Marijuana

Light My Fire: Errl Cup's Jim Morrison Is All About Cannabis Consumer Safety

The Errl Cup is held at the Scarizona Scaregrounds in Mesa.
The Errl Cup is held at the Scarizona Scaregrounds in Mesa. The Errl Cup

Mesa was unseasonably hazy earlier this month, but it didn’t have anything to do with the weather. For two days of cannabis festivities, live music, and some of Arizona’s best food trucks, cannabis lovers flocked to the East Valley for the sixth annual Spring Errl Cup cannabis festival.


Held at the Scarizona Scaregrounds in Mesa, the Errl Cup is Arizona’s largest cannabis awards and festival event. Dispensaries, growers, and vendors show up from around the country to strut their stuff and participate in a competition for best-in-class cannabis. From topicals and tinctures to distillates and derivatives, the Errl Cup has spent years refining its laboratory testing process. The best part: The cost of entry is free to all medical marijuana patients and adults in Arizona.

“We give it all away for free,” says Jim Morrison, part owner and founder of the Errl Cup. Unless you’re a marijuana establishment licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services, it is illegal to sell marijuana in the state of Arizona. “You have to do it this way or else you’ll go to jail,” says Morrison, whose main focus is safe access to cannabis for patients in Arizona.


Aside from two full days of getting toasty and shopping for new merch (the only thing that actually costs money), the Errl Cup Awards event is a major part of the weekend. Contestants are judged on a combination of laboratory tests as well as the preferences of MMJ card-holding judges. A full list of award winners appears below.


Morrison found meaning in his endeavor to provide safe cannabis when he lost his sister to multiple sclerosis. “It was a way for me to focus my energy on other things,” says Morrison, whose father was an entrepreneur and encouraged Morrison to run his own businesses.


Shortly thereafter, Morrison and his partner Jay Neri worked together to create a festival that promoted patient safety and quality cannabis.


“When I first started, the dispensaries thought there was no benefit to them,” says Morrison. “They didn’t see the return on investment.” It took time for dispensaries and vendors to catch on to the idea of a free event, but Morrison’s passion and focus on community safety eventually garnered interest with dispensaries.


Yet some are unhappy with his methods.


“People make stuff just for my event and enter it,” says Morrison, describing how dispensaries enter the competition with top-of-the-line cannabis strains unavailable to the public for the sole purpose of winning the competition.


For this reason, Morrison and Neri started a secret shopper program. The Errl Cup teams up with volunteer MMJ patents to shop for on-the-shelf cannabis to include in the competition. This has ruffled a few feathers in the dispensary community.


“They don’t like us,” says Morrison, describing the pushback he gets when some dispensaries find out they were entered into a cannabis quality competition without their knowledge. “I go as a consumer because I want to test what they have on the market,” he adds, explaining that dispensaries would have nothing to worry about if they simply sold what they said they were selling.


“We blindly accept the samples and run the tests without knowing much about them,” explains George Griffeth, owner of Level One Labs, a Scottsdale-based and family-owned analytical cannabis testing laboratory. His team at Level One tests on a variety of categories including potency, flavor profiles, and any dangerous substances such as fungicides, pesticides, mold, and other hazardous solvents above acceptable thresholds.


“We’ve been doing Errl Cup testing for the last several years and it's an honor to do it,” affirms Griffeth, who shares Morrison's commitment to safety testing.


While not all contestants in the Errl Cup competition enter through the secret shopper program, Morrison finds it a sure-fire way to promote consumer safety and expose dispensaries that are using harmful substances.


Because Arizona has no regulation on cannabis testing, the Errl Cup draws from requirements in Colorado and California to test their cannabis. “If this were regular pharmaceuticals, people would be in an uproar,” Morrison said in a past interview with Phoenix New Times. “Because it’s marijuana, there’s an attitude from some that testing isn’t important. This is a medication that saves people's lives. People need to change the way they look at it.”


“We love being involved with the festival,” says Ryan Thomas, marketing director at Aeriz, a national aeroponic cannabis cultivator in Phoenix. Aeriz earned first-place awards for Indica and Hybrid concentrates and sauce, second place for Sativa concentrate and non-solvent, and third place for flower hybrid.


“It was a huge success to take home the amount of awards that we did,” says Thomas, who credits the Errl Cup for providing a platform to promote their sustainable products. Aeriz employs an aeroponic grow process that uses a recyclable grow medium rather than soil that is suspended and misted with precise amounts of nutrients and water. Aeroponics have been shown to produce larger yields, healthier plants, and also to reduce soil and nutrient waste.


