2023 Willie Nelson Award
Honoring lifetime achievements
HASH QUEEN MILA JANSEN TO BE HONORED WITH THE “WILLIE NELSON” AWARD FOR A LIFETIME OF ADVOCACY AT THE 19th ANNUAL EMERALD CUP AWARDS
Known worldwide as the ‘Hash Queen,’ Dutch activist, entrepreneur, and inventor Mila Jansen’s unique legacy with cannabis and community has helped to inspire advocacy, build brands, and shape tastes for over 50 years. The Emerald Cup is honored to present Mila Jansen with our version of the Lifetime Achievement Award on May 13th.
The 19th Annual Emerald Cup Awards presented by OCB® Rolling Papers will bring the best and the brightest in California cannabis to the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California on Saturday, May 13th, 2023. Joining the celebration as an Emerald Cup Award recipient will be one of the global cannabis community’s most legendary activist entrepreneurs, the ‘Hash Queen’ herself, Mila Jansen.
In recognition of decades of worldwide advocacy on behalf of cannabis culture and artisan-grade hash crafting, the Emerald Cup will award Jansen with the 2023 “Willie Nelson” (Lifetime Achievement) Award.
Mila Jansen, the Hash Queen, was born in Liverpool on December 5th, 1944. She lived in Amsterdam in the mid-1960s and decided to travel overland to India with her young daughter in 1968. They did not return until 1988 when Jansen started to grow cannabis to support herself and her growing family.
As she had observed hash being made in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, it didn’t take Jansen long to start making her own hash to smoke. This proved to be a time-consuming job by hand, so in 1994 she invented the first mechanical dry sift system that separated the trichomes from all the plant matter – the Pollinator. That invention led to her being known as the Hash Queen.
Later came the Ice-O-Lator bags, and the Bubbleator, which both use water and ice in the process. These machines gave people the opportunity to make their own hash as well. In 2013, Jansen organized the first Dab-a-doo, a competition for dry sift, ice hash, solventless extracts, and rosin. Since launching, there have been 36 Dab-a-doo events to date.
“I’m so, so happy to come to Richmond for the Willie Nelson prize,” says Jansen of her upcoming recognition at the 19th Annual Emerald Cup Awards. “What an honor to get linked like this to one of my great heroes. Just amazing, wonderful, wicked awesome!”
Jansen will be honored live on stage at the 19th Annual Emerald Cup Awards show presented by OCB® at the Craneway Pavilion on May 13th, joining a deeply respected association of past winners including Winona LaDuke, Tommy Chong, Valerie Corral, Woody Harrelson, and Willie Nelson himself.
“One look at the prevalence of solventless concentrates in the cannabis market today – not only here in California and at the Emerald Cup but around the world – reveals the incredibly positive impact that Mila Jansen has had on the ways that people consume and enjoy cannabis,” says Tim Blake, founder and co-producer of the Emerald Cup.
The Emerald Cup will also be presenting honorary awards in the following categories:
2023 Visionary Award
Honoring advocates & entrepreneurs
Amber E. Senter
RESPECTED CANNABIS ACTIVIST, ADVOCATE & ENTREPRENEUR AMBER E. SENTER TO BE HONORED WITH THE VISIONARY AWARD AT THE 19th ANNUAL EMERALD CUP AWARDS
Amber E. Senter is a visionary entrepreneur with over two decades of expertise in marketing and project management. As the Founder and CEO of MAKR House, a storytelling cannabis house of brands, Amber leads fundraising efforts, manages the supply chain, navigates government relations, develops strategic plans, creates innovative products, and executes effective marketing campaigns. Amber’s former experiences include her work as Chief Operations Officer of an Oakland dispensary, where she was responsible for creating and implementing procedures that improved sales and increased profitability. During her tenure, she obtained Oakland’s first onsite consumption permit.
Amber’s unwavering commitment to serve did not end with her time in the US Coast Guard. In addition to her thriving business ventures, she is the Co-Founder, Chair of the Board, and Executive Director of Supernova Women, an organization formed in 2015 dedicated to empowering people of color to become self-sufficient shareholders in the cannabis industry.
