The Future of Cannabis Competitions Has Arrived

By Marie Veksler | April 20, 2016

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.”

the grow off cannabis competition

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

Marie Veksler

With more than 15 years of cannabis education and experience, Marie is dedicated to sharing knowledge about the versatile plant while expanding the stoner stereotype. Email tips to

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