Morrison is looking forward to the Errl Camp event in the fall that invites the same like-minded cannabis community to a weekend retreat in Camp Verde. “The cup is more of the shaking hands and kissing babies,” says Morrison. “The camp is more of the doing the marshmallows and getting to know the community.”


Errl Camp will be held September 23-25, and is located on a sprawling 72-acre plot called Jackpot Ranch. The same rules apply: All admission is free. The Errl Cup Awards went to:


Flower Indica

1st place: Genesis Bioceuticals - Blueberry

2nd place: Mohave Cannabis Co. - Biscotti x Kush Mints

3rd place: TruMed - Project 4516


Flower Hybrid

1st place: Genesis Bioceuticals - Apple Fritter

2nd place: Sublime - MAC V2

3rd place: Aeriz - Berriez


Flower Sativa

1st place: Halo Cannabis - Orange Eruption

2nd place: Item 9 Labs - Gingerbread Man

3rd place: Genesis Bioceuticals - Lemon MAC 3


Flower CBD

1st place: TruMed - Canatonic

2nd place: TRU Infusion - Purple Lifter

3rd place: non-introduced


Concentrate Indica

1st place: Aeriz - Ice Cream Cake

2nd place: Lit SOM - Grape Blackberry Skittlez Shatter

3rd place: Oasis - AK - 06 LR Sauce


Concentrate Hybrid

1st place: Aeriz - Gorilla Cookies

2nd place: Hi-Klas - White Fire OG

3rd place: Glorious Extracts - MSG Live Resin


Concentrate Sativa

1st place: Hi-Klas - Lemon Lime

2nd place: Aeriz - Jenny Kush

3rd place: Lit SOM - Blue Dream LR Sugar


Concentrate CBD

1st place: DRIP - Hoe Down 1:1 Batter

2nd place: non-introduced

3rd place: non-introduced


Vape Pen Indica

1st place: Item 9 Labs - Bluenana POD

2nd place: DRIP - King Louis LR

3rd place: Bud Bros - Blackberry Kush


Vape Pen Hybrid

1st place: WTF Extracts - WTF LR Sauce Cart

2nd place: Bud Bros - White Widow

3rd place: DRIP - Gelato 41 "Bacio" LR


Vape Pen Sativa

1st place: Item 9 Labs - GG4 POD

2nd place: Bud Bros - Blue Dream

3rd place: DRIP - Frittlez LR


Vape Pen CBD

1st place: DRIP - 1:1 BBK

2nd place: non-introduced

3rd place: non-introduced


Topical

1st place: The Happy Hippie - The Happy Hippie Miracle Cream

2nd place: DRIP - DRIP 1:1 CBD / CBG Salve

3rd place: Oasis - Nordic Goddess 250 mg Topical


Tincture THC

1st place: DRIP - Drips Drops High THC Vanilla Tincture

2nd place: Halo Infusions - Chronic Health 1:0 Pain Re-Leaf Tincture

3rd place: non-introduced


Tincture CBD

1st place: DRIP - Drips Drops High CBD Vanilla Tincture

2nd place: Halo Infusions - Chronic Health 1:1 Pain Re-Leaf Tincture

3rd place: non-introduced


Handcrafted Products

1st place: DRIP - Gary Payton Diamond Caviar

2nd place: Mohave Cannabis Co. - Valley OG Snowcone

3rd place: Zenleaf - Swift Lifts Gelato


Derivative

1st place: DRIP - High THC RSO

2nd place: TRU Infusion - Anti-Inflammatory Caps 900 mg

3rd place: Item 9 Labs - RSO


Edible Savory

1st place: Angry Errl / Mint - Hot Buffalo Sauce

2nd place: Halo Infusions - Cannabliss 420 Green Pepper Sauce

3rd place: Sublime - Spicy Southwest Pretzels


Edible Sweet

1st place: Halo Infusions - Canna Confections White Chocolate

2nd place: Angry Errl / Mint - Angry Errl Gummies

3rd place: Sublime - RSO Gummy Blueberry Lemon


Beverage

1st place: Halo Infusions - Cannabliss THC Syrup

2nd place: Reefer Gladness - Lemonade

3rd place: Vital - Lemonade


Distillate

1st place: DRIP - FPOG

2nd place: Lit SOM - Distillate

3rd place: non-introduced


Sauce

1st place: Aeriz - Mac 1

2nd place: DRIP - Lemon Tree x Schedule 1 LR

3rd place: Mohave Cannabis Co. - Super Glue


Non-Solvent

1st place: Farm Fresh - OG 18

2nd place: Aeriz - Sundae Driver Live Hash Rosin

3rd place: Abundant Organics - Tie Dye


Isolate

1st place: Lit SOM - Blanco Isolate

2nd place: DRIP - Han-Solo

3rd place: non-introduced


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