This past weekend the Transbay Challenge IV took place in Downtown LA, marking the first time that the Bay area event was held in SoCal.
Transbay is the work of famed California pot journalist Jimi Devine, who has covered the industry for more than a decade with a special focus on top strains and top growers throughout the state.
Originally a Bay area competition, Devine says that Transbay first took place in 2019, just before the pandemic, and was an immediate success. The approach Devine took to the contest makes it stand apart from other cannabis competitions in the state.
“I wanted it to be different from all the other contests,” Devine said. “I judge for High Times, I judge for Emerald Cup, and I didn’t want to be stepping on anyone’s toes. So, I was like, what is this forum that I come up with where we can have sone fun, we’ll have a good time, it will be different, that’s why I kind of came up with this one-day thing,” Devine said.
The idea from the start, Devine said, was to gather a friendly group of professional judges, including many weed journalists from top publications, to judge flower and hash based on an epic one-day sesh of the entries.
After its initial debut, “the world shut down,” Devine says, and it wasn’t until August of 2021 that the second Transbay took place. February 2022 was the third, and this past weekend’s was the fourth Transbay Competition.
The fact that the event takes place all in one day means that only a small number can enter. This year, however, the size of the event and the entries doubled, according to Devine. There were around 20 entries for flower and around 15 entries for hash.
As for what the judges look for, Devine says it’s “quality, whatever checks those boxes for the judges. The look, smell, flavor, impact, all that jazz.” Ultimately, it’s the expertise of the judges that makes the determination.
“I bring in a bunch of killers whose opinions I have a lot of faith in and I get their take on what’s on the table,” Devine says, describing the judges as “a bunch of people that know what they’re doing and really love fine cannabis.”
The event is a “snapshot in time,” Devine says.
“Transbay is trying to do this condensed model. You just show up. Either you’ve got the magic or you don’t. Celebrate with your friends who are also trying their best,” Devine says of the scene at the event.
“Nobody loses. We’ve got a bunch of killers, it’s all fire either way, it’s just that some of the cannabis get celebrated a little harder on the day, you know?” Devine said.
Devine says that the event celebrates those who have made it this far in a tough industry and long-disparaged culture.
“We’re trying to create as much value for as many cool people as possible with as much heat as possible and celebrate the survivors, because that’s what they are,” Devine said. “Anyone who’s taking part, has gone through so much in these recent years to get here. So, anything we can do to celebrate the effort that they’ve put in to get to this point is just a great thing.”
The event has grown in size and status among the community. It’s also the first time the event has had a strong LA presence in the entries.
“The reception has been so crazy,” Devine said. “I kind of blame myself for not getting a bigger venue. But even then, this is the biggest thing we’ve ever done by a lot, so this one was already doubling in size from the last time,” Devine said. “It was just crazy, the support of people, just seeing tickets sold out, people offering stupid money just to come party with us,” he said of the LA event.
Transbay IV was co-produced with Chronic Culture, founded by Neil Delacava, who started the event company just this year.
“Once [Neil] was in the mix, I knew that was the guy that would be helping me on this stuff,” Devine said. “This is our third event we’ve done together, just us. We’re having a blast. And it was really the results. Everything’s better.”
Ultimately, Devine hopes that the event helps to education consumers about the best weed in California.
“There’s no education like hype and enthusiasm. That sticks with people,” Devine said.
“So just to get people in that situation where they can see what’s really bringing people joy, and then they can bring that joy out in the world with them,” he said.
Transbay IV Participating Sponsors
BTY Better Than Yours, CAM – California Artisanal Medicine, Capulator, CBCB, Cltvtd, Dee Thai Gummy, Deep East, Delta Boyz, Doja Exclusive, Ember Valley, Fidels, Fiore, Good Tree, Greendawg, HAF – Hash and Flowers, Have Hash, Holy Water, LA Family Farms, Life is Not Grape, Loud Trees, Lumpy’s Flowers, MOCA Humboldt Modern Cannabis Humboldt, Money Trees, Rosin Tech Labs, Sense, Space Gem, Sunset Connect, TruLeaf, Turtle Pie Co., Wizard Trees, and Your Highness.
Transbay Challenge IV, August 13, 2022
- Fidels – First Place Flower for KMZ
- LA Family Farms – First Place Hash for Rainbow Beltz