Ricardo Baca, journalist for 6 weed products, cannot live without it
Ricardo Baca is a prolific journalist and is considered the first modern weed news editor (outside of the old High Times school). He was an editor at the Denver Post, where he directed The Cannabist for over three years. Baca’s “green onslaught” spot was featured in the 2015 documentary Rolling Papers. Today he is CEO and founder of Grasslands, a cannabis PR company dedicated to journalism and helping cannabis brands tell their stories.
In the eye of the media storm
For Baca it was an “enormous honor” to be able to experience the historical development of cannabis in such detail over the past decade.
The breaking point came in 2014, Baca told Weedmaps, when the unspoken battle between the cannabis advocacy media and mainstream media, which still mimicked outdated federal government narratives and the war on drugs, was still raging. “It was then that we saw this turning point where many of our predecessors, people like David Downs and Ed Rosenthal, writers and journalists who had previously practiced legitimate cannabis journalism from a modern, educated perspective, could build on what they could build on . “
When Baca hit the stage in 2013, it was clear that the advocacy media, which had kept cannabis coverage afloat until that point, would not prevent it as the legal cannabis beat became a reality. “To be able to create real journalism and in that sense, move on from those who came before me and take it to the next level with the help of a very large community and the way the media covers cannabis to really change. The greatest honor to witness this expansion. “
Though Baca admits that his role, moving from advocacy media to mainstream cannabis journalism, hadn’t thought of him, at least initially.
“We didn’t know what we were doing then, we were just trained journalists covering this new beat that was newly legal and we didn’t realize the weight of it.”
Baca continued, “Then, years later, especially after leaving the papers, I naturally realized that what my colleagues and I were doing was really monolithic. David Downs and other people were out there creating legitimate journalism that held those in power accountable, both brands and regulators, both sides of the equation, the prohibitionists and the advocates of legalization. But we just took it to another level and got so much exposure to bring traditional journalism into an industry that needed it badly. “
Tribute to weed journalism
Baca has played an important role in changing the national conversation about cannabis, as well as changing the way the media reports on cannabis in general, and is eager to honor his journalistic roots by ensuring that Grasslands follow this example follows. Grasslands is a cannabis marketing and PR agency with a number of clients in the technology, healthcare, and government sectors.
Since Grasslands helps cannabis brands create compelling and meaningful stories through press launches and effective media placements, the company also makes sure to document the intricacies of daily learning in cannabis marketing. It has been an exhilarating ride for Baca to transition to his new role while still in the cannabis room.
“We call ourselves a ‘journalistic thinking agency’ and do everything we can to help our partners in the media because we recognize the immense stress they are currently under with layoffs and vacations, downsizing and much more. ”
Prior to signing a client at Grasslands, Baca said the company was making sure they were aligning with their “client criteria” including “recognizing journalists’ important contributions to our societies”.
“I think this is extremely important when you work with us,” added Baca, “because we realize that without the journalists we work with, we won’t have a job.”
Grasslands goes to great lengths to ensure that journalism remains an essential pillar of their operations. The Grasslands blog features journalist questions and answers where the company highlights individual journalists to give brands and others an opportunity to learn about them and what they do.
“We are very passionate about getting the general public to see how journalism contributes to the structure of our democracy,” said Baca, “and we would not work with a brand that does not recognize it.”
An optimistic future for cannabis
At this point in his career, Baca sees a bright future for the legalization, acceptance and evolution of cannabis as a medicine.
“We know we have an overwhelming percentage of Americans who support legal cannabis,” said Baca, “and I would argue that we haven’t even seen anything. Although this change was monolithic, we will be a shift over the next decade see who will blow away this recent shift in terms of acceptance. “
Baca stated, “As the stigma decreases and the mind opens, more and more people are opened to the wellness potential of cannabinoids and terpenes. When you think of the number of American adults suffering from pain, anxiety, and inflammation, we are talking about a very resolute majority. “If that majority are more comfortable going to cannabis rather than over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers,” Baca argued, “This will improve our global well-being to historic levels that most people in the industry don’t even think of right now. ”
Six products Ricardo Baca cannot live without
Baca first tried weeds as a teenager, but the experience wasn’t what he thinks was his proper introduction to the power of the plant. “I have never successfully smoked anything, and early unregulated foods from my friend’s kitchen were not an ideal introduction.”
Baca’s insightful cannabis experience came in the form of a 10-milligram bar of chocolate in 2013. “I cut it in four to see what 2.5 milligrams of active THC would look like and feel like, and holy shit!” Said Baca. “I immediately woke up the next day and said to my wife, ‘This is my new preferred substance. I prefer the experience we had last night, the alcohol every day of the week. ‘I’ve been a convert since then. “
Here are six weed products Ricardo Baca cannot live without.
The Puffco Peak
“Obviously this is a breakthrough technology,” said Baca of the Puffco Peak vaporizer. “What [Puffco CEO Roger Volodarsky] and his team did it, they hit the market where they were. It was brilliant to normalize the dabbing blowtorch in an innovative, tech-savvy, and aesthetically conscious way. ”
Davinci IQ2 vaporizer
Davinci is a Grasslands customer, and Baca is proud to represent the brand’s new and improved dried flower vape.
“The Davinci IQ2 is definitely the best flower vaporizer on the market. Most competitors have significant airflow problems. They addressed that directly in this new iteration of the IQ. This airflow is on point, and I also appreciate your advances in dosage control. We definitely need more dose control in the vaporizer room. “
Veritas Sour Diesel
“It’s kind of a cliché, but I’ve always been a Sour D guy,” said Baca, “and Veritas is making an amazing Sour D. Their nose for it [flower] is crazy. I like the uplifting loads, the upper. “
Grasslands trio of trays
Grasslands has designed an adorable trio of rolling trays that are now available in their merch store. “My IQ2 is on one with scraps of flowers, my keys are on the other, they just became a really handy tool for the home and office.”
A marijuana moment subscription
“I am very grateful to all journalists who deal with lifestyle, business and politics,” said Baca. “But I think we really need that political side of the coverage, especially people watching what is happening.” Federal as well as various states and provinces. Tom Angell and his team are doing a great job and we have been proud supporters on various levels for years. ”
Sugar-coated caramels with a high milk content and sea salt
“We asked for food to taste better,” commented Baca, “and I think the market is finally starting to catch up with that consumer demand. These caramels are amazing. ”
Interview by Nic Juarez. Written by Andy Andersen. Selected image courtesy of Grasslands. Graphic by David Lozada / Weedmaps