Media Archives - Green Market Report

Video StaffMay 16, 2022


On April 28, 2022, the Green Market Report hosted its first Women’s Summit in New York City. This panel was titled “Media and Cannabis.” Public Relations can make the difference for companies getting attention or fighting to be noticed. But PR is expensive and often the first line item to be cut when money gets tight. How can emerging companies afford PR? How can companies assess and pick the right PR company for them? What can you do on the cheap and when do you know it’s time to level up? How to make advertising decisions. this panel featured Gia Moron – Founder GVM Communications, Cynthia Salarizadeh – Founder Salar Media Group, Ann Donohoe – Managing Partner KCSA, Shawna MacGregor – Founder Maverick PR and was moderated by Elana Frankel – Founding Editor-in-Chief, Women and Weed Magazine Thank you for watching the Green Market Report! Be sure to subscribe to our channel and our newsletters.

Andrew WardMay 3, 2022


Companies flock to celebrities to endorse their brands despite the certainty of their return on investment (ROI). Still, market activity remains immense. So much so that influencer marketing could grow to approximately $16.4 billion this year. 

Huge returns, in some cases, bolster the fondness for celebrities. Conversely, partnerships also see brands fail to connect with audiences while burning ad budgets.

In cannabis, various noteworthy names help get the word out when most traditional digital marketing means are prohibited. The key to winning consumers’ attention and shopping loyalty appears to be authenticity. 

The desire for authentic brand ambassadors has recently seen scores of companies turn to influencers over celebrities. In the middle of the two worlds exists reality stars. While certainly known for celebrity-type shows, these media figures often appear more accessible and relatable. 

“Reality stars are kind of the new actors of the generation, influencers even more so,” said Jay Jackson, better known as reality star and entertainer Laganja Estranja.

Authentic Connections Required

Reality stars may provide more authenticity than celebrities, with reality-based TV often revealing subjects’ most vulnerable moments. 

Devlon “DJ” Howard, a project manager at Cannaclusive and Florida State Director of Minorities for Medical Marijuana, said the narrative is most important no matter the type of celebrity. 

“If your target market believes your company to be making moves for clout, their perception of the brand will be stained,” he said.

Jackson saw her star power grow on RuPaul’s Drag Race over two seasons. There, viewers saw her overt support for cannabis. The two seasons also provided a story arch that saw her go from reviled to a redeemed fan favorite. 


Jackson’s star has continued to shine since, advocating, performing, and embarking on numerous other shows and media appearances. In recent years, she’s forged brand deals with cannabis companies like PAX and Honey Pot Hemp

During the pandemic, “I was making a full-time living off social media,” said Jackson, without sharing figures. 

With pre-pandemic opportunities returning, the revenue is more on a supplemental level, covering roughly 20% of her earnings. She now prefers to be more selective with brands, lessening partnerships to just companies that support LGBTQ+ efforts year-round. 

“I sometimes feel like I’m an infomercial,” she said. 

Survivor star and season 3 winner Ethan Zohn is another fan favorite. A two-time cancer survivor, his recovery and several seasons on the show propelled him into endeavors, including co-founding the youth organization Grassroots Soccer and running the 2022 Boston Marathon. 

As part of his Boston Marathon endeavor, he joined MSO Trulieve (OTC( TCNNF)  as a brand ambassador for its wellness line, Momenta

“It aligned with them and me,” Zohn said of the shared vision around plant research, education and consistent products. 

He did not disclose deal figures or company ROI expectations. In a statement to Green Market Report, Trulieve elaborated that initial goals center on Zohn promoting brand awareness, stigma erosion, and health and wellness education at in-person and digital events. 

The initiative is the latest in cannabis for Zohn, an investor and chief purpose officer for Vermont-based hemp brand Montkush. Friend and Oxyclean star Anthony Sullivan founded the farm. 

Zohn also emphasized the importance of endorsement authenticity.

“There needs to be a little bit of a personal connection from celebrity to the consumer,” he said. Zohn, a former professional soccer player, feels athletes can deliver a similar impact.

Alignment And Trust Key

Sales remain a critical metric, with social media reach and engagements also pivotal. Still, it isn’t entirely clear how effective reality stars or other notable figures are. 

Anthony Scotti, founder of Colorado cultivator Cherry Cannabis, partnered with hip hop star N.O.R.E. 

“When teaming up with a celebrity to push the brand, it allows us to reach a large audience that we wouldn’t have the opportunity to get in front of otherwise,” said Scotti. He cited media coverage as a critical ROI.

Scotti stated that brands should feel confident the celebrity will endorse the company correctly. 

