Zach Dundas has an amusing cover story in Oregon's Willamette Week—a sober, la-de-dah visit to the country's biggest (only?) legal marijuana judging competition.
Yes, the Awards are the only major non-clandestine cannabis competition in the United States. And yes, 28 different strains were evaluated for flavor, aroma, potency and other qualities, with prizes in every category. The judges—all cardholding patients—filled out elaborate score sheets, complete with Wine Spectator-style comments ("A very pine-like smell…").
And yes, you could see a Buddhist monk line up behind a NASCAR-dad type in a camo ball cap to buy tickets to a raffle for a glass bong autographed by Tommy Chong.
Mostly, though, the Awards comprised a businesslike tradeshow and buffet banquet. The biggest prizes were reserved for the strains determined to pack the most potent medicinal punch.
Dundas forgoes the usual "but seriously, these people are potheads" commentary. It's like a portal to an alternate universe where pot smoking has been normalized and made boring. (For another portal to this universe, check out Jacob Sullum's Saying Yes.)