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Emerald Cup Winners: A Closer Look at the Evolution, Impact, and Award-Winning Strains

TheCannabis reigns supreme in the mountainous region of Northern California. Home to some of the industry’s most notable names, NorCal holds a special place in our hearts thanks to deep connections with the Emerald Triangle and a number of brands dubbed ‘Emerald Cup Winners.’


In May of 2023, vibes were high and joints were blazing as the 19th annual Emerald Cup awards took place in Richmond, California. It’s no secret that The Emerald Cup remains one of the most celebrated events in the California weed industry, but how has it grown into the much-anticipated event that it is today?


In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at the evolution and impact of The Emerald Cup awards before diving into a few award-winning strains and brands — many of which we’re proud to carry on our menu. Let’s begin.


History of the Emerald Cup

A Bay Area favorite, the Emerald Cup (official website) has seen years of cannabis industry change and has honored cannabis culture, even through the dark days of marijuana prohibition. But even one of the industry’s most celebrated events isn’t without its fair share of change over the years. 


Attended by celebrities, stoners, and weed industry insiders alike, The Emerald Cup is an epicenter of authenticity and culture. Though it wasn’t always that way. 


Founded in 2004, The Emerald Cup was sort of a secret event, largely known only by farmers who concealed their identities for fear of prosecution. Back then, it was more so a gathering event that allowed growers within the area to share tips, tricks, and their favorite buds. 


Fast forward 19 years later and weed is not only legal, it’s a major tourist attraction AND celebrated by the masses. And while the iconic event has undoubtedly changed throughout the years to accommodate the evolving climate of the industry, one thing remains constant: The Emerald Cup impact. 


The Emerald Cup Awards Show and Community Impact

Year after year, both hopeful winners and cannabis industry fanatics attend The Emerald Cup for an inside look at the best that the weed industry has to offer. And for good reason — California is home to arguably the most diverse and largest cannabis scene.


Up close image of a cannabis bud


While the marijuana industry continues to thrive in California, The Emerald Cup solidifies its enormous impact time and again. An impact that has helped give a new direction to the overall impact of the industry. 


For example, The Emerald Cup inherently inspires a number of future cannabis entrepreneurs. From future growers and cultivators to the next generation of weed industry executives and brand owners, the tradition of The Emerald Cup gives people something to dream about. 


In other words, it’s more than just a cannabis event. It’s a beacon of hope for all who participate. And if you’re still not convinced, The Emerald Cup holds great importance for the following reasons:


Shared Values between Sponsors and Event Organizers

The Emerald Cup serves as a remarkable example of shared values between sponsors and event organizers. Both parties are deeply committed to upholding and promoting the highest standards of quality, sustainability, and community within the cannabis industry.


Sponsors align themselves with The Emerald Cup because they believe in the event’s mission of celebrating and recognizing excellence in cannabis cultivation, innovation, and advocacy. They share a commitment to supporting small-scale, artisanal growers and sustainable cultivation practices that prioritize the well-being of the plant and the environment.


Event organizers, on the other hand, work closely with sponsors to ensure that their values align with the core principles of The Emerald Cup. They meticulously select sponsors who share their dedication to fostering community, promoting social equity, and advancing the responsible and ethical growth of the cannabis industry.


Green, brown, and purple cannabis buds


Community Support During Challenging Times

The Emerald Cup stands out as a shining example of community support during challenging times. In the face of adversity, such as natural disasters, regulatory hurdles, or even an unforeseen pandemic, the event organizers and participants come together to uplift and assist one another.


During challenging times, the Emerald Cup community demonstrates resilience and solidarity. They rally around affected individuals, businesses, and communities, offering support, resources, and a sense of camaraderie. Whether it’s providing financial assistance, sharing knowledge and expertise, or offering emotional support, The Emerald Cup community stands together as a united front.


The Emerald Cup also exemplifies community support by actively engaging in philanthropic initiatives. Through partnerships with charitable organizations or the establishment of their own programs, the event organizers work to address social issues, support local communities, and contribute to causes that are close to their hearts.


Encouraging Sustainability and Environmentally Friendly Practices

The Emerald Cup is a strong advocate for sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. The event organizers actively encourage and promote initiatives that prioritize the health of the planet and strive for long-term ecological balance.