“A company must trust that the individual will conduct themselves in a way that uplifts and supports the brand,” he said, reporting no issues so far. 

Scotti added, “The more trust you build, the better it is for the brands in the cannabis industry.”

Andrew WardApril 4, 2022


It’s a well-accepted anecdotal fact that cannabis and music go together. From the jazz clubs to the headbangers ball to underground hip hop shows and beyond, where there’s music playing, pot’s often being consumed. 

That long-lasting bond has recently come in handy for brands looking to connect with legal consumers. Federal regulations prohibit cannabis from online ads, forcing marketers and brands to ramp up creativity. In recent years, cannabis brands have become increasingly present at music festivals and concerts through sponsorships, activations and other consumer-facing endeavors.

“When executed correctly and compliantly, live event marketing collaborations can absolutely drive sales and brand awareness, as well as form lasting consumer relationships and promote brand loyalty,” said Andreas Neumann, Jushi Holdings Inc (OTCMKTS: JUSHF) (CNSX: JUSH) chief creative director and 2020 Grammy award winner for Best Album Package. 

While short on data, cannabis leaders say they’ve witnessed the potential in live events marketing and partnerships with cannabis-friendly artists. 

Live Event Marketing Grows In Cannabis

Like cannabis and its various medical claims, most seem to accept anecdotal feedback regarding the return on investment (ROI) for live event sponsorships. While additional findings would conclude the debate, most already agree on its efficacy.

“While legal cannabis is still a relatively young industry, the effectiveness of event marketing has been proven over and over in many other industries, including CPG,” said Glass House Brands Inc (OTCMKTS: GLASF) President Graham Farrar.

The uptick in cannabis at events has been noticeable, particularly in states with legalized adult-use and/or relaxed public consumption laws. 

“While we have more regulations to contend with, it doesn’t change the value that live events can bring,” said Farrar. 

Additional regulations, like bans on sales and onsite consumption, can prove detrimental, but brands have not let them thwart live music marketing endeavors. 

Associating With Live Acts Reportedly Pays Off

As cannabis becomes more widely accepted, its presence grows at significant live events. So much so that the plant is sometimes front and center. 

In October 2021, Eaze’s Grass Lands served as the hub for all things cannabis during the three-day Outside Lands Festival. Grass Lands came complete with its own stage and a three-day live music and comedy lineup. Event partners included Cookies, PAX, and Autumn Brands.

In January 2022, Veritas Fine Cannabis sponsored the 10th anniversary of the Winter on the Rocks concert held at Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheater. Diplo and Talib Kweli headlined the event. Veritas’ featured onsite activations to improve the concert experience, including free shuttle rides and live paintings by artist Morgan Mandala.

“Live event marketing enables us to position ourselves in front of a new audience, as these events bring people from various backgrounds together,” said Veritas Marketing Director Jordan Plunkett. 

The company also offered dispensary workers exclusive perks, including a performance by funk band Lettuce, catered meals, and early access to new products. 

Taylor Saralli, the company’s presentation manager, noted that Veritas engages in various live events each year, including activations with electronic artist Pretty Lights and art exhibits from Meow Wolf. 

Saralli, who considers live music one of the company’s most effective marketing tools, added, “Live events allow us to interact with, celebrate and create genuine relationships with our consumers and the budtenders who sell our products.”

Plunkett noted positive results from the Red Rocks event, including over 5,000 new consumer signups, 5,700 unique website visits, approximately 12% increase in social media engagement and roughly 300 new social media followers.

Others are reporting the benefits of live events. Juanjo Feijoo, COO & CMO for WM Technology Inc (NASDAQ: MAPS), didn’t offer financial figures but noted that activation partners had seen increased numbers from live event activations.

He noted that a 2021 live event collaboration at the multi-day Aftershock Festival with Sacramento-based dispensary and delivery service KOLAS paid off immensely. Their endeavor, the Loud Lounge, allowed guests to kick back while waiting for delivery orders. 

Feijoo said sales boomed for KOLAS, resulting in “The equivalent of two or three weekends of orders for them.” He attributed the success to finding consumers in one collective event.

Thinking Beyond The Show

Opportunities exist beyond the venue, offering brands and performers ample opportunity to collaborate. 

One example includes the September 2021 partnership between Denver’s Seed & Smith and electronic artists Big Gigantic. The company featured strains chosen by the band as part of the release of the company’s DART pod system. The company reported seeing a worthwhile ROI from the deal.

“Having that name attached to the DART certainly influenced some purchasing,” said Robbie Wroblewski, director of community outreach for Seed & Smith. The company did not provide financial data to support its report.


