SOMERSET — Cannabis enthusiasts from across New England and beyond flocked to Somerset this weekend for a chance to celebrate marijuana cultivators and hang with their buds as part of the Cultivators Cup.
“For us, this is our culture. We’re all different, but we love the plant,” said Krystal Rivera, the packaging lead from cannabis grower Bountiful Farms. The Natick company won Best Overall in the cultivators’ competition with their strain Piña Grande.
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Local dispensary Solar Therapeutics sponsored the two-day festival, which included a VIP awards ceremony on Friday and an all-day music festival headlined by hip hop groups Cypress Hill and Method Man & Redman on Saturday. Both parts of the event were held in a clearing near the dispensary on Brayton Point Road.
Izzy Rock, who was there on Saturday with his partner, Rosie Juritsch, said they drove up from New York City specifically for the music festival as a birthday present for Rock. He said it would be great to see the event come back next year, maybe as an expanded version.
“I really hope they keep this going,” he said, a thought that other attendees and vendors echoed.
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Rock said Method Man & Redman and Cypress Hill were the perfect musical acts to represent marijuana culture.
“They couldn’t have picked better artists,” he said. “Except maybe Snoop Dog or Willie Nelson.”
Brad Flight of Somerville said the festival was a sign that the marijuana industry is coming into its own. When recreational marijuana use was legalized in Massachusetts in 2016, he said, many people didn’t fully understand the scope of the law and hesitated to use it even when technically allowed to. Now, he said, marijuana use has started to come out of the shadows.
“It’s nice to see cannabis events outside of Boston, especially as we see a better understanding of legalization and what it means,” he said.
Along with the music, tents from vendors including dispensaries from across Massachusetts and related companies ringed the event space. Dispensaries were giving away swag and samples that did not contain THC, the active chemical in cannabis.
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Danielle Miller, a marketing associate for Pittsfield-based dispensary Berkshire Roots, said the event was a welcome opportunity to mingle with other workers in the industry. Her company was there with non-medicated version of gummies that would typically contain cannabis.
“It’s been nice to connect with the cannabis community from all over,” she said.
Nearly no one in the crowd wore masks to protect against the spread of COVI at Saturday’s music festival, which was held outdoors and permitted for 2,000 people. Friday’s VIP event was expected to draw around 500.
Somerset selectmen spent three meetings hashing out details of the event’s safety plan and security personal before granting them a temporary alcohol license. Alongside private security, there was a highly visible police presence patrolling the crowd. Somerset police reported no arrests during the two-day event. A member of the Swansea Police Department said they arrested one person over the weekend, but would not confirm if it was related to the event.
Chair of the Board of Selectmen Lorne Lawless stopped by the festival on Saturday night and said he was especially pleased for what it meant for local businesses.
“All the hotels are full,” he said. “So far, this has been a good event for Somerset.”
Audrey Cooney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News today.