Through her work with Supernova Women and MAKR House, Amber is working tirelessly to address the harm inflicted on Black and Brown communities by the failed War on Drugs and to lower barriers of entry for these communities in the legal cannabis market. With initiatives such as the creation of the first social equity program in Oakland and the country’s first social equity workforce development program for cannabis, Amber is a driving force for positive change in the industry. Additionally, MAKR House’s EquityWorks! Incubator serves as a model for the future, offering the first shared social equity cannabis manufacturing facility in the country that helps to break down barriers and level the playing field.
Amber is a sought-after leader in the growing cannabis industry, recognized for her trusted voice and extensive knowledge of the medical and adult-use base. She serves as a mentor and coach to new entrepreneurs in the field, inspiring them with her passion and drive.
2023 Social Justice Award
Honoring the freedom fighters
MUSIC PRODUCER TURNED TIRELESS PRISONER ADVOCATE WELDON ANGELOS TO BE HONORED WITH THE SOCIAL JUSTICE AWARD AT THE 19th ANNUAL EMERALD CUP AWARDS
Weldon Angelos is a former music producer who worked with legends like Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur’s recording group.
In 2004, Weldon became the national face of criminal justice reform after he was sentenced to 55 years in prison for selling $1000 worth of cannabis as a first-time offender. His cause was championed by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) & Mike Lee (R-UT), celebrities like Alicia Keys, leading news organizations like the Washington Post, and even the Judge who sentenced him, which led to an early release in 2016 after serving 13 years of his 55-year sentence. In December 2020, Weldon was fully pardoned by the President.
Since his release, Weldon has become a leading activist working with a bipartisan coalition of celebrities, lawmakers, and the White House to make our criminal justice system fair for everyone.
Weldon is also a public speaker and author and is currently co-producing a feature documentary about his story and the criminal justice system.
2023 Trailblazer Award
Honoring those who light the way for others
BAY AREA EVENT PRODUCER AND CULTURE PRESERVATIONIST ALEX AQUINO TO BE HONORED WITH THE TRAILBLAZER AWARD AT THE 19th ANNUAL EMERALD CUP AWARDS
Alex Aquino is an entrepreneur and business owner. For over 30+ years he’s dedicated most of his life to fostering and preserving culture & community through music, entertainment, and events in the Bay Area and around the world.
He has been promoting and producing events and concerts of all sizes since the late-80s. Since 2004 he’s been a partner at Ankh Marketing, an independent event production and marketing company, where he’s helped produce some of the largest urban events and festivals in Nor Cal. He also actively serves on the board of a non-profit ‘Project Wreckless’ teaching at-risk youth how to restore old-school cars.
Over a decade ago he moved to Haight-Ashbury where he ran the streetwear clothing store, Black Scale. As a merchant and resident on the block, he naturally became an active member of the local community. It was at this time he started his own events production company, Sounds Bazaar, to produce events that merge community culture, lifestyle & arts.
Being based just down the street from the famous Hippie Hill he saw firsthand the impact the event had on the park and surrounding neighborhoods. The crowds were getting larger and the lack of infrastructure became a problem. He foresaw the beloved 420 Hippie Hill tradition on the verge of a shutdown. With his extensive background in large-scale events, he came up with a plan to make the event safer, cleaner, and have an overall less negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood.
He presented his plan to the then-district supervisor and now current SF Mayor, London Breed, and eventually got the opportunity to partner with Rec & Park and city agencies to oversee production on the event. He’s been successfully organizing Hippie Hill since 2017 and working hard to improve it each year.
In the last two years, he’s proud to have added to the event the annual ‘Community & Compassion’ award, in partnership with non-profit United Playaz, where exemplary people are recognized for their contributions to the community. Past awardees have been Eve Meyer who founded the first 24-hour suicide prevention hotline, and Jack Jaqua who runs a youth program getting kids off the street and into college for going on 35 years.