StaffMarch 25, 2022


In addition to having a Los Angeles office, New York-based Mattio Communications announced the launch of MATTIO+FIORE Media, a new cannabis-focused paid media and performance marketing agency. The new company will be led by Mattio Communications CEO Rosie Mattio and Madison Fiore, the former Head of Growth at Hawke Media. The new company will be a subsidiary that will focus on growth strategy, media buying, email and SMS marketing, creative and campaign development, including photo, video, animation and design assets, and managing listings on third-party platforms such as Weedmaps, Leafly, I Heart Jane and springbig.

“MATTIO’s ability to consistently drive client success is rooted in our commitment to offering forward-thinking services that meet the evolving needs of cannabis companies,” said Rosie Mattio. “Madison is a true pioneer in cannabis marketing with a demonstrated track record of executing compliant and impactful paid media and performance marketing campaigns. He has a keen understanding of the intricacies of this landscape and his strategic marketing approach will be a tremendous asset to both MATTIO and the wider industry.”

Most people within the cannabis industry know that traditional methods of advertising have been unavailable to them. That has pushed cannabis public relations firms and other media outlets to think outside the box. To help cannabis companies capitalize on the potential paid media opportunities, Rosie Mattio decided to partner with Madison Fiore to create MATTIO+FIORE. As the former Head of Growth at Hawke Media, Fiore helped increase the agency’s annual recurring revenue by 1,300% between 2017 and 2021, executing million-dollar advertising campaigns on behalf of some of the most successful cannabis and CBD brands in the U.S., including Papa & Barkley, Heavy Hitters, EAZE, Miss Grass, Prima, WYLD, Kadenwood Brands and Parallel.

“MATTIO+FIORE’s mission is to eliminate the existing friction points in cannabis marketing by proactively building the infrastructure to execute effective paid media campaigns on mainstream platforms,” said Madison Fiore. “Paid advertising remains an underutilized tool in cannabis, and after developing campaigns for some of the most respected brands over the past five years, I recognized an opportunity to help businesses navigate this uncharted territory on a larger scale. MATTIO+FIORE’s services will be essential to brand growth once cannabis e-commerce hits its stride, and I am thrilled to partner with Rosie to push the needle forward within the realm of cannabis marketing.”

In 2021, U.S. digital ad spending exceeded $183 billion while the value of campaigns increased by 37% year-over-year. As more cannabis markets mature, effective paid media campaigns will provide companies with the competitive edge to drive brand awareness and sales growth. MATTIO+FIORE said in a statement that it will focus on driving clients’ awareness, traffic, and revenue through paid media and performance marketing strategies. “Committed to clients every step of the way, the new agency will develop campaigns and execute creatives while honing in on attribution, full-funnel marketing audits, LTV, CRO and strategic partnerships.”


StaffSeptember 23, 2021


Crain Communications has acquired the cannabis financial news website Green Market Report. Green Market Report was launched in 2017 by co-founders Debra Borchardt, a  financial journalist and former Wall Street executive, Cynthia Salarizadeh, a seasoned public relations expert and legal cannabis industry insider, and Vince Pitetti the co-founder of CrowdFund Connect. The acquisition will be finalized on Sept. 30, 2021.  

“We are excited to add Green Market Report to our now 21-brand portfolio,” said KC Crain, president, and CEO of Crain  Communications. “They focus on the financial, business, and economic side of the cannabis industry, so it’s a natural fit  with our other business brands.”  

Green Market Report, which includes a network of freelance journalists and garners 150,000 monthly page views, is led by Borchardt and is located in New York.  GMR won a 2020 Gold Stevie Award for Website of the Year and is a finalist this year for the Folio Magazine B2B Website Award. 

“Crain is one of the highest quality business news organizations in the country,” said Borchardt, CEO and co-founder of  Green Market Report. “Their team, resources, and respected journalism will make the perfect partner as Green Market  Report continues into the future. The combination of Crain’s experience and Green Market Report’s expertise will turn  us into a leader in the industry, and I’m personally excited to be a part of that growth.” Borchardt will continue to oversee GMR as the Executive Editor. In 2020, she was awarded a Silver Stevie Award for Female Executive of the Year – Business Services. 

“Remaining a trustworthy brand as a media company while trying to profit is a challenge in today’s environment,” said co-founder Cynthia Salarizadeh. “We kept a lean operation that remained unbiased against all odds. Crain’s is one of the most respected business media publishers in the world. Now, Green Market Report will grow to become everything it was envisioned to be with all of the resources necessary for success, and we could not be more proud that it is with Crain Communications.”