Here are some ways in which The Emerald Cup promotes sustainability:


1. Cultivation Standards: The event places a significant emphasis on recognizing and celebrating sustainable cultivation practices. By showcasing and awarding growers who prioritize organic methods, regenerative agriculture, and eco-friendly techniques, the Emerald Cup inspires others to adopt similar practices.


2. Vendor Selection: The event organizers carefully curate a selection of vendors who align with sustainable principles. This includes businesses that prioritize organic products, utilize eco-friendly packaging, and embrace sustainable manufacturing practices.


3. Waste Management: The Emerald Cup takes measures to minimize waste and promote recycling. Recycling stations and composting options are made available throughout the event to ensure the responsible disposal of materials.


4. Environmental Partnerships: The event organizers actively collaborate with environmental organizations and sustainability-focused initiatives to further their shared goals. By forging partnerships, they raise awareness about environmental issues and create opportunities for collective action within the cannabis community.


Supporting Small Farms Initiative Program

The Emerald Cup strongly supports the Small Farms Initiative Program, recognizing the vital role that small-scale farmers play in the cannabis industry. The event organizers actively work to provide a platform for these farmers to showcase their products, build connections, and thrive within the market.


Zoomed in image of mature cannabis flower with pink/purple hues


Here’s how the Emerald Cup supports the Small Farms Initiative Program:


1. Inclusion: The event ensures that small farms have a prominent presence at the Emerald Cup. They create dedicated spaces or categories specifically for small-scale farmers, giving them an opportunity to showcase their unique products and gain exposure.


2. Networking Opportunities: The event facilitates networking opportunities, bringing together small farmers, industry professionals, and potential buyers. This creates a supportive environment for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and business connections, empowering small farms to expand their reach and establish beneficial partnerships.


3. Market Access: The Emerald Cup acts as a marketplace for small farms, connecting them with consumers, retailers, and distributors. By providing a platform for direct sales and showcasing their products to a wide audience, the event helps small farmers gain visibility and access to new markets.


4. Advocacy and Representation: The Emerald Cup serves as an advocate for small farms, raising awareness about their importance and advocating for policies that support their sustainability. The event highlights the unique qualities and craftsmanship of small farm products, fostering appreciation and recognition for their contributions to the industry.


By actively supporting the Small Farms Initiative Program, the Emerald Cup demonstrates its commitment to empowering small-scale farmers and ensuring their continued success. Through inclusion, education, networking, market access, and advocacy efforts, the event plays a vital role in fostering a thriving and diverse cannabis community that values and supports small farms.


The Emerald Cup Categories

Winning an Emerald Cup award is among the highest honors in the world of weed. It solidifies a grower’s expertise and even introduces new, unique strains to the marketplace. 


A person grabbing cannabis nugs


Every year, there is an overall winner dubbed ‘Best in Show.’ But aside from that coveted award, there are multiple other rankings that name a number of winners in the categories mentioned below. Additionally, we’ve listed the ‘Breeder’s Cup’ and/or first-place winner of each category from the most recent festival in 2023. 


Best Flower

  • Sungrown Flower: Rebel Grown – Double OG Chem #15
  • Mixed Light Flower: Ridgeline Farms – LANTZ
  • Indoor Flower: Fig FarmsBlue Face (Note That Fig Farms Blue Face also won Best in Show for the 2023 festival.)
  • Sungrown Greenhouse Flower: Chameleon Craft – Bubble Bath
  • Personal Use Flower: Brandy Schneider – Mountain Cultured Terp Blendz 241
  • 3rd Party Certified Sungrown Flower: Sol Spirit Farms – Element
  • 3rd Party Certified Mixed Light Flower: Emerald Spirit Botanicals – Four Directions


The Best Pre-Roll

  • Pre-Roll – Infused Solventless Extract: Heritage Hash Co. x Huckleberry Hill Farms – Whitethorn Rose Flower x Whitethorn Rose Live Bubble Hash
  • Pre-Roll – Infused Solvent Extract: West Coast Genetics X Holy Water – Paleta Z x Oz Kush Rosin x Kiwi Resin
  • Pre-Roll – Non-Infused: Royal Key x Suprize Suprize – ROLLS Ghost Candy Walls
  • Pre Roll – Deluxe: Rosin Tech Labs x Decibel Gardens x LUMA Farms – Roswell 47/Cali-O (Flower) – Papaya (Rosin) – Hash Hole
  • Pre Roll – Hemp Wrap: Paletas – Paletas Infused Blunt 2.1g – Jealousy Cap Junky (Hybrid)


