Your ultimate guide to the Errl Cup 2023 Cannabis Festival
Cannabis connoisseurs of the Valley, rejoice.
Thanks to the Errl Cup, you don’t have to wait until 4/20 to publicly celebrate your love of the leaf.
The biannual two-day event, which launched in 2014, is a cannabis festival and award ceremony that’s “focused on consumer appreciation and dispensary accountability,” according to organizers. It’s also a massive celebration attended by tens of thousands of locals.
Dozens of Arizona dispensaries compete for awards in 36 different categories highlighting the best cannabis products — including flower, concentrates, oils, and CBD — which are judged by local smokers and evaluated for quality by labs.
In addition to the awards, the Errl Cup — which gets its name from the slang term for cannabis oil — also features appearances by dispensaries, several dozen vendors selling a variety of marijuana-inspired products, local food trucks, live music, joint-rolling contests, and smoking competitions like Bong Wars and Vape Wars.
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Oh yeah, attendees can also score free samples of cannabis at the event from dispensaries. Talk about an offer you can’t refuse.
Errl Cup co-founder Jay Neri tells Phoenix New Times the event is unlike any other offered in the Valley.
“Nobody else offers a free event where you can go in and possibly go home with ounces of product,” he says. “It's a game-changer for some people. They can't afford cannabis, so they come here and what they get here can sustain them and the event educates them where to spend their money.”
The Errl Cup started nine years ago after co-founder Jim Morrison attempted to find a suitable medical marijuana strain for a family member afflicted with multiple sclerosis, but encountered low-quality products with adverse effects. He teamed with Neri to create something aimed at holding Arizona dispensaries accountable and helping cannabis users make informed buying choices. The pair began using their own money to buy cannabis products from local dispensaries and have them tested by a laboratory.
“And then we came out with the results and we threw our first event to basically put on the map what real quality cannabis was in Arizona and where you could find it,” Neri says.
The Errl Cup’s popularity has blossomed over the years, as have its attendance numbers. Neri estimates approximately 25,000 people attended each Errl Cup event in 2022. It's since expanded to multiple events — including the annual Errl Camp, which is set for September in Camp Verde — with thousands of local cannabis consumers applying to judge products for the awards. Neri says their opinions definitely matter.
“Nobody cares what we think [about cannabis], so what we like to do is to pick people in the community who actually buy the products to be judges. They’re the ones who are using it on a regular basis,” Neri says. “What matters is who's going to go to the shelf and put up their hard-earned dollars and buy your product. Their opinions matter the most.”
Errl Cup organizers also continue to have the quality and safety of each cannabis product assessed by labs with the results factoring into determining award winners. Neri says cannabis testing is an important issue, echoing calls by politicians and government officials over the matter in recent years.
So who are The Errl Cup’s latest winners? That will be revealed during the event this weekend in Mesa. What follows is a complete guide containing everything you’ll need to know before attending.