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Oregon State Fair hosts first ever marijuana exhibition

Marijuana plants grow on the grounds of the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica.
Marijuana plants grow on the grounds of the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

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This year the Oregon State Fair will play host to an exhibit featuring prize-winning marijuana plants. The show will be the first of its kind in the nation. Cannabis Business Council chair Don Morse orchestrated the event, which has been years in the making. He says the main reason for the exhibit is to reduce the stigma that currently surrounds marijuana. 

It's not as free flowing as it sounds. For one, smoking marijuana is not allowed at the fair. The crops exhibited are required to be in a vegetative state, which means they will have not yet developed the flowers, or "buds"-- the part of the plant that is smoked for medicinal and recreational use. And all plants will be in a greenhouse closed off to the public, with only visitors age 21 and up allowed admittance by a security officer. What fair-goers will see are the plants judged at the Oregon Cannabis Grower's Fair a few weeks prior. So, if the marijuana can't be consumed, what's the point? 

"We're trying to de-stigmatize marijuana," Morse told Take Two. "In Oregon it's classified as a farm crop. We want to tell people, 'Don't be afraid if your neighbor is growing.' People need to be educated about this."

Ed Rosenthal, self-proclaimed "Guru of ganja" will be a judge in attendance at the competition. Author of the Marijuana Grower's Handbook, Rosenthal knows that, marijuana may be casually referred to as herb, but there's a lot more that goes into it than growing an herb garden.  Pests, the color of the plant, genetics, and leaf spacing all factor into judging a quality grow. 

California and Nevada have legalization bills for recreational use on the ballots this fall. They are two of eight states that have similar bills up for a vote. With legalization of marijuana for recreational use on the rise nationwide, perhaps next year the Oregon State Fair will feature the fruits of the labor of these fine farm crops. 

Press the blue play button above to hear the interview.