The community lit up at the second annual SLO Cannabis Cup Saturday, April 21. Founded by two Cal Poly seniors, SLO Cup is the largest cannabis exhibition on the Central Coast and features local cannabis exhibitors, glassblowing, live music and an award ceremony for some of the area’s top marijuana products.
Attendees participated in events like dab pong, eyeballing challenges and rolling competitions. However, sales of cannabis products were not allowed.
The event was a joint partnership between computer science senior Nico Pitchon and nutrition senior Matt O’Connor. Pitchon has been involved with Cal Poly’s cannabis club on campus, NORML, and also worked for Slo Dro Co, a local cannabis delivery service. O’Connor owns his own collective, Green Giant Trading Company.
“It’s mostly educational, exhibitional,” Pitchon said. “You get to learn about cannabis from the actual growers and producers … not from someone over the phone.”
Attendees purchased judging kits prior to the competition and were given access to the judge’s lounge where they cast their votes over the roughly 70 entries.
There were five competitions: flowers, concentrates, edibles, topicals and tinctures. The main competition involved the Best Overall Flower and Best Overall Concentrate trophies as well as trophies for Indoor Flower, Mixed-light Flower, Sungrown Flower, Solvent Concentrate, Solventless Concentrate and Distillate. Additional awards included “Terpiest Concentrate,” “Most Potent Flower” and special recognitions of participants who impressed the judges.
To put it bluntly, Pitchon said there were less vendors this year due to Prop. 64 going into effect, leaving businesses adjusting to new state and local regulations.
“It is harder to be in the cannabis industry with all the new regulations. You are already starting to see a hit to the local community,” Pitchon said.
Both Pitchon and O’Connor are going to start working at American Cannabis Shows (ACS) to throw cannabis competitions all over the state. If everything goes well, Pitchon said, their next events will be three-Day Recreational cannabis events at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds Oct. 16 to 18 and Santa Cruz Fairgrounds Oct. 26 to 28.
For some hopeful cannabis entrepreneurs, The SLO Cup was a place to launch their businesses. Robert Farino created Slo Grow Co. to provide equipment and education for people who want to grow their own products.
“We want to teach people how to grow clean, organic produce,” Farino said. “What gave me the idea was both the newfound freedom people have to grow their own and also the amount of information that is out there, it’s quite overwhelming.”
Slo Grow Co. uses completely organic soils and assembles everything for their clients. From the grow lights to greenhouses, all their customers need is the seed. They also provide a grow coach to help from germination of the seed to harvesting the produce.
“Both my wife and I lost our fathers to cancer and cannabis helped them significantly through [the] chemo process,” Farino said. “[We] mainly grow for medicinal purposes. It’s more of a knowledge-sharing and experience.”
SLO Cannabis Cup is a non profit event and collects donations for parking, entry and activities. All of the proceeds are donated to the Prado Day Center.
“The biggest thing is bringing the community together and just bringing the cannabis community to light,” Pitchon said. “It always makes me happy just to have a group of people just come together and celebrate whatever it is … it’s really important for the community to know that this is here and this is OK and this is normal.”
Editors Note: A previous version of this story included a correction. It has since been retracted.