Best Solventless Concentrate

  • Ice Water Hash: Heritage Hash Co x Huckleberry Hill Farms – Whitethorn Rose Live Bubble Hash
  • Rosin: El Krem x Purple City Genetics x Ahti Hash x Sunrise Gardens – El Krem Moroccan Peaches Live Rosin
  • Personal Use Solventless: Brett Byrd – Purple Magic


The Best Cartridge

  • C02 Cartridge: Huckleberry Hill Farms x Vesuvio Garden- Whitethorn Rose
  • Distillate Cartridge: MVN Productions – XXX OG
  • Live Resin Cartridge: Arcata Fire x Humboldt Trees – Strawberry Zkittlez– Arcata Fire 100% Live Resin Sauce Vape: Original Blend
  • Solventless Cartridge: Arcata Fire x Humboldt 36 Farms – Arcata Fire All in One 100% live Rosin Vape: Banana Punch


Best Solvent Concentrate

  • Hydro-Carbon Solid Solvent Concentrate: Jetty Extracts – Jetty Super Lemon Haze Live Badder
  • Hydro-Carbon Liquid Solvent Concentrate: Holy Water x Lemon Tree – Melon Tree/Gas Tree Split Jar


The Best Topical

  • Therapeutic Topical: Val’s Original x West Valley Patient Center – Val’s Hawaiian Cream (Pono)


Best Tincture

  • Tincture: Proof – Bazillion Drops
  • Tincture – Wellness Product: Proof – CBG Elixer Drops


The Best Edible

  • Edibles – Beverage: Moonstone Medicinals – Herba Mate Lemon Mint
  • Edibles – Beverage Enhancer: Atlas Edibles – Alta Infused Peach Iced Tea Drink Mix
  • Edibles – Gummies: Space GemSour Spacedrops
  • Edibles – Sweet: Oui’d Confections – Bonbon Hazelnut Praliné
  • Edibles – Savory: TSUMo Snacks – Chili Limon Cannabis Infused Corn Chips
  • Edibles – Health Conscious: Queen Mary – Enchanted


Best Alternative Cannabinoids

  • Alternative Cannabinoid Flower: Pure Beauty – Terry T x Gelato 33 (2:1 CBD)
  • Hemp Flower: Stoney Branch Farms – Godfather OG
  • Alternative Cannabinoid Edible: Space Gem – Mind Expanding Belt – Sleepy Fig
  • Alternative Cannabinoid Beverage: Keef – Life H2O Blueberry Lemon +CBN
  • Alternative Cannabinoid Tincture: Proof – CBG Elixer Drops
  • Alternative Cannabinoid Cartridge: Chemistry x Emerald Spirit Botanicals – Harmony Rose Full-Spectrum 1:1 CBD Vape
  • Hemp Derived Ingestible: Green Truth – Weedman’s Sampler Hemp Chocolates
  • Hemp Derived Topical: Green Revolution – Solace CBD Topical


And finally, The Emerald Cup presents awards based on a number of achievements, such as ‘Most Innovative Product,’ ‘Most Eco-Friendly Packaging,’ ‘Best Photo Content Winner,’ and even the “Willie Nelson” Lifetime Achievement Award.


In particular, the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award is given to those who’ve made significant contributions to the cannabis community and embody the spirit of Willie Nelson’s advocacy. The recipient is honored during a dedicated ceremony, receives a commemorative trophy, and is celebrated for their lasting impact on the industry.


Winners of Previous Emerald Cups

Throughout the past 19 years, a number of different brands have gained recognition for their winnings in the numerous categories mentioned above. However, the ‘Best in Show’ award is truly the #1 most coveted title at the event. 


The Emerald Cup’s “Best in Show” award signifies the pinnacle of recognition within the event. It is awarded to the absolute standout entry that demonstrates unparalleled excellence and innovation in the cannabis industry. 


The recipient of the “Best in Show” award is considered the crème de la crème, representing the highest level of quality, craftsmanship, and overall achievement among all the entries. 


Winning this prestigious award is a testament to the exceptional nature of the product or strain, solidifying its status as the best of the best at The Emerald Cup. And in recognition of recent winners, keep reading to learn more about the Best in Show winners from 2022, as well as the first-place winners in each category.


