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4 Plants Cup: Grassroots cannabis cultivation competition announces 2020 changes

The 4 Plants Cup launched in 2019 to provide a platform for Canadian cannabis home growers of all experience levels to show and share their cannabis cultivation skills while connecting with the broader cannabis community.

In 2020, it’s taking a ‘round robin’ approach to sharing and reviewing cannabis to find the top participating growers of homegrown cannabis in Canada. 

Cannabis seed, to sharing

4 Plants Cup had their inaugural run in 2019 where registered participants submitted 28 grams of their best strain for evaluation. In the spirit of learning and educating, all participants are also judges and have a substantial hand in how the competition is executed.

“It’s an exciting place for people of all skill levels to grow at home, learn from the larger community, and experience different kinds of cannabis,” says Dessy Pavlova, industry alum and 4 Plants Cup organizer.

Each submission was blind reviewed by those same growers, as a way to highlight the best in each category,” explains Pavlova. “This seed of an idea blossomed into a 50+ cross-Canada competition, with the winners announced earlier this year.” 

Beginner grower Rosie Parker, who found herself winning third place in ‘pro indoor,’ told StratCann that participating allowed her to learn through experiencing different cannabis. 

“I’m passionate about growing cannabis, and I wanted to see how my efforts measured up. I got to sample the handiwork of some very talented growers, share my own best efforts with them, and get some feedback I knew wasn’t about to be sugar coated.” 

In the spirit of learning and educating, all participants were also judges in 2019, and were encouraged to share their cannabis cultivation experience online under #4PlantsCup. In 2020, participants can have a substantial hand in how the competition is executed and how the submitted cannabis is reviewed – should they choose to participate.

The cannabis judge’s duty 

With great cannabis, comes great responsibility. With such a small team and in the time of COVID, collecting and coordinating cannabis from multiple sources via the mail just isn’t practical. 

“Even last year came with a number of coordination challenges to manage, like appropriate packaging to help maintain quality, delayed shipping times, and confirmed participation,” says Pavlova. “With COVID compounding these issues, we need a round-about solution and we know not everyone will be a fan.” 

As the team noted recently, 4 Plants Cup is taking a fully virtual spin that puts the onus on the cultivator to share their crop with their category competitors. Competitors who choose to stay in the competition considering these new rules will be asked to split and ship their cannabis to specific addresses personally. While it may not be the ideal way of running the competition, in light of the current situation, organizers say this is the next best way to do so to maintain the integrity of both the competition and the cannabis itself. The extra effort will also ensure that those who participate will be those who are really committed to the process, and this is exactly what the 4 Plants Cup was always hoping to shine a light on. 

The glory of the cultivator 

The goal of the 4 Plants Cup is and always will be to celebrate legally homegrown, responsibly cultivated cannabis produced by individuals, explains Pavlova. In 2020, growers can submit their cannabis in one of two main categories – greenhorn, for growers with 5+ years experience truly looking to compete, and greenthumb, for less experienced competitors eager to learn from the community and share tips, tricks, and cannabis, each split into indoor and outdoor, and a category all its own for concentrates. 

Competitors will be asked to prove their home growing setup, and at least one of the suggested addresses will be a 4 Plants Cup internal judge or organizer tasked with providing an objective review. All review criteria is up for debate, and will be finalized in the fall – see last year’s review criteria here, and reach out to organizers to provide feedback as 2020 cannabis review criteria are outlined. 

With medical cannabis patients in mind 

While promoting good growing techniques to improve the overall quality of cannabis for users of all kinds, access to medical cannabis remains the most important issue in our industry today.

“We acknowledge and appreciate that legalization itself, and with it the ability to grow four plants in most provinces, is due to the hard work of medical cannabis advocates. We will continue to fight for medical cannabis access as a community,” explains Pavlova. “One of the main benefits of learning how to grow is that this means that we can produce medicine catered to patients’ needs. The 4 Plants Cup seeks to combine the objectives of cultivating quality cannabis at home and empowering patients and caregivers to produce the cannabis products required in an organic and community-oriented way.” 

The organizers and participants in the 4 Plants Cup will continue to focus on the art and skill of growing quality cannabis, from seed to harvest, in the name of education and community – but for 2020, the onus will be on the growers to decide how they share, review, and collaborate to highlight the best of the crop.