Flower Power


The 2023 CA State Fair Cannabis Awards are celebrating California-grown, cannabis flower.

The competition is open to all licensed California cultivators. See Sections below for Divisions, Category, & Award details.

The submission window officially opens on January 18, 2023 and closes May 19, 2023.*

Award Winners will be announced in June 2023.

Price of Entry:

SC Labs Certificate of Analysis (COA) – 

  • Single sample: $465
  • 3 or more samples: $450 (each)


Submission Fee –

  • Single Sample: $250
  • Discounts for multiple samples:
    • 2 cultivars – $225 (each)
    • 3 cultivars – $220 (each)
    • 4 cultivars – $210 (each)
Early Bird Special – 
  • For the first month of the submission window (1/18-2/18), enjoy 50% off the submission fee ($125 per sample).


It begins with light source


Mixed Light



Entries will be evaluated and ranked based on the abundance of terpenes and cannabinoids and the ratio of cannabinoid-to-terpene content. 


Analysis of SC Labs’ data base of terpene testing results indicates that, with few exceptions, cannabis expresses one of six possible terpenes in the highest concentration (dominant terpene), oftentimes a particular cultivar has two or three of those terpenes in nearly equal concentrations (co-dominant).

These six dominant, one co-dominant, and the highest terpene content overall classes will form the eight terpene-based awards categories. Winners will be selected based upon the overall concentration of terpenes present in the entries from each class.

Myrcene is the terpene most frequently found in cannabis, and is described as earthy and herbal. Myrcene is found in hops, thyme, lemongrass and mango. Cultivars in which Myrcene is the dominant terpene represent the largest proportion of cultivars currently available in the market.

Suggested Effects:
Sedative and Relaxation

Cultivars: Cherry AK, Forbidden Fruit, Tangie and Blueberry

Learn more

One of two isomers of the monoterpene Pinene, the most abundant terpene in the natural world. It is responsible for the distinct aroma of many coniferous trees, particularly pines, from which it derives its name. α-Pinene is found in dill, basil, rosemary, and parsley, in addition to pine needles and other conifers.

Suggested Effects: Stimulating and Focus

Cultivars: Black Lime Reserve, Fruit Stripe, Sour Carmello and Taffy  

Learn more 

A sesquiterpene with a fragrance that can be described as spicy, dry, woody, dusty, and mildly sweet. β-Caryophyllene is found in black pepper and cloves and is used as a flavoring agent to add spicy and herbal notes.

Suggested Effects: Comfort and CB2 Receptor Agonist

:  Cookies, Gelato, Runtz, Sour Diesel and Purple Punch

Learn more

Ocimene imparts a sweet, floral and woody scent. Although present in many cultivars, Ocimene dominant cultivars of cannabis are rare. It can be found in a wide variety of plants including hops, kumquats, mangoes, basil, bergamot, lavender, orchids, and pepper in varying quantities. It is used extensively in the perfume industry due to its aromatic profile.

Suggested Effects: Relaxation and Comfort

Cultivars: Harmony Rose, Tropical Sleigh Ride, Pineapple and Mango

Learn more

Terpinolene has a complicated organoleptic profile with a nose described as woody and herbaceous yet floral. It can be found in nature in lilac, tea tree, apples, cumin, and nutmeg. Terpinolene is common in cultivars/strains but usually in small amounts. Cultivars/strains in which Terpinolene is dominant are much less common.

Suggested Effects: Creative, Cerebral, Uplifting and Energy

Cultivars: Train Wreck, Super Lemon Haze, Dutch Treat and Jack Herrer

Learn more

A monoterpene with a fragrance that can be described as orangey, citrusy, sweet, and tart. Limonene is common to the lemon and other citrus essential oils, and is the second most widely distributed terpenoid in nature. 

Suggested Effects: Inspiration, Uplifting and Antidepressant

Cultivars: Banana OG, Strawberry Banana, Berry White and MAC 

Learn more 




With consideration for the major cannabinoids found in the raw form of the cannabis plant, test reporting will award contestants with the most abundance of three primary acidic cannabinoids: THCa, CBDa, and CBGa. 


Entrants are vying for 70+ Awards

Silver & Gold awarded in each relevant category per division

Specialty Awards

Best of California

A select number of Golden Bear trophies will be awarded based on terpene to cannabinoid ratio and other science-based indicators of extraordinary genetics, craft, and curing.


Rare and distinctive
terpene & cannabinoid profiles

Double Gold

Submissions that achieve gold level results in two
or more categories

Best of California

A select number of Golden Bear trophies will be awarded based on terpene to cannabinoid ratio and other science-based indicators of extraordinary genetics, craft, and curing.


Rare and distinctive
terpene & cannabinoid profiles

Awards Criteria

How It Works

  • Entrants will submit their samples to SC Labs. 
  • Entrants will be required to obtain their Certificate of Analysis (COA) through the SC Labs online portal. 
  • On the online portal, entrants will “check-the-box” for entry to the CA State Fair Cannabis Awards. 
  • Entrants may submit multiple strains.  
  • SC Labs will test each cultivar for chemometric data, using their innovative cannabinoid and terpene reporting platform –  PhytoFacts®*
  • This easy-to-understand report characterizes the chemical profile of flower through intuitive data visualizations. These visualizations identify the chemical profile, dominant and proportional cannabinoids and terpenes, sensory attributes, and potential entourage effects of the submitted sample.
  • PhytoFacts allows for accurate sorting of samples into major chemometric families and subcategories that highlight similar sensory and physiological properties. It helps identify aged, immature, or sub-standard cannabis while also flagging unique outliers.
  • Awards will be given to entrants with the most abundance of the qualifying compounds.

