Colorado Cannabis Growers Will Go Head to Head in The Grow Off

There's a new marijuana competition in town that aims to crown the best cultivator in Colorado. "We hope you guys are ready to grow some really fire weed," says Sohum Shah, co-founder of The Grow Off, the self-proclaimed "quantitative quest for the best."

The Grow Off is designed as a cannabis competition for the industry. In its inaugural year, the three founders plan to send a mystery strain of solid genetics (non-hermaphrodite) cannabis to fifty growers around the state. After documenting the growing process over the course of six months, the contest will determine who qualifies as the best marijuana cultivator in Colorado.

This competition plans to set itself apart from all previous cannabis match-ups by determining the true cream of the crop, so to speak, of Colorado cultivators. To do so, it will have a strict judging process. As co-founder Jake Browne joked at the kick-off event at Battery 621 on August 11, "Joe Shmo on vacation won't be making the final call."

The third co-founder, Samantha Sandt, is a founder of Hemp Box as well as a partner with Browne in Uncalled Four, the comedy game show. 

At the kick-off, Call to Arms brewery served an ice-cold, GABF contender with a very tongue-in-cheek name: Khores, the Ballroom Beer. Sponsors of The Grow Off include Precision Cultivation, Dark Horse Genetics, Grownetics, Cultivate and Massroots, and cannabis-industry elite turned out for the event, including Shannon Donnelly of Healthy Honeys yoga, Katie Labrie of Civilized, and editor Ricardo Baca and the entire Cannabist staff. 

Steep Hill Labs will be doing the testing for The Grow Off and grading the final product (in the form of cannabis buds) from each dispensary. Cash prizes will be awarded in the following categories: terpenoid profile, cannabinoid profile and yield. Steep Hill is "at the forefront of cannabis testing methodology in multiple states," Shah told the gathering. 

The twenty contenders who've signed on for the competition so far are a strong bunch of cannabis-growing aficionados.

Those ready to get growing include Mark Troutman of Mayflower Farms, a commercial grow operation that sells wholesale to the likes of Simply Pure, Peak Dispensary, the Giving Tree and more. Josh Monroe of Fat Face Farms, a close-knit commercial grow operation that sells wholesale around town, will compete. Also in the contest is Natural Alternatives, a high-volume cannabis producer and dispensary from Fort Collins. Josh Bowman, master grower of Natural Alternatives, brought a visual sample of the group's work to show off at the event: a wicked, sativa-dominant top-shelf nug of Lemon Skunk.

The competition comes as a breath of fresh, skunky air after the High Times Cannabis Cup couldn't get it together in Colorado this past year. And there is still room on the roster for more licensed growers to enter. But fair warning: You need a commercial grow license to take part, and those are only given to dispensaries and wholesale cannabis retailers, not caregivers or home growers. 

Contact [email protected] for more information or to sign up to compete.