DENVER — As cannabis law reform proliferates in North America, there is an increasing thirst for knowledge and insight about where the marijuana industry is headed and what’s in store for emerging medical and adult-use markets in Canada, California, New England, the Midwest and elsewhere.
Ricardo Baca, the 20-year veteran journalist and entrepreneur who founded Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency, will be a featured speaker and moderator at a number of thought leadership events and conferences in the coming months, including TEDxMileHigh (April 18 in Denver); National Cannabis Policy Summit (April 20 in Washington, D.C.); O’Cannabiz Conference and Expo (June 8-9 in Toronto); and New West Summit (Oct. 11-13 in Oakland, California).
“I’ve been lucky enough to witness the emergence of the legal cannabis business and the evolution of legalization itself—incredible successes and embarrassing stumbles, both in the industry and with regulation,” Mr. Baca said. “Having the opportunity to take part in dialogues with leading entrepreneurs, top policy pros and influencers in the space is inspiring and always educational.
“We are truly growing and learning together.”
Here’s a closer look at the upcoming events featuring Baca and others:
TEDxMileHigh: Colorado’s Cannabis Conversation: April 18 at Galvanize on Platte, Denver
TEDxMileHigh’s latest conversation seeks to better understand the intricacies of cannabis, from commercialization and medical use to pop culture and politics. Mr. Baca will serve as moderator for the discussion, which features Ben Cort, a substance-abuse prevention advocate; Dr. Doris Gundersen, who is board certified in both general adult and forensic psychiatry; Wanda James, CEO of Simply Pure Dispensary; and Christian Sederberg, Esq., partner and founding member of Vicente Sederberg LLC.
National Cannabis Policy Summit: April 20 at The Newseum, Washington D.C.
The National Cannabis Festival presents the inaugural National Cannabis Policy Summit, which brings together a diverse group of activists and leaders from government, business, healthcare, veterans groups and civil rights organizations to discuss today’s most pressing cannabis policy challenges and opportunities. Mr. Baca will moderate the panel “All the Buzz: How Does Media Portrayal Impact the Future of Cannabis?” Speakers include Dr. Imani Cheers, assistant professor for George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs; Adam Eidinger, director of social action for Dr. Bronner’s Magical Soap and founder of the successful 2014 initiative to legalize adult-use cannabis in D.C.; Steve Fox, director of VS Strategies and an author of Colorado’s successful adult-use initiative Amendment 64; Shanita Penny, publisher of Sensi magazine D.C.; and Jane West, CEO of Jane West and founder of Women Grow.
O’Cannabiz Conference and Expo: June 8-9 at The International Centre, Toronto
O’Cannabiz will explore the latest regulations, industry standards and best practices for medicinal and adult-use cannabis in Canada, a country at the vanguard of change in legislation and outlook. Mr. Baca will moderate a roundtable-style panel on June 8, “The Future of Recreational Cannabis in Canada and Beyond: An Inside Look with Executives from the Largest Brands in Cannabis.” The discussion centers on a new joint venture, Agripharm, and taking business growth to the next level, with Jeremy Heidl, co-founder and president of OrganaBrands, the largest cannabis business in the U.S.; Peter Miller, CEO of Slang Worldwide; and Mark Zekulin, president of Tweed.
New West Summit: Oct. 11-13 at Marriott City Center in Oakland, California
Mr. Baca will be the host and emcee for the New West Summit, a conference focused exclusively on the game-changing, disruptive developments in technology, science, media and investment within the cannabis space. New West Summit will feature 100 exhibitors, 50 panels, 150 speakers, an Investment Symposium, a career fair, a Hack-A-Thon and more.
After serving more than two decades as a staff writer, editor and critic at daily newspapers, Mr. Baca’s editors at The Denver Post named him the paper’s first-ever Cannabis Editor in 2013. Now he is considered to be the world’s first (and “most prestigious,” according to Vice) marijuana editor; founder of award-winning news vertical The Cannabist; primary subject of Rolling Papers, a documentary released theatrically in February 2016; one of Brookings Institution’s 12 Key People to Watch in Marijuana Policy; one of Fortune magazine’s 7 Most Powerful People in America’s Marijuana Industry; one of Time magazine’s 140 best Twitter feeds ; one of Sensi magazine’s 24 Cannabis Pioneers Who Matter.