Cannibus Cup Winners and Where to Score The Nugs

If it wassnt a pandemic or a variant maybe we were just wild'n out on the strongest, funkiest, fire tree ever grown, let me tell ya, 2021 went by like smoke in the wind.


Only in "high-site" can you make sense of the 16 US pot contests in 12 months. Judges threw down, sorting the bammer from the zaza so you don’t have to.

Leafly reported last year, many long-standing industry events still haven’t returned to their pre covid glory. Smokers and Promoters want to make sure everyone is safe, and lets just say that thousands people blowing smoke in an enclosed space isn’t exactly safe again. Thankfully, the cannabis community stayed agile and open minded when it comes to working with and around health orders.

Only in hindsight can you make sense of the 16 US pot contests in 12 months. Judges threw down, sorting the burnners from the haachoos so you don’t have to.


California marijuana cup winners of 2021

A couple green and purple nugs set against white.
Award-winning Connected Gelonade via The Green Cross SF (David Downs/Leafly)

Despite a harrowing year of fires and the looming threat that new state-level taxation will have on craft, equity, and legacy farms, the Golden State still proved their pot is unparalleled.

Blessed with 40 million people and the cannabis industry’s heartland, Humboldt, California hosted a slew of pot contests to find the greats: The Emerald Cup, a NorCal High Times Cannabis Cup, The Grow-Off, plus Weedcon and The 710 Cup.

The pandemic changed up The Emerald Cup’s format. The 2020 growing season’s winners were announced in April 2021, including Redwood Remedies’ Sour Tangie and Connected’s Gelonade. California growers and manufacturers enter now for the awards in early 2022.

The Emerald Cups 2021 winners trophies. (Courtesy The Emerald Cup)
The Emerald Cups 2021 winners trophies. (Courtesy The Emerald Cup)

The return of the NorCal Cannabis Cup didn’t disappoint, because NorCal growers would never let it. Some of the best buds in the state include:

High Times events director Mark Kazinec is elated they were able to host their eponymous Cannabis Cups in seven states plus the national Hemp Cup this year, maintaining the “People’s Choice” format they adopted in 2020.

“It’s been great,” he says. “This People’s Choice model is way more democratized; it opens the judging up to a pool that is 10 times the size of what we used to do. …we’re hoping the world is very, very clean and safe next year, and we’ll get back to events as soon as we can.” Pennsylvania, you could be next!

A big green Hella Jelly nug with leaves on the branch. (David Downs/Leafly)
The Grow-Off California 2021 strain—Hella Jelly, on the branch. (David Downs/Leafly)

The Grow-Off, a cultivator’s competition started in Colorado to see who in the state could grow the best version of the same clone, had two Cali showdowns for commercial and craft renditions of Hella Jelly (Very Cherry x Notorious THC). Humboldt-based boutique Fenario Farms won for both cannabinoids and terpene content.

WEEDCON proved you can win big even without the year’s most popular genetics in your nursery. The best flowers on the best coast were:

They even had a sun-grown category, where DewPoint’s London Pound Cake seized gold.

And if you’re so high you can’t roll, the Papaya Sunset Hashish preroll by Axiom Hash was dubbed the best “Exotic” pre-roll.

Want more extracts? The same connoisseurs behind the impending Farmer’s Cup hosted the 710 Cup earlier in the year to spotlight the best dabs made every which way; you can go the cured route with the XJ13 batter by Blessed Extracts, get live with the flavorful, aromatic Errl Hill’s Forbidden Cookies, or (as I always recommend) stick with solventless in the form of Paradox’s Papaya Bomb.

Buy the best marijuana brands of California:

A photo of busy retail sales at The Emerald Cup 2021. (Photo by James Sakert, Courtesy The Emerald Cup)
Retail sales at The Emerald Cup 2021. (Photo by James Sakert, Courtesy The Emerald Cup)

Flower:

Extracts:

Oregon marijuana cup winners of 2021

A woman offers a jar of cannabis to the camera at The Emerald Cup 2021. (Photo by Demian Becerra, Courtesy The Emerald Cup)
(Photo by Demian Becerra, Courtesy The Emerald Cup)

Oregon rounded out the West Coast’s return to judging hella fire weed with its Growers Cup, which is all the more impressive when you remember the whole region was on fire for months. Winners for flowers spanned the terpene spectrum, with:

  • an indoor GMO (Nelson & Company Organics)
  • a sun-grown Orange Push Pop x Animal Mintz (Dirt Dawgz)
  • and greenhouse Sherbacio (The Plant) showing out.

Papaya proves it’s one of the best dabs with Madrone Farms’ Solventless win, and fellow fruity Blueberry Muffin Live Resin Diamonds by Rebel Roots Farms won for solvent dabs.

Buy these winning Oregon brands near you:

A legacy Cali pot farmer sales his wares at The Emerald Cup 2021. (Photo by James Sakert, Courtesy The Emerald Cup)
(Photo by James Sakert, Courtesy The Emerald Cup 2021)

Washington marijuana cup winners of 2021

A man sniffs a jar of herb at The Emerald Cup 2021. (Photo by Dany Olsan, Courtesy The Emerald Cup)
(Photo by Dany Olsan, Courtesy The Emerald Cup)

I’m calling it now, 2022 will be the year sun-grown flower gets its proper due. The Washington Sungrowers Industry Association’s fourth annual Sun Cup showcased the best buds grown under the sun, even with an extended fire season. CannaSol took first place once again with Blackberry Kush, while Kina THC’s In the Pines won for Light Dep, and Eagle Trees’ Royal AC-DC showed out for CBD-rich flower. Other categories include best vapes, concentrates, tinctures, and topicals.

Shop these winning Washington brands near you:

Colorado marijuana cup winners of 2021

Moroccan pressed hash from the strain Chemmy Jones—flashback to your parent’s spirit journey. (Courtesy Greenery, CO)
Moroccan pressed hash from the award-winning Greenery Hash Factory. (Courtesy Greenery, CO)

Colorado’s Connoisseur Cup in April pointed locals at the goodness in 2021. A series of seven qualifiers led to a final in April. Natty Rems remains the brand to watch after wins for:

  • Golden Goat live resin cart
  • Lemon G Live Diamonds
  • And Clementine Live Batter