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The Ridgeline Force is Strong 

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Shutterstock, Sam Leishman

The Emerald Cup — essentially the World Series of California cannabis — was held this past weekend and Humboldt County represented. Hard.

Local farms and manufacturers fared well in a variety of categories, from butane hash oil to pre-rolled joints. But nowhere was Humboldt's dominance more evident than in the best sun-grown flower category, which saw 10 Humboldt farms finish in the contest's top 20.

Top among those sits Ridgeline Farms, which took home its second consecutive sun-grown championship with Ridgeline Runtz. (The farm's Green Lantern — last year's champion — finished ninth while another Ridgeline offering, Ice Cream Cake, finished fifth.) Other Humboldt County farms making the top 20 include Humboldt Redwood Healing, Lost Coast Elixirs, DewPoint, Love Humboldt and Savage Farms.

In these pages, we've repeatedly touted the environmental benefits of buying local, licensed, sun-grown cannabis ("Make Greta Proud," Sept. 26, and "Green Your Weed," April 18). All we'll add here is, if you're buying weed grown in someone's garage or a warehouse somewhere, you're doing it very wrong.

Congrats to Ridgeline Farms and the other winners. You're a camouflaged-and-trucker-hat-clad testament to the fact that tasty, potent cannabis can be grown without de-watering streams or pumping carbon into the atmosphere.

Major League Baseball sent shockwaves through major U.S. sports last week when owners and the MLB Player's Association announced an agreement to a new drug testing program that will remove cannabis from the league's list of banned "drugs of abuse."

The change — which was announced along with a more rigorous testing for opioids like fentanyl and oxycodone — makes MLB the second major U.S. sports league to take a non-punitive approach to players' cannabis use. (The National Hockey League, kind of the red-headed stepchild of major U.S. sports leagues, has for years recommended treatment for players with "abnormally high" levels of THC in their systems but does not punish them.) Under the new MLB policy, players testing positive for THC — who used to face fines of up to $35,000 per violation — will be referred for a mandatory substance use evaluation and offered treatment.

Both the National Football League and the National Basketball Association currently test for cannabis and include it on their banned substances lists. In the NFL, a first dirty test lands a player in the league's substance abuse program, a second costs two game checks, a third means four game checks, a fourth garners a four-game suspension with a 10-game suspension following for a fifth offense. A sixth could ban players from the league for a year. In the NBA, meanwhile, a first positive test lands a player in the program, a second draws a $25,000 fine, a third a five game suspension, followed by five additional games added to the penalty for each ensuing failed test.

Meanwhile, 36 percent of major sports franchises are located in states or provinces in which recreational use is legal and another 45 percent are located where medical cannabis is legal.

Some have pointed out that, much like federal cannabis prohibition, major league sports' policies disproportionately impact people of color.

According to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, 57 percent of MLB players are white, while 93 percent of NHL players identify as white. Compare those figures to the NFL and NBA — which see people of color make up 70 percent and 80 percent of their players, respectively — and it's quickly apparent that the leagues with the most people of color in them also take the most punitive approaches to cannabis use.

Is that a coincidence? Maybe, but it's also a terrible look, especially for the NFL, which generates $8.1 billion in annual revenue on the backs of its players as they destroy their bodies and brains, and many abuse opioid pain killers at an alarming rate. But puffing a joint is somehow immoral and a threat to the league?

In much brighter news, The Spokesman Review reported that on the eve of the release of the ninth and final last installment of the Star Wars franchise, there's a palpable excitement that has stretched all the way into the cannabis industry, which has seen a flood of Star Wars strain names in recent weeks.

While "OG-1 Kenobi" is our runaway favorite of the names listed in the article, we took special note that "C-3PO" is cultivated right here in Humboldt County and, according to the article, boasts a "fresh pine scent" and is known to deliver "relaxing effects with mental clarity." What that has to do with an uptight, multi-lingual droid is anyone's guess but, hey, Star Wars!

's news editor and prefers he/him pronouns. Reach him at 442-1400, extension 321, or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @thadeusgreenson.

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Thadeus Greenson

Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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