*PhytoFacts is a registered trademark of Napro Research, LLC

Why We’re Testing Terpenes and Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis can represent upwards of 40% of the mass of a female flower. It is the profile of these highly potent compounds that is the best predictor of the aroma, flavor, and effects of a particular strain. This profile is referred to as the plant’s chemotype; the identification and measurement of the cannabinoids and terpenoids in a strain.

Instead of sorting entries by Indica, Sativa, Hybrid, we will celebrate the chemistry of the plant. Chemotype profiles offer a better method of organizing cannabis strains and predicting effects and organoleptic (aroma/flavor) attributes.

Through the SC Labs PhytoFacts chemometric reports, we will identify specific cannabinoids and terpenes, and their levels of concentration in the sample to determine the category winners by Division.

Understanding the variance of chemotypes is central to building an informed relationship with cannabis, and our hope is that this chemistry-first approach will usher in enhanced consumer awareness, interest, and education of cannabis chemistry.

Visit the SC Labs website for more educational information:

Competition Guide

Click the button below to view and download the 2023 Competition Guide.

Please email info@castatefaircannabisawards.com if you have any questions. 



Cannabis ticks all the boxes for inclusion as a coveted Awards competition.  Cannabis became legal for recreational adult use in 2018 in California.  The CA Cannabis industry is highly regulated, culturally significant, part of our agricultural legacy and essential to the California economy.

There will be NO sales or consumption of cannabis products containing THC (the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high”) at the CA State Fair in 2023.

Yes. A 21 and over CA Cannabis Exhibit experience will be created on the fairgrounds celebrating the Award winners, sponsors and State agencies with educational displays and activations.

Due to advertising restrictions set forth by Prop 64, the exhibit is open strictly to adults 21+. IDs will be checked at the door. 


For more information on sponsorship of the Fair, go to www.calexpostatefair.com

For more information on sponsorship of the Fair, go to www.castatefaircannabisawards.com

In 2022, we had over 300 submissions. We anticipate hundreds of submissions for the 2023 Awards.

The Competition

Licensed California cultivators. The cultivator must work with a distributor or have a distributor license in order to obtain a compliance COA.

You may enter as many cultivars as you like.

Submission Fee – $250

Discounts for multiple cultivar submissions:

    • $225 (each)– 2 cultivars
    • $220 (each)– 3 cultivars
    • $210 (each)– 4 cultivars

NOTE: Testing fee is $465 and includes COA from SC Labs

A compliance COA is needed for all entries. SC Labs will provide a COA as well as test results through an easy one-step process.

The certificate of analysis (COA) from SC Lab for the CA State Fair Flower Compliance is $465 for a single sample. For 3 or more samples, COAs are $450 each.

Divisions are based on light source; indoor, mixed light, outdoor. You know your source best!

We aspire to host a Homegrown category/division in the future, but for now there are some compliance, testing, and legal restrictions that make a homegrown division difficult to administer during this first year.

Cannabinoids are compounds found in cannabis. The most notable cannabinoid is the phytocannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. Cannabidiol is another major constituent of the plant. There are at least 113 different cannabinoids isolated from cannabis, exhibiting varied effects.


Terpenes, and terpenoids, are naturally occurring aromatic compounds found in many plants. Often, they are responsible for the characteristic smells (lavender, pine trees, and oranges as examples) and are the major constituent of plant essential oils and resins.

The submission window officially opens on January 18, 2023 and closes on May 19, 2023.

Yes. Need a compliance COA? Want to set up an account with SC Labs early? Need to conduct R&D testing beforehand? We will accommodate: Click Here.

There will be a remediation 4-week period for those submission samples who fail the compliance testing. Yes, you will need to pay for a second test.

All Things SC Labs

Once you are a client you will receive credentials to log into SC Labs Client Service Portal (CSP). In the application you can schedule a sampling event. 

Entrants must submit a batch size minimum of 18 grams up to a maximum 50 lbs (per DCC regulations).

Why do we request a minimum batch size of 18 grams?

  • The sampling event size for the CA State Fair Cannabis Awards is a minimum 16g, or 0.35% of the total weight of the batch (whichever is greater).
  • State Fair Cannabis Awards Compliance testing requires a minimum sample weight of 16 grams
  • SC Labs will sample 16 grams and leave the remaining product with the distributor. We request a minimum batch size of 18 grams so that we can leave at least 2 grams in the original package. Any batch size over 18 grams is no issue.
  • Ultimately, test results will be reported and synced with the source METRC package, which requires that there be product left in the original package.
  • 16 grams of material allows us to prep for the state compliance panel of testing, including our potency/terpenoid test in Triplicate.
  • The Awards are determined by these test results.
  • Please note, if the product submitted is underweight when SC Labs goes to sample it, they will not be able to collect enough material, and therefore would have to skip sampling it at that time and until the farmer gets enough sample to the distributor.

No other items are required at the time of submission. Award winners will be contacted and encouraged to provide additional marketing collateral for promotional purposes. 

The SC Labs Client Service Portal hosts information about your results. When samples are submitted for testing, orders are assigned a status (Submitted, Accepted, Scheduled, Processing, Preliminary Results, Completed).

Winners will be announced in May 2022.

Yes, per Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), regulations compliance sampling events can only take place at a licensed distributor. 

No, SC Labs has been chosen as the exclusive lab for the California State Fair Cannabis Awards. To learn more about SC Labs, Click Here.

If you are unfamiliar with SC Labs processes, we recommend performing an R&D test or mock compliance on your material. This will allow you time to discuss results with your SC Labs account manager and address any concerns prior to compliance testing. While there are subtle differences between laboratories, all labs are required to meet the same regulatory standards and proficiency testing. Because of inherent variance in biomass, sampling procedure often plays a bigger role in variance than laboratory processes.

CA State Fair – General

CalExpo Fairgrounds