British Columbia

Winning weed: Vancouver Island fall fair judging pot for 1st time

Homegrown marijuana will be judged alongside livestock, vegetables and baked goods at the 151st annual Cowichan Exhibition Fair.

Homegrown marijuana judged alongside veggies and livestock at Cowichan Exhibition

A homegrown cannabis plant that is ready for harvesting. The Cowichan Exhibition Fair will be judging cannabis plants for the first time this year. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Anyone who thinks they are growing blue ribbon buds in the Cowichan Valley, now is your chance to vie for community bragging rights.

The 151st Cowichan Exhibition Fair on Vancouver Island, which this year runs Sept. 6-8, will be judging homegrown cannabis for the first time. The event is a chance for local agriculture producers to showcase their livestock and produce.

And now green thumb weed growers can enter the competition too. 

Shari Paterson, executive director of the exhibition, said the directors of the board were excited about adding something new to the fair catalogue, and they have invited an employee from a medical marijuana company in the area to help judge the competition.

Paterson said "a lot of people came forward to offer to judge."

But the adjudicators will be making clear-headed (and clear-eyed) decisions. The entries will be judged based on uniformity, scent, moisture and colour — not on the calibre of the high. 

"They are not going to be lighting them up," said Paterson.

Mounties informed

And the competition could be stiff. According to Paterson, the first online applications from exhibitors this year came from weed growers going for the gold. 

Local RCMP and local town council have been informed of the plan, and so far, there has been no pushback.

"Nobody really had the answer because it is so new," said Paterson. "Council threw their hands up and went 'Whoa, OK.'"

Entrants must supply three cannabis buds in a clear, sealed bag.

Plants are not allowed. Under the Cannabis Control and Licencing Act, it is illegal to possess a cannabis plant that is budding or flowering in a public place.

Paterson said exhibition organizers are taking precautions to make sure the entries don't fall into the wrong hands, such as minors. She said the cannabis will be judged and returned to its owners and while the winning entry may be displayed briefly, it will be watched closely for security reasons.

The pot of money for the best pot isn't huge. The top bud will win 5 bucks, second prize is $3 and third place takes home a ribbon.

They do get to go home with some prize-winning weed though. 


  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that cannabis plants would be judged at the Cowichan Exhibition Fair. In fact, it is cannabis buds that will be judged.
    Aug 15, 2019 11:21 AM PT

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