Company: The Grow-Off
You might say Samantha Taylor came to Colorado for the skiing but stayed for the cannabis.
Originally from Pennsylvania, she moved to Boulder to ski during college and was working as an intern when a co-worker brought up the idea of starting a seed company. Together they founded Centennial Seeds, where Taylor had an opportunity to network in the industry, meeting growers and retailers.
“I don’t really know anything outside of cannabis,” she says. “My whole business world started right out of college. I co-founded a seed company and never looked back or outside of the industry.”
Ten years later, Taylor is the CEO of the Grow-Off, an “apples-to-apples” cultivation competition where growers start with the same genetics and the winner is determined by lab reports instead of the whims of judges. This year, the contest, which began in 2016, expands to seven states, becoming what she says is the “world’s largest cannabis competition.”
As the industry has spread out from Colorado, the connections Taylor made in the past 10 years have helped establish Grow-Off competitions in other states, either as providers of the event’s secret genetics or on the lab testing side.
Taylor says she is excited not only about the growth of the competition, but by the way it creates a community for growers, which can be an isolating job, and she looks forward to someday taking it national.
“I never expected to see myself as the owner of a huge cannabis competition that’s spanning multiple states,” she says. “That’s kind of mind-blowing to me.”