SF Patients’ Choice Cannabis Competition 2011: Inside Report


​​By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspo

The Fifth Annual Medical Cannabis Competition, ‘The Patients’ Choice,’ was the place to be Saturday night for local activists, growers and what could be called the backbone of San Francisco’s medical marijuana community.
A benefit for the ever-vigilant patients’ rights group, Americans for Safe Access, the affair started around two in the afternoon and went until the smoke cleared at 9 p.m. 
While many local dispensaries and other cannabis friendly businesses help sponsored the event, everyone knows the joyous Kevin Reed, proprietor of the Green Cross dispensary, is the major force behind the night’s event.

Jack Rikess
That joint has a quarter-pound of weed in it.

​With the recent crackdown on medical marijuana and the closures of three dispensaries in San Francisco, a few party attendees were wary that the festivities could be interrupted by an immature government trying to prove a point.
I personally found it impressive that Reed commandeered a position at the front door for the entire event. No one entered who wasn’t invited to the private party. And in a weird way, if anything was going to happen, I felt Kevin was there in the front line. For some reason, I thought this was notable. 
As the night progressed, the veneers of paranoia, if there was any, ripped away as more and more glass pipes were filled to the brim with samples of this year’s harvest. Because this was a competition, the growers in attendance came prepared with their ‘A’ games. Many growers carry glass jars with very pretty buds in them.
These jars are affectionately called “bragging jars.” And there is a reason for that…
While the civilians in the audience rolled little doobs, the out of town growers who were down for the weekend from Humboldt and Mendo, amazed the locals with exotic works of art destine for combustible fun.

Jack Rikess

​Besides for the non-stop passing of 10 foot long plastic columns inflated from the volcano vaporizers with rich, sweet ganja and the hash bar near the catered food section, there was a six or seven inch cross joint that made the rounds. And the highlight of the night, besides for the massive smoke-out at 4:20 was the quarter-pounder that was rolled.
That one guy — and he knows who he is — every year that I’ve been in attendance, rolls a fatty that weighs in at over a quarter-pound of cannabis. When that bad boy went from person to person in the room, a ganja sacrament was established and we all nodded smiling as one. 
At 8 p.m. the winners were announced for the best strain, best edible and best concentrate. For the old people in the crowd like me, concentrates is what they call hash now.
To be a winner and receive one of the beautiful glass trophies for any of the categories is to be relished, but we all know winning the ‘Best Strain,’ is why these growers in attendance left the farm. Not only can it mean more dollars per pound when it is all said and done, but more important than that, is the bragging rights.
To say you beat out 30 or 40 other strains of Northern Cali cannabis, which is to say some of the best in the world, that’s a pretty heady claim. And one you can be very proud of.

Jack Rikess

​Incredible Meds Peanut Butter Cup won best edible. Jurassic Park Amber from “Lady J” won best concentrate.
When the announcement came for the best strain of the year, it might not have been Academy Awards, but the tension in the room was palpable. Even with some six or seven hours of the banging the gong, spirits became higher.
A respectful silence overcame the room in anticipation of the winner.
Wives and girlfriend held the hands of nervous growers, bowls were being packed by anxious farmers and a few had to be woken from their grinning tranquility due to the proliferation of the seemingly never ending parade of edibles that were being dispensed. 
The second and third place was won by the dispensary, The Green Door for the strains Platinum Cookies and Candy Jack. With all the good work that The Green Door does for the city, it was a fitting tribute to the political and spiritually minded pot shop that they were recognized.
The winner for Best Strain was Humboldt Royal Kush grown by EarthGreenCali Farms. The strawberry dread-headed gentleman that came to the stage to claim the trophy first thanked everyone in attendance for being there and a special shout-out to Kevin Reed for putting on the event.

The Green Cross
The indica strain Royal Kush took home the highest honors at the 2011 San Francisco Patients’ Choice Awards. It tested at 19.4 percent THC and 0.3 percent CBD and was sun-grown in Humboldt County by EarthGreenCali Farms.

​What makes these local cups so cool and what most people don’t understand is that these growers aren’t anything but modern farmers.
When the articulate grower finished thanking those that voted for him and gave props to ASA and other groups that made the night possible, he got real: He genuinely thanked his wife and children, the very people who live and breathe the perils and uncertainty that comes with the territory.
The Patients’ Choice includes both indoor and sungrown cannabis; the winner reminded everyone why he thought that outdoor, organic was the way to go. In summation, he professed his love for the herb and seeds would be available soon.
Carrying the heavy-duty trophy off the stage to heartfelt congratulations of high-fives and THC infused hugs, the winner held the award high and also up in the air.
When the night ended, I followed the winning group out. With the t
rophy in hand the gentleman grower and entourage enter one of the more swankier hotels in SF. I watched as the doormen, bellstaff and hotel employees read the gold plaque on the crystal cup stating ‘Best Cannabis Strain of 2011.”
They lit up in congratulations that the winner was staying at their hotel. You forgot for a second that the staff was wearing uniforms and black suits. 
At that moment in time, they were just a bunch of heads in a fancy lobby enjoying life.
My favorite quote of the evening: After the winners were announced, hash brownies were being distributed by a sponsoring company. There was a big Santa Claus like satchel left to the right of the door with a couple of hundred wrapped brownies still in the bag. A very medicated person turned to me when passing the sack of brownies and said, “That looks like a very comfortable chair.”
The winning strain, Humboldt Royal Kush, is available now at the Green Cross Dispensary.

Photo: Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town correspondent Jack Rikess blogs from the Haight in San Francisco

Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comic, writes a regular column most directly found at jackrikess.com.

Jack delivers real-time coverage following the cannabis community, focusing on politics and culture.

His beat includes San Francisco, the Bay Area and Mendocino-Humboldt counties.

He has been quoted by the national media and is known for his unique view with thoughtful, insightful perspective.