This deal comes two years after Crain’s acquisition of GenomeWeb — an online news organization covering trends in  genome sequencing — in 2019, both contributing to the company’s overarching goal of portfolio diversification. 

Green Market Report will join Crain Communication’s family of brands that spans across 10 offices and includes 650+  employees, with headquarters in Detroit and additional main offices in Chicago and New York.  

StaffSeptember 17, 2021


 Cannabis Crime Scene, a new and original podcast series hosted by cannabis industry and media veterans Green Market Report CEO Debra Borchardt and Conscious Communications  Founder Leland Radovanovic has launched. The duo investigates stories where the law and the cannabis industry clash in 30-minute weekly episodes – from Netflix documentaries and federal lawsuits to decades-old racial injustice and new freedoms and social equity.

The series kicks off with stories about a Florida Man and cannabis entrepreneur ensnared in a sex traffic scandal with Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz and Fab Five Freddy’s latest cannabis entrepreneurial endeavor with Curaleaf (OTC: CURLF) and a new Black-owned brand, B Noble. Each week on Thursdays, Cannabis Crime Scene will drop a new episode. A shared obsession with true crime podcasts and documentaries and deep knowledge of the cannabis industry brought this Sherlockian duo together to bring audiences real, weird, and emotional stories.

“Creating Cannabis Crime Scene with Debra is the most fun I’ve had in the cannabis industry in a long time,” said Radovanovic. “We get to channel our inner sleuths, and in this space, there is no shortage of stories to tell.” Radovanovic is a communications strategist who has built his career in the cannabis space and the founder of Conscious Communications Collective, a boutique communications agency focused on cannabis, psychedelics, and cause campaigns.

“I’m a big fan of true crime podcasts and there were so many crazy stories in the cannabis industry that it seemed like the perfect combination,” said Borchardt. “When Leland and I realized we shared this love of crime podcasts, everything fell into place. These are stories that don’t typically fit into traditional business journalism and it has been a fun project to work on.”

Listeners can find the podcast anywhere where podcasts can currently be found on Podbean and Spotify. The podcast will soon be available on iTunes, Pandora, iHeart Radio, TuneIn + Alexa and Google Music.

To submit a story tip or idea, email

StaffAugust 17, 2021


As the cannabis industry continues to demand respect from the rest of the corporate world, Inc. Magazine has stepped forward to acknowledge growing companies. Inc. just published its list of 5,000 of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.

Mattio Communications

MATTIO Communications, one of the longest-running and largest cannabis marketing services firms, ranked No. 190 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The company has grown 2,244% helping it to rank so highly. Mattio Communications said it will be featured in the September issue of Inc. when it hits newsstands on August 20th.

“Since MATTIO started, we have grown our client base to over 50 companies in every vertical across the cannabis industry across the U.S. and Canada,” said Rosie Mattio, Founder and CEO of MATTIO Communications. “Our team is especially proud to be recognized as one of the only PR firms ever featured on the Inc. 5000 list, and our tremendous growth over the past three years reflects the abundance of opportunities available in the nascent cannabis industry.”

Mattio Communications is an industry-leading strategic marketing firm focused on cannabis, lifestyle and emerging markets. The company’s roster of clients is a who’s who in the cannabis industry. MATTIO provides end-to-end marketing services, including media and investor relations, crisis communication, content creation, social media, SEO and experiential marketing. We have firms in New YorkLos Angeles and Toronto.

“The 2021 Inc. 5000 list feels like one of the most important rosters of companies ever compiled,” says Scott Omelianuk, editor-in-chief of Inc. “Building one of the fastest-growing companies in America in any year is a remarkable achievement. Building one in the crisis we’ve lived through is just plain amazing. This kind of accomplishment comes with hard work, smart pivots, great leadership, and the help of a whole lot of people.”


In addition to Mattio making the list, cannabis online marketplace LeafLink also clocked in at number 204 after growing 2,144%. LeafLink. LeafLink is currently logging $3 Billion of annualized Gross Merchandise Value (GMV).  LeafLink’s marketplace makes up an estimated 32% of U.S. wholesale cannabis commerce. Currently, LeafLink serves 27 markets across the U.S. and Canada with offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Toronto. In December, LeafLink closed on a $40 million Series C investment round, led by Founders Fund. Additional participants include Thrive Capital, Nosara Capital, and Lerer Hippeau. This company said that this latest round of investment brings its venture funding to over $90 million and marks Founders Fund’s largest technology investment in the cannabis space.

