Scores of marijuana enthusiasts packed into Isla Vista’s Anisq’ Oyo’ Park yesterday afternoon to celebrate the fourth annual NORML Joint-Rolling Competition.
Hosted by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws at UCSB, the contest aimed to promote the decriminalization – and use – of cannabis. High points of the afternoon included musical performances from various local artists, dance competitions and nine different joint- and blunt-rolling competitions, such as the “primo joint” and “fattest fatty.”
NORML club founder and UCSB Alum Loren Vazquez said she was pleased to see the crowd of locals come out in support of her club and its patron plant.
“It was just another great turnout, despite Extravaganza [taking place at the same time],” Vazquez said.
Although this year’s contest was dubbed the “fourth annual,” Vazquez said the competition has its roots deep in I.V. history. In the 1970s, Vazquez said, local joint-rolling contests were a perennial affair, however, they disappeared some time in the ’80s. After learning of the past competitions, Vazquez said she and other NORML members decided to bring the event back.
“We wanted to bring it back because we thought it would be a good way to get people out together to have some fun and at the same time educate the community about marijuana,” she said.
Thirty-five contestants participated in the various competitions, and contest’s judges included 3rd District Supervisor candidate Dr. Dave Bearman and Vazquez. NORML club co-chair and event organizer Stan Cui said that the criteria for judging the final entries was simple, but varied from judge to judge.
“The product has to look functional and smooth,” Cui, a second-year political science major, said. “It’s pretty subjective. They look for good use of the whole paper, so that it’s tight and doesn’t flap around.”
According to Cui, judging also varied from one category to the next. During the freestyle competition, Cui said judges valued originality above all. The prize for that competition went to Brian Tibberend, who submitted a series of joints that spelled out the word “weed.”
Tibberend said it was spontaneity and creativity that brought home the prize.
“I haven’t been practicing, [the idea for his entry] just came to me right then,” Tibberend.
For legal reasons, Cui said that contestants were provided with paper and “fake bud” composed of a mixture of dried leaves.
“It looks and rolls like bud, it just doesn’t have the same smell,” Cui said.
The faux weed was used exclusively throughout the day until it came time for what Cui called the competition’s coup de gras – the medical contest. For this final event – the day’s biggest and most competitive – contestants rolled joints filled with their own medicinal marijuana.
“Because of legal issues, we can’t give them weed,” Cui said. “They have to bring their own, and they’re supposed to have a doctor’s prescription – but we don’t really check.”
With prizes donated by Santa Barbara head shop Original Glass, the stakes were high. An elaborate conch-shaped glass bong was bestowed upon the victor in the medicinal category. Vazquez said that the winning entry was an eight-inch joint that scored a 36.5 out of 40 on the judging scale.
After the judging concluded and the prizes were distributed, contestants were encouraged to dispose of their artfully crafted submissions as they saw fit.
“Oh, they are long gone,” Vasquez said. “People smoked them. I mean, what better way is there to judge a joint, really?”