This year’s California State Fair will feature weed sales and a cannabis consumption area in the latest sign of marijuana’s growing acceptance by mainstream America. This year marks the first year that cannabis sales have been permitted at the event, which begins in Sacramento on July 12.

The California State Fair welcomed weed to the festivities for the first time in 2022 with an exhibition and competition, much like many of the state’s famed agricultural products including wine, cheese, olive oil and craft beer. The pot-friendly events will be expanded this year, with a broadened marijuana products competition, a weed consumption lounge and onsite sales operated by licensed cannabis retailer and event concessionaire Embarc.

“The California State Fair took a historic leadership position in 2022 with the introduction of a cannabis exhibit and competition,” Tom Martinez, CEO of the California State Fair, said in a statement. “This year, we’ve expanded our offerings to include onsite sales and consumption in a designated area to provide a platform to amplify California’s rich agricultural bounty and facilitate storytelling for farmers from diverse backgrounds and experiences.”

Shopping for Weed at the State Fair

This year will be the first time in the 170-year history of the California State Fair that cannabis sales and consumption will be allowed. The cannabis exhibition hall, which is restricted to adults aged 21 and up with government-issued identification, will include farm displays and educational information about California’s storied cannabis history. 

Visitors will be able to scan QR codes to learn more about Golden Bear award winners, add cannabis products to a virtual shopping basket and purchase them at Embarc’s on-site dispensary. The area will feature a 30,000-square-foot consumption lounge, accessible via a designated walking path, to give attendees over the age of 21 an opportunity to try winning products from diverse farms and brands from throughout the state.

“Hosting cannabis sales and consumption is a groundbreaking milestone in destigmatization by facilitating a deeper connection between consumers and the farmers who cultivate their products with such care,” said Lauren Carpenter, co-founder of Embarc. “Joining James Leitz, pioneer of the educational exhibit and competition for the past two years, on an expanded competition and experiential dispensary is a major step forward for responsible normalization.”

Organizers of the event say that visitors to the onsite consumption area may be surprised by how the exhibit hall has been transformed for the event.

“‘Designated smoking area’ is the required terminology,” Carpenter told the Los Angeles Times. “But that makes it sound like people standing around outside of a building smoking. This is intended to be experiential and fully built out and produced with a stage where we will have a ceremony for our [cannabis] award winners. [And] right now, our theme is ‘oasis’ — because, in case you missed it, it’s really hot in Sacramento — and our intention is to make this a respite.”

“This initiative spotlights the significant role of cannabis in California’s agricultural industry, marking a major milestone in the state fair’s 170-year history,” said James Leitz, executive producer of the cannabis competition and exhibit. “Expanding the competition to include all form factors and providing patrons the opportunity to directly engage with and consume winning brands is transformational for public understanding of the plant.”

The California State Fair kicks off on July 12 at the California Exposition Center in Sacramento and runs through July 28.

The post California State Fair To Feature Weed Sales, Consumption Lounge first appeared on High Times.