Next weekend the heavy hitters of the cannabis industry will be joined by rap legends Kurupt and DJ Cell of Tha Dogg Pound plus Masta Killa, Cappadonna and Prodigal Sunn (Wu-Tang Clan) at the longest running cannabis event ever, the Emerald Cup. This special show is being curated by Black Market Group, a cannabis organization pushing for equity and creativity in the industry. The Emerald Cup has been taking place since 2003, celebrating the end of the cannabis harvest season and awarding the best strains with coveted titles. As cannabis policy has evolved and changed from all-underground, to allowed medical use, to legalized recreational use in so many states, the Cup has changed and grown. This year the Black Market Group is bringing some timely perspective and wisdom on how the culture and practices of the industry can support and respect its pioneers, many of whom have suffered the consequences of old laws that are no longer considered valid.
The Kurupt & Friends show is taking place on Saturday December 11th after a special panel on Hip Hop & the War on Drugs at the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball inside the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. (See the complete list of Emerald Cup Harvest Ball events below and visit TheEmeraldCup.com to purchase tickets.)
The panel discussion and the performance that will follow came together from the vision of many late night conversations between Black Market Group and OGs like Kurupt. The organization seeks to preserve legacy farms, the grower families who forged the foundation for the vibrant cannabis industry that we see today. As things in the cannabis world become more corporate, many of these trail blazers are being put out of business (and some are even still dealing with incarceration or its after-effects).
One such story is that of Karl Witt, founder of Eden Farms, an 8-time Emerald Cup Top 10 grower. In 2017 while driving to the Emerald Cup, Karl was arrested for transporting cannabis through Mendocino County. Just two weeks before cannabis legalization in California was put into effect, he was in jail, finding out about his farm’s latest Emerald Cup win while locked up! After years of legal battles and great hardship, Karl Witt and Eden Farms are finally returning to this special event, selling their award-winning cannabis at the Black Market Group (BMG) booth along with rapper Canibus and more!
“Small farm operators and people of color in the supply chain are being systematically removed from the industry since legalization,” explains Annick Goldsmith of BMG, “the people who took on a lot of risk to build this industry are being pushed out…Black Market Certified cannabis means living wage jobs, people of color in the supply chain and support for small businesses; we’re preserving the good aspects of the ‘black market’ era of cannabis, pre-legalization.”
A portion of the BMG booth sales are going to benefit The Last Prisoner Project, an organization that provides legal services for people who are currently incarcerated for nonviolent cannabis crimes and also grants and support services to the formerly incarcerated as they reintegrate.