A person applying cannabis oil


The Emerald Cup Winners 2022

The Best Flower

  • Sungrown Flower: Farmer and the Felon – Lemon Sponge Cake
  • Mixed Light Flower: LitHouse – Modified Grapes
  • Indoor Flower: Fig Farms – Animal Face
  • Sungrown Greenhouse Flower: Local Cannabis Co – Sherbhead
  • Personal Use Flower: Parker PZ Moselle – Ohrangatang Titties
  • 3rd Party Certified Sungrown Flower: Emerald Spirit Botanicals – Farm Cut – Pink Boost Goddess
  • 3rd Party Certified Mixed Light Flower: Old Briceland Cannabis Company – Epiphany


Best Pre-Roll

  • Pre-Roll – Infused Solventless Extract: Sovereign – Geode Joint – Modified Lemons
  • Pre-Roll – Infused Solvent Extract: Paletas – Paletas Mother’s Milk Infused Blunt
  • Pre-Roll – Non-Infused: Lost Paradise Organics – Gelonade 6pk Flower Pre-Roll


The Best Solventless Concentrate

  • Ice Water Hash: Heritage Hash Co – Whitethorn Rose Live Bubble Hash
  • Rosin: Rosin Tech x LUMA Farms – Papaya
  • Personal Use Solventless: Alice Reis x Flynn Abeln – Wooksauce Winery Screaming Mimis


Best Cartridge

  • C02 Cartridge: Haku – Haku Live Resin
  • Distillate Cartridge: LEGION – Monarch – Strawberry Banana – Cannabis Derived Terpenes
  • Live Resin Cartridge: URSA Extracts – Liquid Diamond Sauce Humboldt Jack 
  • Solventless Cartridge: Doc Green’s – Strawberry Bananaz Live Rosin Vape Cartridge


The Best Solvent Concentrate

  • Hydro-Carbon Solid Solvent Concentrate: Beezle Brands x Luma Farms – Key Lime Paya Live Resin Budder
  • Hydro-Carbon Liquid Solvent Concentrate: Cosmic x Peak x Feeling Frosty – White Runtz


Best Topical

  • Therapeutic Topical: Care By Design – CBD Joint & Muscle Cream
  • Cosmetic Topical: Proof–Face Serum
  • Personal Use Topical: Erica A – Deep Muscle Rub – Liniment Lotion


The Best Tincture

  • Tincture: Care By Design – Refresh Drops 1:1 MAX


Best Edible

  • Edibles – Beverage: HiFi Sessions x Lagunitas x Absolute Xtracts – HiFi Hoppy Chill
  • Edibles – Beverage Enhancer: S*Shots – Berry Blast
  • Edibles – Gummies: Kalya x Elefante – Papaya Rosin Gummies
  • Edibles – Sweet: Cosmic Edibles x Kalya – Solventless Rosin Plant-Based Chocolate Chip Sprinkles Cookie Dough
  • Edibles – Savory: Potli x SF Roots – Shrimp Chips


The Best Alternative Cannabinoids

  • Alternative Cannabinoid Flower: Pure Beauty – Terry T & Gelato 33
  • Hemp Flower: Flowgardens – Orange Glaze #32
  • Alternative Cannabinoid Edible: Papa & Barkley – Sleep Releaf
  • Alternative Cannabinoid Beverage: KHEMIAMFG – Chakra Chai
  • Alternative Cannabinoid Tincture: Sunrise Mountain Farms – PACIFIC – Full Spectrum CBD Rich Tincture
  • Alternative Cannabinoid Cartridge: Chemistry – Serpentine
  • Hemp Derived Ingestible: Green Truth – Trifecta Immune (CBDA-CBGA-CBDVA)
  • Hemp Derived Topical: WeedSport – WeedSport CBD Muscle Stick



1. Who won the Emerald Cup 2023?

The 2023 Emerald Cup ‘Best in Show’ was awarded to Fig Farms for their Blue Face strain. 


2. Where is the Emerald Cup held?

The Emerald Cup is typically held in the Santa Rosa region of California. 


3. Is the Emerald Cup open to the public?

Yes, the Emerald Cup is open to the public.


4. What is the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa?

Dubbed by many as the ‘Academy Awards of Cannabis, The Emerald Cup is a highly anticipated annual event that invites cannabis enthusiasts, industry professionals, and the general public to come together and celebrate the culture, innovation, and community of the cannabis industry. 


5. Who started the Emerald Cup?

The Emerald Cup was founded by Tim Blake, a pioneering figure in the cannabis industry.