The Grow Off: A New Kind of Cannabis Competition

The Grow Off: A New Kind of Cannabis Competition

The best grower in Colorado will be crowned next February. Is your favorite dispensary competing?

The Grow-Off, a science based cannabis growing competition kicks off August 10th with a “Meet your competitor happy hour”. Guests include lead sponsors Precision Cultivation, Grownetics and Cultivate Colorado as well as master growers from around the state – even as far as Antonito, CO.

This private event held at Battery 621 is hosted by Batch:64 soil and WasteFarmers, two companies that utilize the downtown coworking space. Held from 7-10pm on the rooftop with complementary food and drinks for licensed retail cultivators that will compete to grow the best pot in categories of Potency, Flavor and Yield.

To learn more visit TheGrowOff.com or email [email protected] for your invite to this exclusive event.

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The Future of Cannabis Competitions Has Arrived

The Future of Cannabis Competitions Has Arrived

Just as legalization is spurring the rapid evolution of the cannabis industry, it has inspired a new cultivation competition that some say has the potential to replace the High Times Cannabis Cup in Colorado.

Cannabis Critics for The Denver Post’s The Cannabist, Jake Browne and Sohum Shah, teamed up with Dark Horse Genetics, Cultivate Colorado and the famed Steep Hill analytical laboratory (now operated by Pazoo, Inc. OTC: PZOOD) to disrupt the future of marijuana growing competitions with The Grow-Off.

How is The Grow-Off different from the established contests we know so well? First of all, they’ve leveled the playing field by requiring that all participants start with the same genetics. The Grow-Off will supply entrants with clones that have all been cut from the same mother plant. Variances in growing methods will produce significant differences in the final products.

“I think it’s going to create some interesting data points. There’s a lot to be learned from this by taking all of the subjectivity out of it,”

said Jake Browne to Whaxy.

At the end of the cultivation cycle, each entry will be judged and a winner will be selected for three different categories — Yield, Potency (cannabinoids), and Flavor (terpenes). The cannabinoid and terpene profiles will be determined through lab testing by Steep Hill.

“Our goal is to shift the emphasis from qualitative judgement to quantitative analysis of phenotypical variance,”

added Sohum Shah, “By grading cannabis based on comprehensive laboratory analysis, we hope to improve end-consumer understanding of true product quality.”

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Another exciting twist in The Grow-Off disrupt comes from Dark Horse Genetics, the seed-breeders you can thank for incredible strains like Bruce Banner. According to COO Mitch Shenassa, the never-before-released clones that contestants will start with are exclusive to The Grow-Off.

“We’ve spent two years developing this strain, and its first release outside our hands will be in this competition,”

Mitch Shenassa said. “We’re proud, honored, and excited to see the results with hard numbers attached.”

Also unique to The Grow-Off, this competition is only open to licensed Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facilities in Colorado that are “fully compliant with state laws and regulations.” Because of this rule, the entire competition will be executed entirely in compliance with state law. Already having twenty licensed facilities on the bill, the inaugural Grow-Off is poised to be a big hit among cannabis professionals.

Winners will be announced during the event’s closing party, and those awarded the first place prize for each of the three categories (yield, potency, flavor) will receive a cash prize. A portion of the proceeds will also be donated to Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

Are you a licensed retail cultivator in Colorado? You can pre-register for The Grow Off starting April 20. For more information about The inaugural Grow-Off and to register, please visit thegrowoff.com.

Inside the Cannabis Industry’s Luxury Business Conference

Inside the Cannabis Industry’s Luxury Business Conference

The premier boutique cannabis symposium, Cannabis Grand Cru, returned to Seattle in March for the first of multiple 2016 events. The Cru took over three venues around the city including the Fremont Foundry for Saturday’s main event.

The event opened with a Friday-night screening of “Evergreen: The Road to Legalization” at Central Cinemas, sponsored by local extraction company, Evergreen Extracts. The documentary chronicled the industry-driven controversy surrounding Washington’s 2012 legalization initiative, I-502. After the movie, the select group of attendees were given the opportunity to ask questions of the film’s director, writer, and producers.

