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Emerald Cup and SC Labs Celebrate 13 Years of Collaboration and Culture Preservation

Emerald Cup and SC Labs Celebrate 13 Years of Collaboration and Culture Preservation

The 18th annual Emerald Cup competition ( is currently underway, with 90+ expert judges from all corners of California spending weeks sampling and analyzing nearly 1000 entries spanning over 50 different cannabis consumption and associated categories.

For the past 13 years, the reputation for authenticity and fairness that the Emerald Cup has earned has been strengthened by a working partnership with Santa Cruz-based SC Labs (, itself a stalwart of trust in California’s cannabis culture and industry, to provide Certificates of Analysis verifying both the potency and the purity of products entered into the competition.

SC Labs has been testing and gathering data on terpenes for more than a decade, and in 2021 licensed Napro Research LLC’s proprietary data visualization tool, PhytoFacts®. 

This technology provides a visual profile of the chemical makeup for a specific cultivar and provides much-needed standardization for defining and determining terpenes in a language that anyone from consumers to budtenders, to contest judges, to cultivators themselves can find familiar and useful.

It also provides the foundation for the newly launched Emerald Cup Cannabis Classification System based on PhytoFacts® and powered by SC Labs, which made its debut in this year’s competition phase and will help Emerald Cup Judges determine the winners of the 2022 Emerald Cup Awards.

“Our partnership with Emerald Cup is about much more than just giving out awards,” according to Jeff Gray, CEO of SC Labs. “We’ve been working together each year to help move the industry forward in how we define quality cannabis and all the nuances of the plant; thanks to the high visibility of these awards and the new classifications, brands are starting to take notice of the role terpenes play in marketing to consumers.”

With a common goal to propagate a greater understanding and appreciation for the diversity and range of cannabis chemistry and put everyone on a level playing field, including small farms, this collaborative new data-driven approach by the Emerald Cup and SC Labs ensures that judges are rating similar terpene profiles against each other and eliminates any potential of subjectivity or flavor bias.

Through combined terpene testing and classification, the Emerald Cup and SC Labs hope to lead the conversation away from ‘indica vs. sativa’, and THC potency and hope that cultivators, brands, and consumers will begin cataloging, conversing, and marketing based on a cultivar’s unique aromas, flavors, and effects as defined by its terpene profile. 

“We’re especially excited to see this year’s competition embrace the process of sorting entries via flavors and aromas that will be more meaningful to consumers,” said Alec Dixon, co-founder of SC Labs. “The fact that there are more than 1000 entries this year tells us that brands and consumers are ready to embrace this new approach and sort products into categories that make more sense and that buyers are familiar with.”

This year’s Emerald Cup Judges convened on March 19th, 2022, at the picturesque Solar Living Institute in Hopland, California, to receive the generous amount of anonymous samples associated with their assigned category, as well as to receive in-person instruction from Alec Dixon of SC Labs on how to properly implement the Emerald Cup Cannabis Classification System based on PhytoFacts® and powered by SC Labs into their own personal analytical processes.

“I’ve been telling people for years that the highest THC flower entry has never won the Emerald Cup. Our judges are looking for a cultivar that expresses a unique cannabinoid and terpene profile,” says Emerald Cup Founder Tim Blake. “When SC Labs first showed up at the Emerald Cup twelve years ago, most farmers wondered what they were there for, other than to get THC numbers. Through testing and education, we’ve gone from a 65 percent failure rate for concentrates to under 5. If the rigorous testing cannabis has to undergo was applied to other agriculture in California, our whole food supply would be cleaned up within years”.

Judges then have two weeks to assess and personally rank the dozens of samples from their category before gathering once more, this time on April 1-2, at Yokayo Ranch in Ukiah, California, to compare notes and have one final sampling session to determine which entries will be unveiled as the best of California cannabis.

The iconic Emerald Cup Awards will take place on May 14th, 2022, at the historic Ricardo Montalbán Theatre ( in Hollywood, California. The 2022 competition judges panel includes a diverse cast of leading experts, journalists, scientists, activists, celebrities, and cannabis aficionados who will help the Emerald Cup shape tastes in California and beyond for years to come. A list of all judges is available at

Media seeking to connect with Emerald Cup, The Emerald Cup 2022 Award Show, or to speak with founder Tim Blake regarding this announcement, please reach out to Kenneth Loo, Chapter 2 at 


Those looking to connect with SC LABS, please reach out to Beth Graham, Kip Morrison,

Follow Emerald Cup on Instagram @theemeraldcup

Follow SC LABS on Instagram:@_sclabs 


Emerald Cup ( is now the world’s premier virtual cannabis destination and purveyor of the plant’s most iconic live events. While advancing the concept of sustainable, sun-grown farming, the 17-year-old organization’s reputation is firmly solidified as the largest, most-respected cannabis competition in the world. As a group, Emerald Cup prides itself in bringing together the leading experts in the cannabis industry to educate and inspire our fellow farmers, patients, and patrons each year. A community celebration that has grown to become a global movement honoring the year’s finest, organic, sun-grown cannabis harvest as well as the finest cannabis products available. The Cup has stood as a celebration of excellence and over the years has seen founder Tim Blake recognized as a guardian of the industry.  


Founded in 2010, SC Labs is one of the cannabis industry’s oldest licensed testing labs. SC Labs is headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, and is accredited to ISO 17025 in California and by Oregon’s Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ORELAP). SC Labs is a leader in the testing and education of terpenes and the role they play in cultivars’ quality attributes and the consumer experience. SC Labs is part of a network of three cannabis and hemp testing laboratories. Together with Colorado-based Agricor and Botanacor Laboratories, the respected organizations offer science-first cannabis testing in CA, CO, and OR, and best-in-class hemp testing across the U.S. and throughout the world. For more information, visit


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