Somerset hashish pageant and Cypress Hill live performance celebrates tradition

SOMERSET – Cannabis enthusiasts from all over New England and beyond flocked to Somerset this weekend to celebrate and hang out 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, packaging manager at cannabis breeder Bountiful Farms. The Natick company won the best overall in the breeding competition with its Piña Grande variety.

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Local pharmacy Solar Therapeutics sponsored the two-day festival, which included a VIP awards ceremony on Friday and an all-day music festival with hip-hop groups Cypress Hill and Method Man & Redman on Saturday. Both parts of the event took place in a clearing near the pharmacy on Brayton Point Road.

Izzy Rock, who was there with partner Rosie Juritsch on Saturday, said they had come from New York City especially for the music festival as a rock birthday present. He said it would be great if the event comes back next year, maybe as an expanded version.

“I really hope they continue like this,” he said, a thought that other participants and vendors echoed.

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Rock said Method Man & Redman and Cypress Hill are the perfect musical acts to represent marijuana culture.

“You couldn’t have picked a better artist,” he said. “Except maybe Snoop Dog or Willie Nelson.”

Brad Flight from Somerville said the festival is a sign that the marijuana industry is growing. When recreational marijuana use was legalized in Massachusetts in 2016, many people did not fully understand the scope of the law and were reluctant to use it, even if it was technically allowed. Now, he said, marijuana use has started to emerge from the shadows.

“It’s nice to see cannabis events outside of Boston, especially since we’re seeing a better understanding of legalization and what it means,” he said.

Along with the music, tents from vendors including pharmacies from across Massachusetts and related businesses surrounded the event space. Pharmacies gave away swag and samples that did not contain THC, the active chemical in cannabis.

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Danielle Miller, marketing executive at Pittsfield-based pharmacy Berkshire Roots, said the event was a welcome opportunity to meet with fellow workers in the industry. Your company was there with a non-medicinal version of gummy bears that would normally contain cannabis.

“It was nice to be able to connect with the cannabis community from everywhere,” she said.

At Saturday’s music festival, which was outdoors and allowed for 2,000 people, almost no one in the crowd wore masks to protect against the spread of COVI. Around 500 spectators were expected for the VIP event on Friday.

Somerset Selectmen spent three meetings working out details of the event’s security plan and security staff before granting them a temporary liquor license. In addition to private security services, a clearly visible police presence patrolled the crowd. Somerset Police did not report any arrests during the two-day event. A member of Swansea Police Department said they arrested someone over the weekend but did not want to confirm whether this was related to the event.

Selectmen’s chairman of the board, Lorne Lawless, attended the festival on Saturday night and said he was particularly excited about what it means for local businesses.

“All the hotels are full,” he says. “So far this has been a good event for Somerset.”

Audrey Cooney can be reached at acooney@heraldnews.com. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News today.