Pot competition survives SFPD crackdown

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Last year's "best bud" winner displays his work and cup.
Luke Thomas/Green Cross

Prop. 19 may have been defeated last week, but marijuana is still the state's top cash crop, and one where agricultural artisanship continues to flourish within the medical marijuana movement. The best of Northern California's pot crop will be on display this weekend, Nov. 14, for the Fourth Annual Medical Marijuana Competition. The event features judging and awards in a variety of categories, from best bud to the best concentrates and edibles. The event, which will also feature information booths and entertainment, will be held at Terra Galley, 511 Harrison Street, SF. Tickets are $18.

But this was one party that almost wasn't. Event organizers had to scramble for a new location after the San Francisco Police Department denied them a permit to hold event in the previous year's location in Cafe Cocomo. According to David Goldman, a competition organizer and member of the Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the California department of Alcoholic Beverages Control even threatened to revoke Cafe Cocomo's liquor license should they house the event. Café Cocomo has had recent problems, includng a shooting out front on Oct. 9, but club operators declined to comment on those incidents or the cops blocking their pot party.

Organizers say the ensuing scramble for a new location cost the event, which is a fundraiser for ASA, over $10,000. "It’s been a nightmare to throw this party," Kevin Reed, co-chair of the event and president of the Green Cross, told us. But even with the cost of the move, Reed is hopeful about the new venue and the turnout. “Last year we had about 600 or 700 people and this year we anticipate 1,200 to 1,500.”

All of the proceeds of the upcoming competition will go to support ASA, a nonprofit group that holds weekly meetings at Bowzer’s Pizza that aim to educate patients on medical marijuana issues. “It’s amazing how pizza keeps it all together,” Reed said of the community that has formed up around these ASA meetings.

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