More than 400 cannabis enthusiasts and curious onlookers joined nearly 50 speakers for a day jam-packed with education, networking, and fun. Having spoken at every Cannabis Grand Cru including the Inaugural Aspen event in November 2014, I am impressed with the constant improvements being made to the series — especially given the high caliber of the first one.

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In an industry that is flush with expos and conferences, it’s often hard for us to decide which to attend. The Cannabis Grand Cru’s high speaker-to-attendee ratio, once again, provided an intimate atmosphere for networking and interaction.

Session topics varied from products and branding to legislation and advocacy, to our staple Cannabis Technology panel.

AC Braddock agreed that the event provided “much higher quality networking as the event is smaller and more intimate.” Braddock, who is the CEO of extraction-tech company Eden Labs, spoke at her second Grand Cru on “The Future of Extraction Technology” panel.

While networking is an integral part of any industry get-together, CGC also focuses on education. Ettalew’s Edibles CEO, Alison Draisin, said her favorite part of the event was “educating new people about the power of the plant.” Draisin was also speaking at her second Grand Cru, and was part of the “Cannabis Infused Journey Through Culinary Pairings”, a live cooking demo where they discussed terpene-pairings of cannabis and food, as well as antidotes for when you’re too high.

best cannabis industry conference

The final sessions of the day featured the “Four Horsemen of Washington’s 502 Legislation” on a panel about the state’s legal landscape on the main stage. Alex Cooley of Solstice Grown was joined by Aaron Pelley, Josh Berman, and Brian Caldwell to discuss current concerns surrounding the transition from medical to recreational cannabis and the future outlook on legislation in Washington.

Up in the penthouse, I was joined by my close friends and colleagues in our CGC-regular discussion about “Cannabis Technology, Data, and Analytics.” Cy Scott, Marie Veksler, Stewart Fortier, John Kagia, and myself convened to emphasize the importance that technology and data play in the legitimization and progression of the cannabis industry.

Once the day’s programming ended at 7:10pm (aka dab o’clock), the speakers and select attendees headed to the closing afterparty at Georgetown’s Brass Tacks which was sponsored by Calyx King, Whaxy and Pelley Law Group. The party allowed me to catch up with Grand Cru regulars like Addison DeMoura, John Hunt, and Sheriff Joe Disalvo of Pitkin County, as well as some new faces. We enjoyed the night over delicious food, beverages, and smoke.

The next day we all packed up and returned to our respective home cities. I know I am not alone when I say that I cannot wait until the next Cannabis Grand Cru.

Alison Draisin agreed, “This is a great group and I excited to work with them in the future!”

Sohum Shah

To The Parents Who Spy On Aurora Pot Stores

To The Parents Who Spy On Aurora Pot Stores

Denver, CO- On Monday, October 13, 2014, Aurora opened its first retail cannabis store, having banned medical dispensaries and retail stores until now. In response to The Cannabist’s coverage of the milestone, a particular Aurora resident (known online as the3Ds) suggested that the appropriate response is to publicly shame other parents who shop at the new store.

As a graduate of Cherry Creek High School and a former student at four other Cherry Creek Schools—all of which are in this particular part of Aurora. It offends me to think that another person would consider seeing my parents entering a liquor store as an indication of alcoholism.

This parent resorts to the “coming to the wealthy suburbs with good schools and low crime” argument, which is typical of opponents to cannabis legalization. What this person fails to consider, however, is that he or she is using the reputation of District No. 5 to unfairly judge and harass other human beings.

More importantly, this person mentions that the suburbs have ‘low crime,’ seemingly in an attempt to positively correlate the presence of legal cannabis businesses with an explosion of criminal activity. Quite the contrary, violent crime, highway fatalities, and underage use have all decreased since the implementation of Amendment 64 in January. Additionally, public schools have received an influx of revenue from the taxes collected on retail cannabis sales, a fact that the reasonable person would assume to garner support from a parent who, so fervently, claims to care about the local schools.

