Former Cannabis Critic Jake Browne Talks About Judging Pot and His Expanding Endeavor, the Grow-Off

Westword: How did you come up with the Grow-Off concept?

Jake Browne: I think it started with my fiancée and partner, Samantha Taylor, and our mutual love of competitive cooking shows. One night we were stoned and thought, “We should make the Iron Chef of weed.” But I had been judging competitions as the pot critic for the Denver Post and hated everything about the process — mainly, how ridiculously stoned I’d be after smoking what everyone considered their best cannabis. The lightbulb went on when we realized that you could scientifically test for the flavor — or terpenes — in the plant without anyone having to smoke a single bowl. That objective approach was what set us apart from day one. It’s a cannabis competition where no one gets high.

We have two competitions running right now in California: licensed farms in Northern California and home growers down south. Even

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