The San Francisco chapter of the medical marijuana lobby Americans for Safe Access threw a successful annual fundraiser / medical cannabis competition last night at Cafe Cocomo. The lobby's key annual event raised funds through the sale of $300 Judges Packs containing an array of flowers, concentrates and edibles from Northern California dispensaries. The eighty Judges Packs sold out in a record five days, Goldman said. Unlike juried Cannabis Cups, medical cannabis patients chose the winners of the Patients' Choice, which were announced Sunday night.

They are:
1st Place: Strawberry Cough, Larry Bollman, The Green Diamond Collective (Humboldt)
2nd Place: Dutch Treat, Kevin Brown, Mission Organics (San Francisco)
3rd Place: Animal Cookies, Fortune Wellness Center (San Jose)

1st Place: Dark Chocolate Caramel, The Green Cross, Incredimeds (San Francisco)
2nd Place: Bhang Bite, Bhang Chocolate (Oakland)
3rd Place: Strawberry Gummies, The Green Cross, Incredimeds (San Francisco)

1st Place: Velvet OG Dabby Taffy, SPARC (San Francisco)
2nd Place: Super Silver Haze Jurassic Amber, Greg Patchick (Sonoma)
3rd Place: Super Silver Haze Jurassic Amber Dust, Greg Patchick (Sonoma)

About two hundred attended the private awards ceremony at Cafe Cocomo in the Dogptach/Mission Bay district last night. Organizers decked out Cafe Cocomo's beer garden with a Green Cross vapor balloon station and an exhibit area. Inside, DJs spun weedy hip-hop while guests from seemingly all walks of life noshed on snacks. Comedian Shanti Charan hosted the Awards, and delivered a pretty funny set.

"The event was fabulous," Goldman said.

In a bit of Caveat Emptor, two of Sunday night's winners failed to pass microbiological screening by CW Analytical.
Strawberry Cough, and Super Silver Haze Jurassic Amber both failed microbiological screening, CW Analytical labs reports. That means the winning strain and second place hash failed to meet cleanliness standards for molds, bacteria and/or fungus in a petri dish test.

Of course, everything on Earth is covered is some amount of mold, bacteria and fungus, said David Egerton chemist with CW Analytical. But food guidelines call for a maximum amount of such microbiologicals or they cannot be sold. CW Analytical uses such food standards when it tests pot, he said.

"We had to use something," he said. "They've served us well for the most part."

Patients should not eat the Strawberry Cough, or Jurassic Amber, or any other product that failed screening, he said. "Anything that says 'fail' on there you should definitely not eat."

"But that's not the typical means of imbibing any of these products," he said.

Most people will smoke them, and there is no existing microbiological standard for how many bugs are healthy to smoke, he said. (Editorial note: Gross.)

Like pasteurization, torching a bowl probably kills any living critters. But even then, patients still risk inhaling spores, and for those with immune-compromised systems, "that can be detrimental," Egerton said.

The fact that four out of the 33 flowers, and three out of seven concentrates in a top-rated weed competition failed microbiological screening is telling, Egerton said.

"It's pretty typical," he said. "It happens all the time."

Strawberry Cough's winner touted his "clean green" methodology, but organic growing itself can lead to higher microbiological counts that non-organic methods, Egerton noted. Robert Martin, head of CW Analytics said Bollman intends to work with the lab.

Unlike a regulated medicine or food industry which has multiple control points monitored for contamination, marijuana is grown is small batches under widely varying conditions.

"It's just one more part of the industry that has yet to really reach a mature level," he said.

— David Downs,