Ricardo Baca is a prolific veteran journalist and thought of the primary fashionable weed information editor (exterior of the previous High Times college). He was an editor at The Denver Post the place he ran The Cannabist for over three years. Baca’s place “at ground zero of the green rush” was the topic of the 2015 documentary Rolling Papers. Today, he is the CEO and founding father of Grasslands, a hashish PR firm devoted to championing journalism whereas serving to hashish manufacturers inform their tales.
In the attention of the media storm
For Baca, it has been nothing in need of a “tremendous honor” to witness the historic trajectory of hashish over the past decade so intimately.
The breaking level got here in 2014, Baca instructed Weedmaps, when the unstated battle nonetheless raged between hashish advocacy media and the mainstream protection that also parroted outdated narratives from the federal authorities and the battle on medicine. “That’s when we saw this tipping point where the work of a lot of our predecessors, people like David Downs and Ed Rosenthal, writers and journalists who had previously done legitimate cannabis journalism from a modern educated perspective, then being able to build upon what they did.”
When Baca got here on to the scene in 2013, the understanding was clear that the advocacy media that had stored hashish protection afloat as much as that time would not lower it because the authorized hashish beat turned a actuality. “To be able to create real journalism and continue in that vein from those who came before me, and to take it to the next level with the help of a very large community, and to really change how the media covers cannabis, that has been the most tremendous honor to witness that expansion.”
Though Baca admits that his position shifting from advocacy media to mainstream hashish journalism wasn’t one thing he considered within the second, no less than, not initially.
“We didn’t know what we were doing at the time, we were just trained journalists covering this new beat that was newly legal, and we didn’t recognize the weight of that.”
Baca continued, “Then of course, years later, especially after leaving newspapers, I recognized that what my colleagues and I did was really monolithic. David Downs and other people were out there creating legitimate journalism that held the powerful accountable, both the brands and the regulators, both sides of the equation, the prohibitionists and the advocates for legalization. But what we did was we just brought it to a different level, and got so much attention for bringing traditional journalism to an industry that desperately needed it.”
Honoring weed journalism
Having performed a significant position in altering the nationwide dialog on hashish, in addition to altering the way in which media reviews on hashish basically, Baca strives to honor his journalism roots by ensuring Grasslands follows go well with. Grasslands is a hashish advertising and marketing and PR company with a number of tech, healthcare, and authorities shoppers as effectively.
As Grasslands helps hashish manufacturers construct compelling and significant tales via press launches and efficient media placements, the corporate additionally takes care to doc the intricacies of what they’re studying in hashish advertising and marketing every day. For Baca, it has been a thrill journey to transition to his new position whereas nonetheless working within the hashish area.
“We call ourselves a ‘journalism-minded agency,’ and we do everything we can to help out our partners in the media because we recognize the immense stress that they are under right now with layoffs and furloughs and reduced staffing and so much more.”
Before signing on a consumer to Grasslands, Baca mentioned the corporate makes certain they align with their “client criteria,” which incorporates “recognizing the important contributions to our societies by journalists.”
“I think that’s immensely important if you’re working with us,” Baca added, “because we recognize that we don’t have a job without the journalists we work with.”
Grasslands goes to nice lengths to verify journalism stays a necessary pillar of their operation. The Grasslands weblog options journalist Q&As the place the corporate highlights particular person journalists to offer manufacturers and others the chance to know them and their work.
“We are super passionate about making sure that the public at large recognizes how journalism contributes to the very fabric of our democracy,” mentioned Baca, “and we would not work with a brand that does not recognize that.”
An optimistic future for hashish
At this level in his profession, Baca sees a vibrant future for hashish legalization, acceptance, and evolution as a medication.
“We know that we have an overwhelming percentage of Americans who support legal cannabis,” Baca mentioned, “and I would argue that we haven’t even seen anything yet. Even though this change has been monolithic, in the next decade, we will see a shift that will blow this most recent shift away in terms of acceptance.”
Baca elaborated, “As the stigma decreases and as minds open, more and more people will be opened up to the wellness potential of cannabinoids and terpenes. When you think about the amount of adult Americans who suffer from pain, anxiety, and inflammation, we’re talking about a very decided majority.” When this majority feels extra comfy going to hashish as a substitute of over-the-counter and prescription painkillers, Baca argued, “this will improve our global wellness on a historic level that I think most people in the industry aren’t even thinking about right now.”
Six products Ricardo Baca can’t live without
Baca first tried weed in his teenagers, however the expertise wasn’t what he considers his correct introduction to the facility of the plant. “I’ve never smoked anything successfully, and early unregulated edibles from my friend’s kitchen were not an ideal introduction.”
Baca’s revelatory hashish expertise got here in 2013 within the type of a 10 milligram piece of chocolate. “I cut it up in four pieces to see what 2.5 milligrams of active THC would look and feel like, and holy shit!” Baca mentioned. “Instantly, I woke up the next day and told my wife, ‘This is my new preferred substance. I so prefer the experience we had last night to alcohol any day of the week.’ I’ve been a convert ever since.”
Here are six weed products Ricardo Baca can’t live without.
The Puffco Peak
“Obviously this is game changing technology,” Baca mentioned of the Puffco Peak vaporizer. “What [Puffco CEO Roger Volodarsky] and his team have done, they met the market where they were. To normalize the dab blowtorch in an innovative, tech-savvy and aesthetics-conscious way, that was genius.”
Davinci IQ2 Vaporizer
Davinci is a Grasslands consumer, and Baca is proud to rep the model’s new and improved dry flower vape.
“The Davinci IQ2 is certainly the best flower vaporizer on the market. With most of their competitors, there are significant airflow issues. That’s what they directly addressed in this new iteration of the IQ. That airflow is on point, and I also appreciate their advancements toward dosage control. We definitely need to see more dose control in the vaporizer space.”
Veritas Sour Diesel
“It’s kind of a cliche, but I’ve always been a Sour D guy,” mentioned Baca, “and Veritas makes an incredible Sour D. The nose on this [flower] is insane. I Like the elevating strains, the uppers.”
Grasslands Trio of Trays
Grasslands has designed a pleasant trio of rolling trays now on sale at their merch store. “My IQ2 is on one with flower remnants, my keys are on the other one, they’ve just become a really handy tool for the house and the office.”
A Marijuana Moment Subscription
“I’m so appreciative of all of the journalists covering the lifestyle side, the business side, and the policy side,” Baca mentioned, “but I think we really need that policy side of reporting, especially people who are looking at what’s happening federally, as well as different states and provinces. Tom Angell and his team do great work, and we’ve been proud supporters for years at different levels.”
Sugar High Milk Chocolate-Covered Caramels with Sea Salt
“We have been demanding edibles to taste better,” Baca commented, “and I think the market is finally starting to catch up with that consumer demand. These caramels are un-frickin’-believable.”
Interview by Nic Juarez. Written by Andy Andersen. Featured picture courtesy of Grasslands. Graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps