The Northern California Cannabis Cup: Top Two Buds in 2021

Every year since 1988 The High Times Cannabis Cup (HTCC) is held to reward growers with the best bud in the universe, or at least on planet Earth -as far as we know ;). According to the High Times website, the competition “has evolved into a globally recognized championship of the best cannabis products in the world.” Under traditional HTCC rules, marijuana products are judged in a blind competition staffed by industry experts.  Judges’ votes lead to the naming of a top spot, earning the coveted Cannabis Cup trophy. Notable past judges include Tommy Chong, Snoop Dogg, Patti Smith, Wiz Khalifa, Joe Rogan, Damian Marley, Kid Cudi, among other stoner-centric celebs. 

However, in the face of COVID-19, High Times did a little innovating and instead opened the Cannabis Cup judging process to members of the public “via exclusive kit drops in participating retailers.” In other words, they crowdsourced rankings, offering 224 kits per category to consumers in state-wide competitions across the country. And as you might suspect, the wisdom of discerning tokers uncovered some rare gems. Here are the top two magical nugs from the Northern California competition: 

Indica Flower

Juice Z, by Atrium Cultivation, garnered the top Indica bud. Packing a walloping 26.64% THC concentration, Juice Z. is a heavyweight Indica. Atrium’s Juice Z flower features a citrus gas taste with a euphoric and cerebral effect, according to, while iheartjane describes Juice Z as “Gorgeous violet & magenta flowers adorned with dense, potent trichomes” with “flavors [that] compare to the zest of mandarin oranges on pink strawberry starburst.”

The cultivator of Juice Z, Atrium, describes itself as “a luxury cannabis brand located in the Emerald Triangle of Northern California, designed to create an environment focused on procuring and cultivating the finest cannabis flowers.” Atrium looks for  “rare and exotic strain libraries from around the globe”  and “ is partnered with master cultivators from the Humboldt, Mendocino, and Sonoma regions who have over 40 years of combined specialty tradecraft experience.”  

Juice Z, by Atrium Source

Sativa Flower

Super Lemon Haze, by Garcia Hand Picked, won top Sativa strain. With a lineage of Lemon Skunk x Super Silver Haze, Super Lemon Haze has notes of lemony, tart, sweetness that you’d expect with the name of Super Lemon Haze. Super Lemon Haze is no stranger to awards, winning first place at the 2008 and 2009 High Times Cannabis Cups. 

Weedmaps describes this strain as a “refreshing balance of total body relaxation and energizing head high [that] can brighten the sourest of lemons life may deal, leaving you strummin’ along, doin’ your thing in a sunshine daydream.” Like the Hand Picked site says, “Once in a while, you get shown the light—and this time it’s super sweet and hazy!”

Super Lemon Haze, by Garcia Handpicked Source:

Sounds like a heavenly haze to me!

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