This Is What It's Like When You Sample 98 Cannabis Strains in a Month

How a serious judge performs his duty.

So you want to be a weed judge?

You think you do, but it's a little harder than it looks. If you're properly judging cannabis, you don't just toke up and jot down some thoughts—you take a disciplined, studied approach. That means consuming on a regular schedule while avoiding alcohol and heavily spiced food.

Take it from me, someone who is taking on a crazy project: In less than a month, I'm attempting to sample all 98 strains submitted for judging in the first Cultivation Classic, a festival of the state's best soil-grown, chemical-free cannabis. The festival is April 30, and you can try some of this stuff there—take my word for it, it's great. You might never go back to conventional cannabis.

Here are the rules I'm setting for myself, to give you some idea what it takes to judge cannabis seriously.

Stay regular.

For me, judging begins first thing in the morning and ends in the evening. In between are 10 to 18 hours in a happy place where time can stop and nothing gets done. Or, you put on our adult pants and stay employable.

People use cannabis all the time, folks. Some with their breakfast cereal, others at lunch, or between meetings, or when they get inside their house after work. If they can toke up and lead a normal, productive life, a cannabis judge can, too.

Plan your days.

People who write shit down and then make plans to take care of that shit at a specific time tend to get shit done. No shit? So we loaded up our calendars and alerts with anything that needed attention. Waking up? 7 am alarm. Dinner prep? 4:15 pm reminder. Client meeting? Workout? Walk the dog? I added those, and kept everything on the hour—too much to do is just as distracting as too little.

Prep your instruments.

There's no one way to consume cannabis, so I start each day with a bong, vaporizer, pipe and rolling papers. The first three should be cleaned the night before and left out to dry. If you're serious about judging, be sure to use the same brand of rolling papers for every strain in the competition.

Carry a notebook everywhere.

New strains are about surprises, so keep that smartphone charged and pen and paper ready. Need to shit? Bring all those things with you.

Pre-select meals.

Hitting up a food-cart pod seemed a great idea when I started judging, but, uh, the amount of decision-making required to get from where I am to where it is hurts to think about. Bypass the urge to give in to the munchies by having last night's leftovers at the ready. Toss in some fruit, maybe frozen grapes, and you'll come out of this back at your fighting weight.

Think beyond THC.

Yes, getting high is fun. But if you're judging a competition, the THC alone is the most boring measure. It's the combination of cannabinoids and terpenes that gives that oh-so-good feeling, so don't spend all your energy on the psychoactive part. Good judges will take note of how their lungs feel. Great judges will toke up while on a brisk hike.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm taking this Strawberry Cough for a run.

GO: The Cultivation Classic is Saturday, April 30, at the North Warehouse, 723 N Tillamook St. Noon-6 pm. $40. Tickets on sale here. 21+.

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