2023 Breeders Hall of Fame
Honoring the seed & those who provide it
FAMED CANNABIS BREEDER SOMA, CREATOR OF BELOVED CULTIVARS LIKE NYC DIESEL & AMNESIA HAZE, TO BE INDUCTED INTO THE BREEDERS HALL OF FAME AT THE 19th ANNUAL EMERALD CUP AWARDS
Born in 1949 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to middle-class parents, Soma began life like so many Americans. Little did he know from his humble beginnings where his path would lead. Ultimately, cannabis would become his destiny and the cornerstone of his existence.
By the time 1969 rolled around, Soma was on his way to the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco, where he stayed in his first hippie commune. He went to Golden Gate Park, started hanging out at the Fillmore West, experimenting with LSD, and learning new social skills. Taking the newfound insights he learned on the West Coast back home to the East, he launched a natural food bakery and store in southern Vermont called Salt of The Earth.
It was in Putney, Vermont, that Soma first started growing cannabis. He was living in a second-story apartment, and while rolling joints on record albums, he constantly threw seeds out the window. In the spring while walking around the side of the house, he noticed some little green plants underneath his window. Upon closer examination, he discovered they were cannabis plants and transplanted them up onto Putney Mountain. Since they were South American genetics, they couldn’t possibly reach maturity in the cold Vermont climate, but Soma’s green thumb had gone to college.
In 1974, Soma moved to the warmer climes of Gainesville, Florida. Besides picking wild Psilocybin mushrooms in the cow fields, he was able to grow some amazing South-East Asian cannabis and some pure Ruderalis Afghani. In this southern location, he was finally able to grow some marijuana all the way to harvest. When he smoked the weed he grew with his own hands, he was convinced that this was the way it should be.
It was at this time that the famous Gainesville Green was being smoked around the nation with great appreciation. In 1980 Soma grew 200 kilos of Afghani-Thai outdoors, got busted by the police, and found out just how hard it was to breed cannabis in America. In the late eighties, indoor marijuana cultivation was starting to take off, and Soma was one of the first people to breed different genetics together indoors. His Afghani-Thai hybrid was so good, he still rates it far above most strains today.
Soma kept growing in Florida through 1991 and then moved to Eugene, Oregon. It was in Eugene that Soma really mastered his growing skills and started fine-tuning his genetic library. Soma started an all-hemp store in Eugene in 1994 called Sow Much Hemp, selling everything from The Emperor Wears No Clothes to hemp paper and cloth. It was also in this year that Soma started writing under the pen name of ‘Amos Washington’ for High Times Magazine.
When Soma and his girlfriend Donamaria moved to Amsterdam, leaving all of his fine friends behind was a very difficult thing to do, and making a fresh start in an alien country had its difficulties. With Donamaria’s help, they made a home in Holland for themselves. Soma continued his cannabis genetic research, and being a medical user, he was always seeking better medicinal genetics.
The years went by and Soma started winning prizes for his genetics at the Cannabis Cup. His seeds started to spread with people on different cannabis websites started talking about his strains. He also started growing with his daughter Willow, which brought them closer, and placed them in a financial partnership for the first time. The year 2000 came with the birth of Soma’s granddaughter Lexus Emily Nokia.
Finding himself a grandfather gave Soma new insight into the future. He looked for solutions to the dim future he saw looming ahead of humanity. Cannabis with all its benefits was one of the principal areas he focused his energy. The Soma Seeds website was launched in 2001 and the Soma Seed Bank was officially in business. Soma was now writing and taking photos for five different cannabis magazines. 2002 brought Soma the biggest number of prizes at the Cannabis Cup. He started a forum on his website and got very involved with other forums, including Woody Harrelson’s voiceyourself.com. Cannabis awareness was growing by leaps and bounds.
2003 found Soma writing and taking pics for nine different cannabis magazines in four different languages. It was also the year the G-13/Haze crosses came into being and started traveling the globe.
Soma says he owes all of his success to the magnificent, sacred cannabis plant – his medicine, his sacrament. The typical stereotype of the lazy stoner certainly does not hold true when you look at the productive life Soma has led thus far. The next chapter will certainly be interesting to watch.