.

Unknown Speaker  40:47  
I don't know if we even mentioned it, or if you're aware, shade it, but the flower condition is blind. So all of the product that comes into us, it's all branded, and it stars but then we then have to take it out of the jars put it into a blind jar. This year, we were so honored to have tree hugger hugger and Santa packaging who are past winners of our sustainable packaging competition. But they were sponsors of ours this year. And they donated this packaging for us so that we had like recycled ocean plastic and sustainable glass jars that we packed all of these flower samples into and then we got them all terpene tested so that way we could group them into their six distinct terpene classification system categories that we developed this year. And so it was very like scientific and awesome, because we just gave each of the judges a sample of their entry and that just had a number on it. And then a sticker that indicated the terpene class and we gave them these little like flashcards and it was definitely like the best presentation we've ever done for the flower judging so just but it had to happen in like two weeks. So it was just a very stressful time. But it was great. It was overall very great.

Shayda Torabi  41:53  
Well, Tim, you were mentioning branding, and I can't help but address that. I mean, I love branding is like my favorite marketing topic out of everything. And so kind of looking at it from a couple lenses, right one, you have this influx of products. So let's say you know, 700 plus entrants covering a range of consumption methods, then you also have just the opportunity, like you were also sharing right when the winners are announced what that does for your label for your brand for your sales for your position in the marketplace. And so there is this really cool opportunity for obviously businesses who want to establish themselves or get recognition to participate. But then the flip side of that is which y'all both were kind of talking about right and Taylor, you were mentioning the blind testing on the flower. I was curious how you actually operate the competition from a I don't know if like fair is the best word to use. But that's the word I'll choose for this right? Like how do you create an unbiased judging experience? When on flower? I understand perhaps right, and you don't want there to be any? Oh, well, we know it's these growers with this cultivator. But then I also was poking around on social media. And I saw some of the judges had shared like videos of the things they were judging, and you could see it was in their packaging, I mean, these drinks are in their packaging, the edibles are in their packaging. So you balance this blind and not blind testing. Again, as a marketer, I would want to see the brand in the package, because I want to judge your packaging, I want to judge the presentation, all those components. So I'm curious about that degree of oversight from your team of to making these decisions blind or not blind and why you've made that selection and how that has impacted the credibility I guess, of the Emerald, you know, competition aspect? Well, I just was gonna say

Unknown Speaker  43:39  
it's definitely it's a fine line, because you do want to give credit to the packaging and to the instructions and to how you would purchase a product. But in terms of the infused categories, or the ingestible categories, that's why we've chosen to still maintain the importance of having the branding there because the ingredients list and the instructions list are very important in your ease of use, especially with an edible like, you definitely want to know if it's like a 10 milligram law or a 25 milligram edible, you know, you're going to want to know those differences, because it will have a great effect on your experience afterwards. But with the flour, the hydrocarbon concentrates and the solventless concentrates, those are the three categories that we've maintained them to be blind. And those are the three that we feel though as that the product should speak for itself. And the consumption method is kind of to be understood in either like a hash experience or a flower experience. And so although the branding is important, we feel like the product itself should be the most important and so to remove the branding and the strain name like the judges don't even know the strain that has been entered. They just know the terpene sticker that so that's the category that it falls in. It's really maintain the legitimacy of the competition and it's really helped us in the long run because especially for these growers when your flower is chosen the best flower or by, you know, a set a series of 20 judges and they don't know anything about you, they don't know anything about your farm, they don't think about your strain, and they chose yours is the best. It just is like the validation to show that it's like you could be a big brand, you could be a small brand, you could have a strain that everyone is heard of around the world, and you can have a strain that no one has ever heard of, and you still have a fair shot, it's like the product is going to be what's going to make it or break it for you. And that's really special. I love that so much about our competition. And it just, it makes it so that it feels a lot more legitimate.

