Cultivating Authenticity with Rebel Grown
By: Jack Riordan of Beard Bros. Pharms
The tens of thousands of guests who pour through the gates of The Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa this December will be greeted by a sprawling wonderland of weed and cannabis culture. Everything that a curious consumer could dream of will be on display, and much of it for sale, in an experience that caters to connoisseurs and new users alike.
A seed planted by some of the real OG’s of the Emerald Triangle, the event has grown to become the world’s premiere hub of community, education, friendly competition, music, and propagation of the goodwill that emanates from the cannabis plant.
The best advice that we can give to anyone who may be attending their first Emerald Cup this year, or who may have been a bit overwhelmed in recent years, is to try to bridge the gap beyond the banners and logos – and even beyond the plant itself – and get to know the people behind the brands at the grassroots of the culture, for their stories are woven into the fabric of The Emerald Cup and cannabis history.
This year will mark the 16th annual production of The Emerald Cup, and it has come a long way from its humble beginnings at Area 101 up in Mendo. Cannabis laws were different back then and the prospect of even putting on an event at all hinged each year on the hard work and dedication of Tim Blake and his family and friends to make it happen.
The original home of The Emerald Cup – Area 101 just north of Laytonville
2011 was a particularly rough year, but, as tends to happen in the cannabis community, some key people stepped up to make The Emerald Cup a reality and we caught up to one of them, Dan from Rebel Grown Seeds, for some real talk about the his role with the Cup, the plant, and what’s next for this East Coast native now with deep roots in the mecca of cannabis culture.
Beginning in 2010 in Mendocino County, nearly 100 local cannabis farmers agreed to pay the local sheriff department $50 per plant for a zip tie with a unique serial number intended to keep the cultivators compliant with the 99 plant count laws for medical marijuana growers under the now defunct Prop 215.
Additionally, these farmers were made to pay thousands of dollars annually for inspections, security upgrades, and other measures to bring them into compliance with the county.
Those who participated in this program did so in an effort to follow the law, as grey as it was back then, and to safely provide medication to those in need.
However, soon after the program was implemented and started making national headlines, fully camouflaged federal DEA agents stormed the property of a local elderly female farmer who had participated in the database, trashing her property and destroying her crop. They then moved on to the most outspoken advocate for the plant tagging program, Matt Cohen, another well-respected local grower and businessman.
Mendo County ordinance at the time allowed a grower like Cohen to have up to 99 plants, each yielding around 5 pounds of flower, but militant federal agents armed with firearms and chainsaws instead used his registration to pin his location and conduct their raid.
If the show of force from the Feds was meant to send a message, they accomplished their mission, and the fog of secrecy that the Triangle is known for became a little thicker as paranoia spread.
The intervention even threatened The Emerald Cup that year when it was still being held at Area 101 just north of Laytonville.
The decision was eventually made to hold the event anyway, but for a celebration of the finest outdoor cannabis in the region, the trimmed time frame they had in order to plan it left Cup organizers woefully short on the main attraction – good weed!
That’s when Rebel Dan of Rebel Grown Seeds stepped in and wove his own thread into Emerald Cup lore.