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All photos by Steve Elliott ~alapoet~
The glass entry case contained all 200 flower entries, and a couple dozen concentrate entries in the center wheel

The ninth annual Emerald Cup medical cannabis competition — a Humboldt County, California-based event in which only outdoor, sun-grown, organic marijuana and concentrates are allowed — was held this past weekend in Redway, and Toke of the Town was there.

The winning strain (left), entry #47, Chem Dawg, from Cannabis Aficionado

Two hundred strains of marijuana were entered (compared to last year’s 108 entries), as well as a couple dozen concentrates. Winners were selected, and the Grand Prize winner — entry #47, ChemDawg Special Reserve, grown by Leonard Bell and Elenah Elston (first female to take the top spot in this cannabis competition) — was announced. A very happy Leonard and Elenah, who together run the company Cannabis Aficionado, won an all-expenses paid trip to Jamaica for seven days and nights.
The winning strain, according to the lab results posted on Facebook by The Emerald Cup, contains 18.4 percent THC and 0.9 percent CBD.
Entrants in the Emerald Cup are judged by entry numbers only. It’s a completely blind judging process, i.e., the judges have no idea who grew it, what strain it is, or anything else about it. Entrants are judged on the high, appearance, smell, taste, and potency, with the high counting twice as much as the other components (and rightly so).

Sharon Letts

By Sharon Letts
A good friend is convinced cannabis leads to heroin use. It happened to a friend of his, so he knows. This was a few years ago. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d been using the herb off and on since I was 16 years old, and felt nary a pang to upgrade to any other substance. 
I grew up in the 1960s, and went through high school in the 70s, so drugs were no stranger. Having an alcoholic father, my childhood was one big cocktail party. Thankfully, alcohol wasn’t a draw for me, nor was tobacco at 13, or cocaine at 19. 
I had an undiagnosed processing problem. I appeared to be a good student, but could barely pull a C in most classes. After trying cannabis at 16, I did better in school – my concentration improved. I read like an alphabet-hungry animal; I wrote Haiku and poetry and was published at 19. And, as a bonus, I no longer needed to take liver damaging Midol for menstrual cramps.

Your Expert Nation
Greg Mowery: “As someone who’s eaten plenty of pot-laced brownies, pot tastes awful”

Now that marijuana’s entering the mainstream, we get pot culture articles even from right-wing propaganda factories like Fox News. A culinary expert offers his negative opinions of marijuana’s taste in the latest cannabis coverage from Fox.

“StoveTop Readings” blogger and cookbook publicist Greg Mowery, Fox News tells us, has “worked with the country’s top cookbook authors and chefs for 25 years,” and in his opinion, pot is bitter, acrid and unpalatable Nothing in the taste of marijuana, according to Mowery, makes food taste better.

Cannabis Cheri
Cheri Sicard’s “The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook” has something for everyone’s taste. You can get it for $24.95.

​It’s becoming more and more difficult, if you write a cannabis cookbook, to separate your work from an increasingly crowded field. With the burgeoning library of marijuana recipe collections becoming ever more competitive, if you want your pot cookbook to get noticed, you’d better be good.

That hasn’t been a problem for Cheri Sicard, author of The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook.

A long time before Sicard wrote a book about cooking with marijuana, she was already a cooking expert and author. You see, Sicard has led an interesting life, spending much of her childhood and early adult life traveling the country as a circus performer, magician and mentalist. Along the way, she started writing about travel and food. She was a professional food writer and recipe developer before she became a medical marijuana patient.

Cheri Sicard started using cannabis medicinally in 2009 after a suggestion from her doctor. She was astonished at how well it worked.

By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent
Sharing the NORML Women’s Alliance booth this weekend at the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup in Los Angeles will be two notable authors.
First is Cheri Sicard. Cheri spent much of her childhood and early adult life, interestingly enough, traveling the country and the world as a circus performer, magician and mentalist.  Along the way she started writing about travel and food which lead her to become an internet entrepreneur back in the days when it was just a series of tubes.
She is the author of The Great American Handbook: What You Can Do For Your Country Today and Everyday (2002 Berkley Books), US Citizenship for Dummies (2003, Wiley, co-author with Steven Heller, Esq.), Everyday American (2008, Bookspan, ISBN: 1582882975), and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Easy Freezer Meals (2011, Alpha Books, ISBN: 1615640649).