Debra BorchardtJune 8, 2021


It is truly a labor of love to put out a regular print publication. A combination of writers, artists, printers, and distributors. Not to mention the trying to sell the advertising to pay for all of this. While most of us consume our media on our phones, there is something deeply satisfying when reading a story on paper accompanied by beautiful photographs. The pictures on our phones just don’t have the same impact. Plus, who doesn’t love to see themselves or their company featured in a print publication? So with that said, we put together a list of the top cannabis industry print publications. They are listed in alphabetical order.

A Different Leaf

Michael Kusek founded A Different Leaf magazine in 2018. They are based and focused in Massachusetts. Their premier issue debuted in the summer of 2019. A Different Leaf provides a roadmap to the landscape of cannabis for new and experienced consumers in Massachusetts. Their issues feature medical, legal, and social topics. Other topics include food, nutrition, and fitness, travel and tourism, arts and culture as well as products. Their bi-weekly podcast features conversations with personalities and experts from across the United States and the cannabis industry.

Broccoli Magazine

Current editor-in-chief Anja Charbonneau founded Broccoli in Portland Oregon. The magazine prides itself on its all-women editorial team. They encourage the discovery and intelligent appreciation of cannabis through experimental and engaging explorations of art, culture, and fashion. Broccoli is published three times a year. Their podcast, Broccoli Talk, is published every two weeks. Vogue has said, “uncharted territory seems to be Broccoli’s preferred environment.” Dazed said about the magazine, “Charbonneau and her all-woman team underline what is actually no surprise to anyone: that ambitious and creative women smoke.”

Cannabis Business Times

Cannabis Business Times was founded in 2014 by Tim Hermes and Noelle Skodzinski. The publication is based in Valley View, Ohio. Their focus is to help accelerate the success and acceptance of the legal cannabis market. They provide intelligence to help all aspects of the business – from seed to sale – succeed and grow. They focus strictly on the business of legal cannabis for medical and recreational use and aims to provide timely information to help their readers make informed decisions on running their business better and more profitably. In 2018, CBT was awarded three recognitions by the American Society of Business Publication Editors. The first was Magazine of the Year. The second, National Gold Award for Best Company Profile by the ASBPE in 2018. And finally, the Silver Regional.

Cannabis Now Magazine

Cannabis Now magazine was founded in Los Angeles, California, in 2010. Its founder is Eugenio Garcia. The magazine focuses on the most relevant news, political happenings, cannabis legislation, horticultural advancements, among others. Their goal is to enlighten, educate and entertain by providing the information their readers need to stay informed and on the cutting edge of industry innovations. Their social following is over 4.2 million. In 2019, their CBD retail store opened in Beverly Connection in Los Angeles, California.

Edibles Magazine

Edibles Magazine was founded in 2010. Their headquarters is in Los Angeles, California. The magazine’s purpose is to be a resource for readers to find medical and recreational edible products. Their mission is to help medical marijuana patients locate smokeless medication alternatives. They connect vendors, patients, and dispensaries with one another.

Emerald Magazine

Emerald Magazine was founded by Christina DeGiovanni in 2012. The publication is a news and culture magazine focused on living better with cannabis. Their audience is individuals looking to enhance their lives through CBD and cannabis. Their primary focus is culinary and recreational use. However, the magazine explores industry events, travel destinations, and trends related to cannabis. Emerald provides product reviews and up-to-date information on the community. They have a readership of 15,000. The magazine is based out of the Emerald Triangle with its headquarters in Humboldt County, California.

Honeysuckle Magazine

Honeysuckle magazine was founded in 2013 by journalist, filmmaker, and publisher Ronit Pinto. The magazine was born in Detroit, Michigan, but is now based in New York. Honeysuckle is a publication that emphasizes diverse voices by exploring gender and sexuality, racial politics, the environment, and pop culture. The platform gives a voice to the underrepresented and they offer the opportunity to create fair representation for the communities and individuals they report on. They pride themselves on the “live what they write” attitude they allow for their writers. Honeysuckle’s journalism aided in the compassionate release of DaReta Gail Stevenson, who was incarcerated for 22 years. The publication received the New York State Assembly’s Citation Award from Assemblywoman Inez E. Dickens for her significant contribution to the culture and community of New York City. Likewise, Honeysuckle received praise from State Senator Brian Benjamin for a progressive stance on the social and economic issues that plague society.

Kind Magazine

Kind Magazine was founded in 2019 by Joshua Nagel. They are a Canada-wide print magazine that’s printed on post-consumer waste paper. They’re an inclusive “live your best life” 19+ magazine and online community. Coverage includes news, culture, arts, food and drink, health and wellness, travel and adventure, and science and tech. They’re the fastest-growing magazine in Canada and the first and only free print lifestyle magazine found in cannabis retail locations throughout B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario.