Perhaps other parents around the district did not want cannabis shops in their neighborhood, either. So, they contacted their local representatives at the City of Centennial and successfully implemented a moratorium on cannabis businesses. The City of Aurora had in place a similar ban on medical cannabis businesses, as well as a temporary ban on retail stores. Aurora City Council formed an Amendment 64 Ad Hoc (A64), however, which first convened on February 18, 2013 to publicly debate the issue of lifting the moratorium and licensing the city’s first cannabis stores. A64 met 15 times, culminating on March 18, 2014.

While the3Ds uses the feedback from a private subset of 24 parents to puportedly represent the best interests of more than half of the 50,000 CCSD students, the local political process tells a different story. On April 28, 2014, the city’s retail marijuana program was introduced to the Aurora City Council and passed on May 2 with an effective date of June 14, 2014. Where was this person during the A64 meetings? If he or she was active during public debate, his or her failure in maintaining a moratorium in Aurora may allude to the3Ds’ motivation for concocting such an absurd plan.

This parent also claims that any person seen entering a retail cannabis store is a frequent consumer, or a “pot-head”. The danger in jumping to such a conclusion can be seen in his or her reply to another user’s comment. The other user, Ry, responded to the3Ds’s comment by stating, “I should follow you to the liquor store…and shame you for it too I guess….” to which the3Ds responds, “Knock yourself out, loser. My bottle of wine lasts me all month.”. By being forced to clarify that he or she only consumes one bottle of wine per month, the3Ds illuminates his or her own unfounded assumption about a person’s cannabis use. Given that the City of Aurora has approved cannabis sales, publicly shaming patrons of local businesses is no less preposterous than documenting all CCSD parents that enter a liquor store and informing school principals that they are “drunks.”

Furthermore, insinuating that anyone who consumes cannabis is a “pot-head” and unfit to care for a child is extremely offensive. It would be equally ignorant for someone to assume that all stay-at-home parents relax and drink wine all day and should, therefore, be barred from participating in their own child’s education. At one point, our society also believed that all Black American males were “cocaine crazed negroes” and that women were mentally inferior to men, and thus incapable of participating in the political process. These vague and statistically unsubstantiated stereotypes have been prevalent throughout U.S. History, but our collective intellect and reason has worked to dispel such ridiculous notions.

The most potentially damaging assumption drawn by the3Ds, however, is the reason for which the hypothetical parent is purchasing marijuana. The City of Aurora was quick to ban medical cannabis stores from opening. As such, legally registered Aurora medical patients have been forced to drive to a neighboring city, like Denver, to procure their medicine. Before shaming another person, please take the time to consider that person’s situation. He or she may be suffering from a severe medical condition and unable to drive to a medical marijuana center (MMC) elsewhere. Alternatively, he or she may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or another condition that is not listed as a Qualifying Medical Condition with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), but for which cannabis has been accepted as providing relief in other states. Unfortunately for many similar parents around the country, they do not even have the option to choose between a close-by retail store and a farther MMC. Instead they are forced to resort to the black market. The threat of public shame for an Aurora medical patient may drive the individual back to the black market, where neither product nor sales are regulated, tax is evaded, and black market profiteers prosper.

“Spying” on law-abiding citizens, in most circumstances, requires either a law enforcement badge or federal security clearance, in addition to a warrant. It would appear this person realizes the questionable ethics surrounding such a task as he or she has chosen to hide behind a screen name. I find it terribly ironic that this fanatic whose sole objective is to “expose” other people hides behind an anonymous user name. Ultimately, recruiting an angry mob of misguided parents to photograph every customer of any given business amounts to stalking.

So, to Mr. and/or Ms. the3Ds, please stop using your house in a ‘wealthy suburb’ and the reputation of my alma mater and district as an excuse to judge other parents for choosing to engage in an activity that, in the great State of Colorado, is a constitutionally-protected right. If you don’t agree with Amendment 64, might I suggest a move to one of our neighboring states, where you can find a new middle-class suburb and a fresh reason to stalk and judge other parents.

Regardless of what you choose, I implore you to cease this bigoted, fear-mongering commentary.

If you care to step out from behind the computer screen, I invite you to engage in an intelligible public discourse with myself or other members of the cannabis industry.

Sincerely,
Sohum J Shah, COO
Cannabis Commodities Exchange
[email protected]

Photo Credit: diganja.com

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