Well, the High Times Cannabis Cup came to town this past weekend, and it's hard to not compare it to our more or less local Emerald Cup, especially since this is Sonoma County's first adults-only post-fake-legalization event.
The crowds were thinner and the demographics have shifted dramatically toward more seniors and middle-aged folks, often attending as couples. This was especially noticeable without the twitchy throngs of the younger post-millennial generations.
That the attendance was sparse both days also reminds us that the market for cannabis fairs is pretty much saturated, just as the California market for cannabis itself is flooded, given that, unlike in states newly "legalizing," Californians have long had essentially unfettered access through black and gray markets.
That access continues despite—or because of—racketeering by Big Pot and its government minions. In a way, this regulatory regime guarantees a thriving black market for cannabis in California, at least until cannabis becomes "legal" throughout the country. And it provides yet another reality check for the wildly inflated anticipated tax revenues that state bean counters have used to justify their industrial action—as they try to fund their shriveling pensions.
Vendors presented the full gamut of commercial attitudes: some wanted to share their bounty without cost but were constrained by regulation against giving it away, so they attached a token $1 charge. Others offered prices that seemed to be unencumbered by the excessive tax burden found outside the event. And some simply expressed the celebratory mood by sharing with all.
Nonetheless, these folks represented a microcosm of the remaining cannabis culture and industry, celebrating its substantial accomplishments and its survival (so far) of regulatory suppression and extortion.
The mood was relaxed and happy, with only an undercurrent of resentment at the regulatory overburden. The only openly fractiousness was an intrusive battle-of-the-bands, as booths cranked up their tunes to compete with their neighbors' music, seemingly oblivious that they were interfering with conversations and annoying their own customers. Clearly, cannabis is not an antidote for narcissism.
There was accomplishment for all to see and taste: outstanding biodynamically grown flowers; exotic cocktails of pure extracts; exquisite flavor blends in edibles; advances in cultivation, curing, extraction and technology; and a strong sense of community from the sharing of a benign wellness therapy and a relaxed and creative experience.
Alexander Carpenter is the organizer of the Sonoma County Cultivation Group.