MG Magazine

Darren Roberts founded MG magazine in 2015. It’s based in Woodland Hills, California. They’re a monthly magazine covering the recreational and medical cannabis industries. MG’s focus is heavily on the people, plants and products “that fuel the unprecedented growth of the evolving cannabis industry.” They pride themselves on being different from other magazines in the industry because of their access to the industry’s most influential people.

Sensi Magazine

Sensi was voted “best publication” in 2017 and 2018 at CannaCon. They were founded in 2015 by Ron Kolb and they’re based in Denver, Colorado. Forbes Magazine recognized it in 2020 for “best startup employers” in America. They’re one of the fastest-growing, nationally recognized media enterprises in North America. They’re well-known as an industry leader and culture creators whose core values “elevate people and cultivate community.” Sensi publishes print and digital magazines, creates community events, and connects people in local markets. Their focus is on fun-loving, healthy lifestyles. Cannabis Business Award named them “Best Publication” They exist to make a positive impact on both the people in their organization and the world at large. Their editor-in-chief and co-founder Stephanie Wilson is a 2020 Folio Top Women in Media Honoree.

Terpenes & Testing

Founder John MacKay started Terpenes & Testing in 2016. The magazine is based in San Luis Obispo, California. They call themselves a “scientific backdrop” and focus on botanical and cannabis news. They also cover compliance, regulation, chemistry, analytical testing and horticulture science. Terpenes & Testing prides themselves on making science fun and digestible without taking away from its power. They discuss how scientific innovations shape the young, wide-open worlds of botanical and cannabis wellness. Their website is read by laboratories, extraction facilities, growers, dispensaries, glass shops and living rooms all around the world. They embrace the responsibility of standing alone at the forefront of the botanical and cannabis publishing space.


Debra BorchardtMay 26, 2021


On the surface the new Mattio Communications influencer marketing subsidiary, Confluence Agency looks like a typical influencer public Relations service, but it is much more than that. To be sure, the group does specifically focus on finding great brand ambassadors for its clients. However, Mattio Communications Founder and CEO Rosie Mattio envisions Confluence having a much bigger impact than just helping clients connect with great influencers. Part of this goal is centered around the new CEO of Confluence, Victoria “Tori” Baek.

Victoria Baek

Baek was the head of influencer marketing at MATTIO before taking on the new role of CEO. Before entering the world of cannabis, she was head of influencer marketing and brand partnerships at HARMAN International where she spearheaded the JBL Master Class series, a monthly program featuring electronic producers and hip-hop artists that not only brought the HARMAN portfolio to millions of new deal but also generated new brand deals. She has also worked with legacy consumer brands including Coca-Cola, Taco Bell, Disney, and Forever 21.

“Tori’s really such a rock star,” said Mattio. She said she immediately recognized Baek’s talent and said she wanted to help set her up as a CEO. “Helping another female entrepreneur become the CEO of a company is coming full circle. I’m paying it forward and it makes me super proud. Maybe we can be an incubator for other female CEO’s in communications. This can be the future for us as well.” Baek now has a team of three reporting to her.

While Baek left the traditional product world to come to Mattio, a communications firm known for its focus on cannabis companies, Confluence will return her to sectors like fashion, beauty, food, home, tech, lifestyle, and travel as influencer marketing becomes an integral aspect of building brand value across all industries.

Importance of Influencers

Over the past ten years, influencer marketing has become a preferred strategy for brands to engage with target audiences. A print magazine ad may be pretty to look at, but brands can’t measure how many eyeballs actually see the ad. If an influencer has 100,000 or even a million followers, the reach becomes much easier to measure.  Increased social media usage has allowed brands to drive sales and improve brand awareness with curated content generated by micro and macro-influencers. According to Insider Intelligence, the value of the influencer marketing industry is projected to reach $15 billion by 2022 as more brands invest in building authentic long-term consumer relationships.

“Our clients were looking for this,” said Mattio. “It’s a great medium for cannabis clients because we lack access to traditional advertising. Plus, we provided other services to our clients like IR (investor relations), media, and content. So when they asked if we could bring influencers into the picture, we started to create this group and that’s when we found Tori. We now have around 15 clients in the cannabis space that use influencers.”

However, even this aspect of marketing in the cannabis industry brings challenges. Cannabis companies can’t pay influencers, but they can provide them with products. This means Baek must find people who are real believers in the product. Mattio said it forces her to be more creative and find true brand ambassadors since they aren’t getting paid and it lends authenticity.

“We also don’t cross-pollinate,” said Mattio. “An influencer that makes sense for Canndescent, isn’t going to be the same person for say Curaleaf (OTC: CURLF). We want real partners, not someone who makes one post and moves on.”

