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The Cannabis Cup Where You Are Judge And Jury

“There are a thousand-plus brands in Mass, so that’s a ton of competition and a cup like this helps the community decide who is out here doing the best work.”

If there is a cannabis cup to be judged between here and Hawaii, then New England natives Bailey and Bobby Nuggz are likely involved. The canna couple is well known for tasting terps and savoring the finest strains, but their involvement in the Greenskeeper Cup unlocks another level entirely—they organize and operate the competition, but don’t participate as judges. 

The judging is on you, the consumer.

With a significant expansion afoot for their second year of Greenskeeper festivities, which are tied to the Roll Up Festival in Worcester on April 13, we asked Bobby and Bailey about their High End Events Co.’s painstaking effort behind this year’s contest and how they are adapting to the times … 

On the concept for the competition … 

Bobby: The original idea to separate [the Greenskeeper Cup] from other competitions and make it a little different was from our thinking about how most of the competitions across the nation are homegrow cups, and how there are very few competitions that highlight these legal growers. 

In Massachusetts alone, we’re approaching about 140 craft growers, so that’s why we wanted to do this, to highlight those growers and to figure out and get to the bottom of who has the best products in the state. … There are a thousand-plus brands in Mass, so that’s a ton of competition and a cup like this helps the community decide who is out here doing the best work and providing the best products.

On the big changes from last year to this year … 

Bobby: This year we were able to actually expand the competition statewide. Last year was just at one dispensary in Northampton; this year, [people can purchase judge kits] [at Resinate] in Worcester, [at Turning Leaf] in Northampton again, and we’re at AMP in Fitchburg.

This is also the first year in the competition where the entries are not blind. I’ve been judging competitions for a long time, and the majority of them are all blind. For ours, we’re thinking about branding, because branding in Mass is everything. 

Bailey: We find it to be more interesting [to do it this way]. Rather than just having the same black dram container, you have all different colors and shapes and sizes. … Companies are really giving a lot of attention to detail in their packaging, from market research to developing these [products], so we don’t think it should be something that’s just glazed over. That’s why we added packaging as a separate criteria, and as a separate category for judging.

Pictured: the Greenskeeper Cup indica kit

On how a cultivator can stand out from the pack in any cup … 

Bobby: In this market, pheno[type] hunting or purchasing very rare genetics is a way to get a foot up in the market.

Bailey: It’s about paying attention and keeping your ear to the street about what’s popular. Tastes, they shift. Right now, banana is kind of all the rage and is something that a lot of people are messing with and entering into cups. And then, from time to time, you’ll also see [longstanding staples] like Lemon Haze and the Lemon OG pop up. It’s just important to really know who your demographics are.

Bobby: Market trends are everything, but for this competition, [several contestants] are actually entering strains that have yet to be released, so it’s almost like no one’s ever tasted it before. To me, that’s a great opportunity to maybe introduce a new strain that you’re waiting to drop. 

On compliance… 

Bobby: It’s extremely strict doing this compliantly under the [Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission]. We don’t have a license, but we are a fully compliant competition. We are not allowed to touch any of the entries—it is all done through [the state-required seed-to-sale tracking system] Metrc. Every single entry is recorded with a number tag, and each store [received] all the [submissions]. It was months of coordination and a lot of effort and hours to get to this point.

How this year’s competition works …

Bobby: At Resinate, they have the indica box, which comes with 20 grams [of flower]. Each gram is a different cultivator from Massachusetts. We also have the solvent category, which has five competitors, and the non-solvent box [at Resinate].

The best of the best in the state of Massachusetts are competing in this competition and, honestly, some brand new cultivators who are just about to make their mark on the scene [are involved]. If you’re getting a kit, then you better watch out, because there is some serious heat.

Bailey: There are six different [categories overall]. We have sativa over at Turning Leaf in Northampton, indica, non-solvent, and solvent [concentrates] are at Resinate in Worcester; and we have prerolls and infused prerolls at AMP in Fitchburg.

On the festival tie-in … 

Bobby: The price [of the judge kits] ranges from around $120 to $200 and comes with a general admission ticket to the Roll Up Fest in Worcester on April 13th. We’re a sister cup for the festival which this year in Worcester has Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, DJ Craze, and Lil Eazy-E … we’ll be crowning the winners on stage at the festival. There will be over 30 vendors and 2,000 people there to see it, and a smoke-friendly area outside.

On the big bonus for winners … 

Bobby: By entering the competition and getting your label there at the show, it’s truly getting your product and brand from the dispensary to the consumer. Not only that, but this year we’ve added order commitments to the awards … which means we have multiple dispensaries committed to order from the winners. [Some] winners will get a minimum of a $2,000 order from [Green Choice Cannabis] in Blackstone and Turning Leaf in Northampton. So if you’re a winner of the sativa category [or] the indica award, you won’t just be receiving a trophy, you’ll end up on the shelf of a new dispensary.