Earlier this month I posted an article about the upcoming Cultivation Classic cannabis competition that is taking place in Oregon. The competition is currently in its fourth year and was born out of a conversation between Oregon legends Jeremy Plumb and Congressman Earl Blumenauer. It’s put on in collaboration with Oregon media outlet Willamette Week.
Anyone who has participated in the competition as a competitor, judge, or event-goer knows that it is the greatest cannabis competition on earth. I am a third generation member of Oregon’s cannabis community, and I am so proud that there is an event of this caliber representing the Oregon cannabis scene.
The Cultivation Classic highlights some of Oregon’s best flower from indoor, greenhouse, and sungrown cultivators. Oregon has long been home to the best cannabis growers on the planet in my opinion, and I will have words with anyone who says otherwise!
However, I will be the first to recognize that such a claim is a subjective one. When I am asked why I think that the Cultivation Classic is the best cannabis competition on the planet beyond the quality of the flower involved, I am quick to offer up three reasons. They can be found below:
1. Cultivation Classic judge’s input is used for meaningful cannabis research
The input from judges in other cannabis competitions is used only to help pick a winner at best or is basically meaningless at worst (in competitions in which the championships are bought ahead of time). The Cultivation Classic differs in a really big way in that the input from the judges is not only used to determine a winner in each category, it’s also used as part of an ongoing research project led by neuroscientist Dr. Adie Rae.
We are asked as judges to really focus on how the cannabis samples make us feel, beyond just ‘it was good’ or ‘it was bad.’ Did the sample make us hungrier? Did the sample make us feel more social or less social? Did the sample give us more or less energy? Those are really important things to know for patients who may need a boost in hunger, such as with patients going through chemo. It’s a really, really big deal.
The Cultivation Classic is the most data-driven cannabis competition of all-time and knowing that the judge’s survey answers and the math from analyzing the strains will be used to help patients well into the future is a truly awesome thing. It sets the Cultivation Classic apart from any other competition that I have ever heard of. It’s one of the many reasons why everyone should agree that the Cultivation Classic is the gold standard of cannabis competitions.
2. Cultivation Classic organizers take extra steps to boost diversity among judges
As I stated in my article earlier this month, a lot of the competitions that I have seen are only designed to generate revenue and hype. They are geared towards making the most money possible from ticket sales and entry fees, and building the most hype for the biggest sponsors. Zero thought is spent on who is included for judging outside of who is willing to pay, and judges’ input is basically moot as pointed out earlier in this article.
The Cultivation Classic is very unique from a judge selection standpoint. On the application to be a judge a question was asked that still warms my heart every time that I think about it. To help ensure that the judging pool is diverse the application asked if applicants were from a background that is underrepresented in the cannabis industry – people of color, LGBTQIA, etc. I think that the inclusion of that question is absolutely fantastic.
I am a heterosexual white Christian male and I will be the first to say that people that do not fit that description should have a spot ahead of me in line. For that matter, if it means that I end up getting bumped as a judge in the name of diversity and inclusion, I am all for it. I guarantee that the Cultivation Classic’s judging pool is more diverse than any other competition’s judging pool and that is rad beyond words.
3. The Cultivation Classic promotes and celebrates earth-friendly cultivation practices
Most of the cannabis competitions that I have ever heard of do not involve a strong vetting process for entries. Typically the only vetting involved is whether or not the entry fee check cleared the bank. What the judges end up consuming is an afterthought at best. The competition organizers don’t care what nutrients were used to cultivate the cannabis, or if any sustainable and organic cultivation practices were used. Steroid buds for everyone!
All of the Cultivation Classic entries are from true Oregon craft cannabis growers that take a regenerative approach to cultivation. At the public education event that is part of the Cultivation Classic organizers will be awarding a farm with a ‘2019 Regenerative Cannabis Farm Award.’ The event will also include an award for ‘commitment to innovative energy practices’ in conjunction with the Resource Innovation Institute (RII). Expect an article about RII soon.
Historically, cultivating cannabis has often involved a lot of inputs and practices that are harmful to consumers and to the environment, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A good grower should not only want to cultivate top-shelf cannabis. They should also want to do it the right way. The Cultivation Classic puts that concept front and center in the competition, and that is something that is worth pointing out over and over again. Kudos to the organizers!