Unknown Speaker  45:30  
It really does. We've gone to great lengths for the gentleman in the contest. You're right. People ask us all the time, how do we ensure that that's why we went to such great lengths to keep it anonymous with all that, as we expanded the contest, you can't take the packaging off of beverage do these things aren't going to work. And we've gone back and forth with our judges, because many of these judges they work in dispensaries or in clubs. And they understand the value of that packaging, and the importance of it for directions or for how to use something, it's a balance of how much does that impact the score, and how much the just the product itself, you know, come about, in addition to that, we go to such great lengths to bring in the best judges, we spare no expense. And, you know, we have 400 people a year, you know, apply to be judges. And Vicky goes through those lists. Every year, we look for special people that we can add to the mix and evolve so that people can come in and see the process. Because when people come in to see the process, and they write about it, they're like, it's very clear to them. There is no bias that's completely objective, we are going to make sure that the right winner wins. And you get done with it many judges just like oh yeah, there's no doubt about the credibility of this contest. So it's really good to have people move in and out of the contest as judges so they can actually evangelize for us. And that we continue that judging pool. You know, people just know who we are, we've never been bought off. It's not about money. We've never been about money. It's about, you know, the best product that best grower farmer wins. And they respect us for that.

Shayda Torabi  46:55  
Yeah, I can't imagine the I mean, just everything, you're sharing the effort to accumulate all these products to create this environment of fair, and also to allow the best products to truly when it is a dance that you are doing so delicately. And it's just a great opportunity, I think for the industry, obviously, to have that recognition for the winners to be able to, you know, utilize the name of the Emerald Cup and their marketing and everything that they're taking forward. So I was just curious, because I think as you see new competitions pop up, there is always kind of a question of how do you approach it right. And so I think learning from and hearing from, you know, the number one competition brand is really cool to learn how you choose to break down this component that is so integral to your brand name, kind of with that I am curious if you can share if you have shared and maybe you can speak about it abstractly, if you don't want to go into specifics, because this may be something that your judges are the ones who are experiencing. But what do you value to categorize as the best is it I was reading something that y'all had shared on social media recently? I think it was you Tim. And it was the highest THC content flower has never won the Emerald Cup terpene and the entourage effect are the major determining factors of Emerald Cup champion flower and then you go went on to share your own sentiment that you've been using that same statement for years and trying to really educate consumers. And it isn't just the THC content, right? So how do you encourage or coach your judges, maybe your longer term judges have experienced it and learned over time just through personal practice. But let's say you're bringing a new judge in what are they you know, supposed to experience in terms of okay, I'm been giving you know, X amount of products. Now I'm judging it based on taste quality see aways, I'm just making this up in my head. But we'd love to learn what you are expressing to judges to make sure that they're looking for and how you kind of help those judges identify what the best is for them, right? Because I think best is subjective. But if you have 10 people who all say this is the best, well, then that's the best. Right? So how do you help get people to understanding how to actually judge on these types of products?

Unknown Speaker  49:09  
Well, Alec Dixon from SC labs have been really evangelizing for years now to move it from an overall contest in the flowers to a terpene based competition. And he succeeded in getting tendinitis switch that over last year. But in doing so, we realized that it's not easy to take it into the six top terpenes because it's everything's hybrid. Now it's all hybridize. So it's really more gases or desserts. And we started looking at Mark Lewis and Alec and are working for years on a terpene based system. And so we worked with them and with us to develop this system we did for this year. And we're really excited about it because the judges are all learning I'm learning. I mean, it's it's just so much to learn. But we're all learning about this different terpene based scoring system, and how to separate the categories and how to get people to really look for the nuances of what's good for them, rather than that highest THC. Think, oh terpinolene is better for me, I need something a little lighter and more uplifting rather than just a 32% thc walkout. Because that's what happens. People go into dispensaries, they look for the highest THC for the best bang for the buck. And that's not doing anybody a service. It's not for the consumers, anybody else. So it's really been something we're very proud of, and very excited to really work with our judges, our teams, our contestants, and educate the consumers on this new way of looking at terpenes and flowers and whatnot. And Taylor has done a great job of Vicki of overseeing that just an amazing evolution,

