New York City’s Chem Comp settled the debate on who grows the East Coast’s best rendition of Chemdog this past weekend with Maine’s Skunkfoot Farms taking the top prize.
One of the Northeast’s top offerings of the commercially viable cannabis genome, the best versions of the strain are famed for their fuel notes and the fact Greg “Chemdog” Krzanowski pulled the seeds out a bag he got at a Grateful Dead show’s traveling Shakedown Street parking lot bazaar where you could get everything from grilled cheese sandwiches to acid.
In the nearly 30 years since, few strains have stood the test of time. To this day, notes of fuel in the best Chem are synonymous with some of the best pot on the planet – the only similar notes are in OG Kush. The Chem Comp is a celebration of what these decades of Chemdog have meant in elite cannabis.
Last week before the contest we spoke with its founder, Ben, who is also responsible for launching NYC’s most popular private cannabis social space: Astor Club.
“I just always loved Chem. It’s always been my favorite strain,” Ben said. “I grew up in New York City, so chem has always been around whether it was called chem or diesel.”
The inspiration for the contest came as Ben was browsing Instagram while enjoying some Chemdog a year and a half ago, when he saw another Chemdog.
“I was thinking, ‘Man, I wish I could look at these two Chemdogs at the same time,” Ben said. “And that was just kind of the genesis for the idea.”
The idea itself predated the COVID lockdown but much of the effort would continue.
“It was pretty cool, because in the beginning the plan was, between COVID and it being illegal, to keep it a small growers-only event,” Ben said. “And then, as we came out of COVID and weed became legal in New York City, it just was an awesome opportunity to open up to everybody and not have to worry as much about it. I was really more worried about the COVID stuff than the weed stuff to be honest.”
We asked what made the team comfortable pulling the trigger at this point. Was it vaccinations and the pace of New York’s recovery from the pandemic? Just staying on the right side of the city was a big part of it.
“They had marshals around looking for parties,” Ben said. “They didn’t care about weed, they just didn’t want people gathering so there was more heat on people gathering than anything else. So that just kind of made me nervous.”
But eventually, through all the perils, the laws would only move further in Ben’s favor as legalization passed in New York. From a legal perspective, the contest is essentially a bunch of people checking out each other’s personal use supply.
In a world of big money pot events, Chem Comp will be a barebones heatfest undoubtedly focused on the heat as opposed to who might be headlining a concert in the evening.
“The community… that’s why I’m doing this,” Ben said. “I mean, I’m not making any money on this. I’m probably losing money on this. I didn’t really want to get sponsors. I just want to keep it totally real. We have one sponsor — whose AJ Sour Diesel — he’s sponsoring the food. And so, it’s not for money.”
We also talked with Chemdog, who led the judging himself. Krzanowski was excited with the pack.
“It’s pretty good and I gotta say it’s one of the harder comps I’ve had to deal with in a while,” Krzanowski said. “Danny Danko said it best. He’s judged lots of cannabis cups internationally and in the United States. And this is one of the tougher ones. I totally agree with it man. It’s tough because it’s all Chems that just put you out. I’ve been falling asleep at night wicked early the last week because I’ve been smoking like three or four these different samples each day to get through it.”
When asked if the grouping was the best renditions of his work he’d seen, he admitted, as with every cannabis contest, there are going to be winners and losers when it comes to checking every box.