Oregon Sees First Marijuana Growers' Fair

It was a popular outing in Oregon on Saturday, where the state saw its first-ever marijuana growers' fair. The fair included a competition for best pot plants.

This inaugural event that runs for two days highlights the fact that the once-controversial marijuana industry is beginning to be widely accepted and more mainstream in the state. Oregon is one of the four states that have legalized recreational marijuana use, including Washington, D.C.

Ed Rosenthal, who is referred to as the Guru of Ganja, acted as one of the judges at the Cannabis Growers' Fair. He found his way around the exhibits, sniffing and poking the plants, some of which were so massive that they took over the entire exhibition hall. He, along with other judges, were to pick nine winning plants that will be displayed at the Oregon State Fair for two weeks, which starts later in the month.

Rosenthal attentively judged and wrote notes about each of the plants as attendees snapped photos and stood in awe at the sight of the rows of plants. None had any buds, which was a rule of the contest.

He then shared about what it is he and other judges are looking for in the plants.

"The first thing is health and to make sure they don't have infections and then to make sure they... don't have nutrient deficiencies. Then, we look at the structure of the plant: Has it been getting as much sun as it should be getting? Is it sunburned?"
Competitors in the fair's inaugural competition share what a win could mean for their business. The Associated Press relays the words of Danny Grimm, who is the owner of Uplifted, a cannabis farm who had entered the competition and noted that it could definitely increase sales.
"It's great to put it on our portfolio and get publicity here and get our name out there. That is huge for the cannabis industry, and it's definitely a step in the right direction for us. We've been waiting for this for years."
Donald Morse, also a pot grower who introduced the idea of holding the fair, was pleased with the attendance of the fair on opening day. The exhibit also involved a number of other segments of the industry including seed providers to mechanized bud trimmers. There were over 80 exhibitors at the event.The fair was complemented by reggae music and also involved the likes of James Knox, 38, owner of Corvallis which sells grow packages for DIY growing, including peat and microorganisms that stimulate plant growth. Knox spoke of the importance of the fair to industry members like him.
"It's nice for us to be stepping across the line and say, 'Here we are, and we're ready to do business.' For those of us who have been doing this a long time, this is a breath of fresh air because we're able to work openly and in the light."
The winners of the pot-plant competition will be revealed alongside those winning for growing of tomatoes and livestock entries. Only those 21 and older are able to enter the greenhouses and visit the Cannabis Growers' Fair. It is the first time cannabis has been exhibited in a state fair anywhere in the United States. Organizers of the event spoke of the excitement that goes along with inclusion of cannabis growers.
"It is an historic event. It's a great opportunity to meet these growers that typically were underground," fair organizer Mary Lou Burton said. "We're trying to get people connected up and networking."
The Cannabis Growers' Fair is on until Sunday.

[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]