Unknown Speaker  50:35  
that evolution for sure that happens every year. We like adjusts, you know, but every category has its own unique scoring system that goes along with it. So the same scoring system that's applied to flowers is not applied to edibles, you know, so for edibles you're looking at like taste and ingredients. And packaging is a score indicator on edibles. And then you go to you know, when you go to flower, it's like packaging obviously isn't a score indicator, and it's taste and smell and trim. So appearance. And it's really cool, because as you see, like Tim said, it's really nice to have an influx of new judges. So every single year on the teams, we have returning judges that are some returning judges, we, Nikki and swarm are the only two judges that we still have that have maintained their place since the very first year. But we have some returning judges and some new judges on every single team. And so to see every single year the like returning judges kind of take on the like, senior in class, you know, roll and they kind of like take the new judges under their wing and show them like how to do the scores and all of that it kind of makes it so it's like a little bit less stressful. But then by the end, they're all like such a team and that team decision because it's not the winners aren't just decided upon points alone. The points will get you into the top scores, but then we want it to be a conversation so that way, no judges like why don't why that one, one because it just had odd points. It's like if if the points don't add up, because sometimes points can subjective, like my number 10 Could be your number eight. And so you don't want to like a few points to get in the way of somebody if the product everybody agrees is superior, and it should win, then that product should win. It's a very nuanced conversation at the very end. But it always makes us all feel very good that all of the judges, there's just so much transparency that goes along with the whole process that it's like, all of the judges feel good about the way that the scores land with the products. And it's definitely it's like a it's like a little cannabis bootcamp of judging a competition where you kind of like, a lot of the time, I don't think people understand what they're really getting themselves into. And then when they're in it, they're like, Whoa, this is really fun. You know, I have to try like 80 Different solventless hash entries and come up with scores and have conversations every single week with a team of people that are my peers in the industry, and, and from all over the state and all different experience levels. And it's just like so much education and growth and conversation happens in these conversations that it is. So it's a very cool thing to be a part of, for sure. We were just saying actually, it's someone was saying they were watching the flower judging it that they were like, it's kind of like watching poker. Because it's sort of boring, but exciting at the same time. No, it's

Shayda Torabi  53:15  
very cool to learn because it is so interesting. I think when you again look I mean from like a consumer perspective of like, oh, how do you like judge a competition again, it's like, Oh, I'm just gonna eat, eat these five edibles or smoke these, you know, five joints, but actually the strategy that goes behind it from your team, to the actual, like coaching, and I love that kind of approach, like, you know, the new, the new, you know, freshmen versus the seniors, like, let me kind of help bring you along to this experience. And it's how it's done, y'all this is how we're gonna, you know, judge things. Um, it really kind of reinforces that community aspect of it. And I think it can help also squash a lot of those, like, you were saying tailor like, Oh, why is this one the winner? It's like, well, variation of points. Well, let's talk about it. And let's actually really discuss in a point collectively, this is the, the winner for that category. So very, very cool to learn. I'm like, just so happy to like be talking about this because I really see events as such, the future of cannabis, as you were saying early on Tim, right. You want to welcome more of events to be able to happen in our industry and, and it is such a gray area, because as you're saying, it's legal now for you to do these events, but there's certain components that you know, you're kind of pushing the boundaries and I really resonated with a sentiment that was shared earlier to if we don't push the boundaries, we can't change the boundaries and if we just accept where the boundaries are, we'll then we'll never be able to go beyond them. And so it is this very delicate kind of like, okay, well, this is really gray, but we're gonna go ahead and do it anyways or look the other way or maybe like, you know, high five on the way out like, let's go ahead and let it happen. So I am curious to I want to transition into getting into the Green Street. Is it a partnership is a collaboration is this a one time thing is it's going to be something ongoing Hang on, I'm just really fascinated with again, the the growth that cannabis is going into and bringing it into this multi dimensional I mean, now you don't just have cannabis, California is really this epicenter of the beyond the bud right? You're seeing this in technology you're seeing in other form factors and not even just technology of, you know, ecommerce and platforms and like delivery and like how you're going to bring your product to market, but also the technology of how you're going to be consuming these products, extraction methods, different types of ways to do things with the cannabis plant. And so Green Street is a major brand in the space, but they're fairly new from what I've kind of observed and paying attention to. And so I'm just curious how that kind of came about how you look at partnerships for the Emerald Cup. And just like the evolution of where, again, we talked about kind of where things were, we're talking about the competition evolving, but Emerald Cup as a brand, I also saw that y'all had been incorporating a lot more panel type discussions. I don't know if that was always a part of the Emerald Cup, or if that's something more newer, but it's more than just a competition and this community event, right? There's so much more happening. So what is what does that look like as you go into this Green Street opportunity taking place in a couple of weeks, right?

