Things in the marijuana legalization movement are happening fast. Perhaps not as fast as advocates would like, but fast enough that it is hard to keep up with it all. A case in point is a plan to include a marijuana competition at California’s 2022 State fair. That moment marijuana makes it to the state fair is when you realize that recreational use is here to stay.
California voters approved recreational marijuana for adults over the age of twenty-one about five years ago. Since then, the industry has experienced significant growth there. Recreational marijuana is to California residents what alcohol is to the rest of the nation. And now, marijuana growers will be able to compete for prestigious awards alongside wine, beer, and cheese vendors.
1. It is All About Normalization
State officials say that opening state fair competition to marijuana cultivators is just a natural extension of a program designed to showcase what California has to offer. But behind the scenes, adding marijuana to the state fair is really about normalization. State fair organizers want to do their part to bring marijuana out of the shadows and into the mainstream.
Fair attendees can look forward to browsing the fairgrounds next year and visiting with marijuana cultivators. However, fair organizers say that visitors will not be able to purchase or consume on-site. As for the Cannabis Awards themselves, it will be interesting to see how the products are judged.
Common sense would suggest that judges would have to use the products in order to assess quality. Otherwise, they would be left with nothing but looking at and handling plants. But that is not the plan. Instead, cultivators will submit their plants for scientific testing. A lab will determine the winners.
2. It’s Not Normal Everywhere
While California looks to normalize marijuana as much as possible, it is not normal everywhere. There are still thirteen states that do not allow cannabis in any form. Among the thirty-seven with medical programs in place, some are still highly conservative in how they treat the plant. Utah is an excellent example.
Utah only licenses fourteen medical cannabis pharmacies. Payson’s Pure Utah is one of them. State law is very strict about how pharmacies can operate, what they can sell, and to whom they can sell their products. Likewise, cultivators and processes are highly regulated.
The goal in Utah is to ensure that cannabis remains available only for medical use. And even with that, the state’s list of approved medical conditions is purposely limited. Lawmakers do not want to throw the door open to recreational use by not being strict enough with the rules. Suffice it to say that you probably won’t see marijuana at the Utah State fair next year.
3. Marijuana Is Here to Stay
Regardless of what states like Utah might do, California has a way of leading the rest of the nation down the road of progressivism. They were the ones who initially got the ball rolling on medical cannabis in the 1990s. They are now among a few states leading the charge toward federal decriminalization.
Recreational marijuana consumption is here to stay. If you need any proof, look no further than the California State Fair. The fact that marijuana cultivators will be displaying their products side-by-side with other agricultural producers says it all.
If you plan to visit the California State Fair in 2022, know this: the moment you realize marijuana has made it to the fair is the same moment you will realize recreational marijuana is never going away. Now that it is here and out in the open, there’s no going backward.