Making the task even harder is the intensely local nature of cannabis companies. Someone who may be an influencer in the Los Angeles market, may not be the best person for the Detroit market. Baek has been able to tap into her extensive network to find people within the various states that will resonate far better than maybe a nationally known person. Mattio said Baek has been able to build out an influencer network in small markets as well as large ones.

“The influencer industry has evolved from one-off transactions to valuable, long-term partnerships. Online communities allow brands to connect authentically with audiences in a way that drives measured performance,” said Victoria Baek, CEO of Confluence Agency. Baek has also been able to create a crossover effect as the stigma around cannabis lessens. She’s been able to draw in influencers from more traditional industries to cannabis and pull cannabis influencers to more traditional consumer brands.

Confluence Agency manages influencer marketing strategies for brands from start to end. From identifying celebrity and/or niche influencers to creating content guidelines to handling the logistics of gifting programs, the Confluence team takes a goal-oriented approach to every campaign in order to track progress.

Cynthia SalarizadehApril 20, 2021


For the 50th anniversary of 4/20, we decided to highlight and honor the original “OG” cannabis journalists. These are the pioneers who covered this plant, the industry overall and its community for decades. 

The evolution of the cannabis industry and its reversal from prohibition is one of the most interesting topics to witness in our lifetimes. Sitting front row, and the ability to chronicle these changes, has been a priceless experience to each one of these individuals.

Writing for everything from High Times to Rolling Stone, as well as book deals, this is a list of a few of the most important writers to ever document the plant. Today we would like to thank Danny, Mary, Steve and Sharon for their hard work in this industry. 


About Dan Vinkovetsky (formerly Danny Danko of High Times)

Danny Danko is a Cannabis editor, writer, and photographer who was the Senior Cultivation Editor of High Times Magazine for 18 years. He has personally selected HIGH TIMES’ annual Top 10 Strains of the Year since 2005 and is also the creator and founder of the HIGH TIMES Seed Bank Hall of Fame. He has judged more Cannabis Cups than anyone else on Earth.

Danny is the author of “The Official High Times Field Guide to Marijuana Strains” (2011) and “Cannabis: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Marijuana” (2018). Danny hosted the podcast HIGH TIMES presents Free Weed from Danny Danko” from 2011-2018. He currently hosts the podcast “Grow Bud Yourself!” and is the editor of Northeast Leaf Magazine since July 2020.



Patreon Page:

Amazon Book Link:  





Northeast Leaf Magazine

@northeastleafmag on Instagram





About Mary Jane Gibson 

Actress, writer, and former culture editor at High Times, Mary Jane Gibson is a prominent female voice in one of the largest emerging industries and worldwide cultural shifts in modern times, traveling the world tracking the legalization of medical marijuana, adult-use cannabis, and CBD with integral public figures, brands, and personalities since 2007. She’s the co-host of the top-rated Weed + Grub podcast alongside fellow actor/comedian Mike Glazer. Raised in Newfoundland, Gibson performed in theater and film in Montreal, Dublin, London, Paris, Seattle, and New York City before moving to Los Angeles. Her unique perspective in cannabis and world culture has earned her work with numerous media outlets, including Rolling Stone, Playboy, and PBS, and the title “one of the 15 most powerful women in the weed industry” from Complex Magazine. Complementing her writing, film, production, and performance credits, Gibson’s received the Overall Excellence in Performance Award from FringeNYC, the William and Eva Fox Foundation Fellowship, and two Seattle Fringe Festival PONCHO Artistic Pick awards (2002, 2003). Gibson is a graduate of the British American Dramatic Academy: Midsummer in Oxford and the National Theatre School of Canada. She also performs voiceover work using a range of regional American, Canadian, European and Australian dialects. Gibson has conducted in-depth celebrity interviews with Margaret Cho, Melissa Etheridge, Awkwafina, Charlie Sheen, Jim Belushi, Laganja Estranja, and the Super Troopers. She also created and starred in the piece “Fatal Attraction in 10 Minutes” with Reggie Watts for his show Radio Play at PS122.

Mary Jane wrote and edited for High Times for over a decade. She was named one of the “15 most powerful women in the weed industry” by Complex and was featured in Forbes. She now writes for a number of outlets including Rolling Stone and Playboy. Mary Jane covers cannabis culture, entertainment, and cutting-edge trends, and has interviewed stars like Margaret Cho, Melissa Etheridge, the Super Troopers, Awkwafina, and Reggie Watts. She co-hosts the Weed + Grub podcast with comedian Mike Glazer. Vulture called them “true experts in comedy and marijuana.” Mary Jane is also an award-winning actor and playwright. Follow her on IG @thisismaryjane_.



About Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom is a longtime journalist and author with 32 years in the cannabis community. His credits include:

Publisher of, one of the leading sources for marijuana and celebrity news on the web since 2007.

Former editor of High Times from 1988-2007, and producer of the Stony and Doobie award shows and the two Hempilation benefit albums for NORML (1995 and 1998) while at High Times.

Former editor-in-Chief of Freedom Leaf magazine and from 2014-2019.

Former Editor-in-chief of two Centennial Media titles, Marijuana Goes Mainstream and The Complete Guide to CBD from 2019-2021.

Co-author of Pot Culture: The A-Z Guide to Stoner Language and Life (Abrams Image, 2007) and Reefer Movie Madness: The Ultimate Stoner Film Guide (Abrams Image, 2010) with Shirley Halperin.

Recipient of NORML’s Media & Culture Award in 2004, Cannabis MVP by the Cannabis Business Awards in 2018 and New York NORML Activism award in 2019.

Has appeared as a moderator, panelist and speaker at many marijuana-reform events, including the NORML Conference, the Drug Policy Alliance Conference, International Cannabis Business Conference, Cannabis Media Summit, Seattle Hempfest, Boston Freedom Rally, Cypress Hill SmokeOu, the NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally and more.

Board member and co-organizer of the annual NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally.

Discovered 420 in 1990.

Founder and organizer of the Teapot Party with Willie Nelson since 2009.

Founder and commissioner of the New York Media Softball League since 2007.

Author of Video Invaders (Arco, 1982) and Watch Out for the Little Guys (St. Martins Press, 1989). 

Lives in Bronx, NY.

Contact Info

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About Sharon Letts

Sharon began her professional career as a gardener at the age of 24 in Southern California, with many assuming she grew cannabis. In reality, she designed, planted and maintained flower beds for high-end homes in Southern California for 17 years, before becoming a producer for television, then advocating for the plant.

Gardening turned to television when she was asked to host and produce visiting gardening show, In and Out of the Garden, for local television in Southern California. This led to executive producing travel series, Off the Beaten Path,  for PBS in California, which led to producing national documentary and magazine shows in Los Angeles.

Sharon was brought up to Humboldt County in Northern California to produce a news show, then became the lead features writer for the Times-Standard, the longtime daily paper in the county.

While working in media in the cannabis capital of the world, Sharon presented with breast cancer and was given cannabis oil made by Pearl Moon of the Bud Sisters of Southern Humboldt. Much to her surprise, the oil successfully put the cancer into remission, while simultaneously doing away with upwards of 10 prescription medications and supplements taken for numerous ailments.

Since she already had a voice in the media Sharon followed the calling and has written exclusively and extensively on cannabis as medicine ever since. Called one of the most prolific and informative writers in the space, for the past ten years she’s written for just about every cannabis publication and platform, penning patient profiles, telling successful stories of healing with cannabis.

Sharon also shares her own stories of healing regularly, penning essays on her own cancer experience in using cannabis as medicine, treating and preventing colds, flu, the coronavirus, broken bones, fractures – and replacing opioids with cannabis oil. She’s even included her dogs in the mix, from their rescue near death, to their current healthy lifestyle that includes dosing daily with cannabis and/or CBD.

Recently, her path has brought her full-circle back to media, developing television series from the series she’s written for magazines for years . Her two series, What’s in Your Stash?, written for High Times for the past two years, and Weed Traveler, a travel series for Weed World Magazine in the UK, are currently being shopped by Montel Williams as executive producer, with ten more show concepts on her list.

She’s currently being represented by Pam Pho of D4EO Literary Agency, with an equally long list of book concepts, also based on the series she writes, being developed and shopped now.

This past weekend Sharon’s work was honored by Cannabis Activism Now Magazine, voted Best Writer in the cannabis industry by readers. 

You can read Sharon’s work, as follows: High Times: Higher Profiles, What’s in Your Stash? (TV); Weed World Magazine: Kitchen Apothecary, Weed Traveler (TV); Women of Weed World; Vegas & Tahoe Cannabis Magazine(s): Daily Dose, A Day in the Life of a Cannabis Patient; Dope Magazine: Road Trip: In Search of Good Medicine,  Cannaopolis (eBook/Amazon & scripted TV series); The Emerald Magazine: Humboldt Medicine; Humboldt Stories, eBook/Amazon (winner 2016 Tokey Awards); Toke Signals: Toke Stories; Educated Stoner: essays of personal healing. Self-syndicated globally in several languages.


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The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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