Unknown Speaker  56:16  
Yeah, well, when people come to the Emerald Cup, they're pretty much they get overwhelmed. Because, you know, we have three speaker panels, we've got three stages going on music, we have all the 215 area going on, we have other performances, we have art, you know, so it's a, just an overwhelming amount of choices to come into and be part of the of the event. And we love that because it's about education, and inspiring people to really reach and learn different aspects about this. So we really enjoy that immensely with people coming in. And it's always going to be a major part of us. As far as going to LA, we wanted to bridge the northern and southern parts of the states. And we were gonna go down to LA two years ago, and then COVID hit. So it slowed us down, we were going to get permission to go into Long Beach with Omicron. It slowed us down again. And so we were kind of in between Rama and Josh and the Green Street family, they have the Green Street building in downtown LA, they're making the preeminent cannabis office space in the country, which they've done. It's just a stunning example of how cannabis can really be elevated with a Michelin star, you know, five star restaurant, the bottom, it's just, you know, just incredible look and feel. And they were doing the Green Street Festival and then invited us in to do our award ceremony to be partners with them. And then to work towards a larger deal next year in a joint venture. So we're very honored to be with them. We're making that work, we can do the show this year, plant the flag in LA, and then come back next year with you know, like 50,000 people a day and do a real show in LA.

Shayda Torabi  57:42  
That's really exciting. What do you see I guess Greenstreet being able to add to your current offering? Is it just to bring it into a new market to kind of expose you to really, I guess, from your words, your perspective, the bridge between northern and southern California? Or is there more that can be expected of I guess, maybe to transition to I always love asking my guests like, what does the future of cannabis look like? From your perspective, right? And so as you're looking towards the future, being able to see cannabis becoming more adopted, seeing the California market continue to grow and really be this beacon of brands? I mean, my favorite brands from our true brand sense come from California, because the state has just elevated the expectation from a consumer perspective. So maybe the question is, what do you see this move into LA? And really this evolution of Emerald Cup, offering you as looking towards the future? Like what does the future look like for you guys? What excites you about it? What do you look forward to?

Unknown Speaker  58:48  
Well, you know, LA is going to be our home, we're going to base a national competition out of here soon as we go federally illegal in the next 18 months, that'll be followed up immediately with an international competition, because we'll open it up internationally. I can't wait to see Acapulco gold and Colombian red and all this stuff coming in from all over the world tie and hash and coming in having a global international marketplace. It's just It's exciting to see that and nothing's going to stop that. Democrats, Republicans, it doesn't matter where it goes. We will be legal by the end of 2023 and we're going to be in a whole new world. So that's very exciting for us and that's why we wanted to be positioned into LA you know, the legalization, you said something there which is really true. One of the great things about legalization is it really forced like in the edibles world people were just throwing together these homemade edibles with no packaging and no direction and just selling this stuff. And now edibles are all regulated. It's all directional and it's people know what they're doing and sell a clean products and so it's really pushed us into this really like you were the word elevated look and feel and what we're putting out so California I love what California is doing. I can't wait to see my friends are opening up $100 million complex and Mississippi this year. You see it in New Jersey all over the country. I'm so excited that cannabis is going to take its rightful place in society it's doing so fast psychedelics are coming right behind them. And they're being accepted into society because of all the incredible health benefits and mental wellness and healing that takes place. So I have more excitement for the world where we're going than I ever have. And I think in the next two or three years, you're gonna see free energy will be announced cannabis legalization across the world, the retirement of all the debt in the world, introduction to our et friends from the stars, and we're going to be well into the Aquarian Age of a world that people could have only dreamed and imagined just a few years ago.

Shayda Torabi  1:00:39  
There is so much history to unpack and there is still so much history to write. I can't imagine that position and opportunity that Tim and Taylor sit in. But to coalesce all these different inputs from the industry into creating the pivotal platform they've built is a tremendously inspirational thing to watch and learn from as we progress of cannabis forward. I'm also eager to see who ends up winning this year and also excited to extend invites for those brands to be on the podcast so we can continue to learn from their experiences. But I also look forward to watching how Tim Taylor and their team navigate the next hurdles and challenges that come up because there will always be a challenge to overcome, but it's how you learn from it, grow from it, pivot and move forward that truly matters. I hope you feel inspired from this episode. And as always, thank you so much for keeping it blunt with me. I'll be back with another episode of The to be blunt podcast next Monday, and in the meantime, encourage you to keep championing cannabis in your community. Thanks y'all. See you later.

Announcer  1:01:45  
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