Prize-winning pot plants debut at Oregon state fair

 One of the nation’s most family-friendly traditions will feature marijuana plants. Photograph: Lauren Dake

One of the nation’s most family-friendly traditions will feature marijuana plants. Photograph: Lauren Dake

This week, Nathan Martinez’s family will head to the Oregon state fair to view the prize-winning pot plants he’s hydroponically grown and lovingly cultivated: both the sativa super sour diesel and the indica granddaddy purple.

That’s right: one of the nation’s most family-friendly traditions – synonymous with the tilt-a-whirl, funnel cake and blue ribbon pigs – will feature marijuana plants.

“Cannabis is taking its rightful place next to tomatoes and other agriculture,” said Don Morse, with the Oregon Cannabis Business Council, noting that it’s the first time pot plants have been displayed at a state fair.

But unlike the tomatoes, the marijuana plants will only be viewable by those 21 and older. And the plants will be guarded by security. Still, cannabis advocates called it a monumental step in removing the stigma around a product they believe should be considered the same as any other Oregon crop.

Ed Rosenthal, also called the guru of ganja, was the contest’s head judge. Carrying a clipboard and wearing a black shirt with green marijuana plants, he evaluated each plant on a range of criteria: color, aroma, shape of leaves and overall health. The plants are judged before they flower, and the type of high they produce isn’t a factor in their overall score.

Rosenthal’s priority, he said, is “helping cannabis socialize into the mainstream”.

Among the hopefuls was Peggy Anderson, a petite silver-haired woman, retired from her job at the Portland Business Alliance to open a pot-growing operation with her son. At 63 years old, Anderson said she’s never felt healthier. She walks three miles a day and can vouch for her own product.

She believes the industry is poised to be the next cash crop.

“If you think about Oregon and the agricultural industry, in the Willamette Valley we’re primed to do just as well as the wine industry,” said Anderson, who brought an indica strain called So Mango to display.

 Greg Seybert, head farmer at marijuana grower Synergy Farms, inspects a marijuana plant with his girlfriend, Samantha Aune. Photograph: Gillian Flaccus/AP

Greg Seybert, head farmer at marijuana grower Synergy Farms, inspects a marijuana plant with his girlfriend, Samantha Aune. Photograph: Gillian Flaccus/AP

Read the full article at the Guardian newspaper web site here.

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