Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency

About Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency

At Grasslands we tell stories, build brands and amplify value.

Our indigenous-owned marketing agency is fluent in cannabis and other complex business languages, and we communicate clients’ primary narratives to their partners, investors, customers and end users. Our journalism-minded approach and promise means that we actively listen and communicate, deliver on expectations, are beholden to the deadline and drive results. We have broad experience in highly regulated industries, and we offer integrated marketing services, best-in-class public relations and targeted digital advertising to b2b and b2c businesses. We supercharge marketers, leaders and brands through successful brand creation, product launches, market expansion, capital raises, M&A initiatives and unforeseen crises. We track, measure, learn, report and iterate in real-time—and ultimately, we get our client's stories heard by the audiences that matter most.

Our Founder and CEO, Ricardo Baca is a 20-year veteran journalist, keynote speaker, TEDx veteran and thought leader in modern media and drug-policy circles. He served as The Denver Post’s first-ever marijuana editor and founded news vertical The Cannabist, where he extensively covered the advent of adult-use cannabis and related issues across the country and around the world, as seen in the feature documentary Rolling Papers (Netflix). In 2016, Ricardo launched Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency to work directly with business leaders in highly regulated industries, including cannabis. Named Marketer of the Year by AdCann in 2019, Ricardo has received numerous accolades for his trailblazing work covering drug policy, cannabis business and culture, and continues to columnize and host podcasts for a number of top publications.

Our Marketing team is lead by, Jesse Burns, a cannabis marketing veteran who served as the longtime marketing director for Sweet Grass—Colorado’s leading edible in the baked goods category—before joining Grasslands as CMO in 2020. He believes that product design and a deep understanding of the customer journey are the driving forces for exceptional brands, and that marketers must strive to understand what emotions customers experience in order to craft a meaningful brand narrative and build lasting relationships. Jesse has received multiple awards for marketing and product design, including Colorado’s THC Classic and a Gold Clio. He also serves as a mentor for the CanopyBoulder cannabis startup incubator. He sits on the MBA Alumni Board for the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is co-chair of the programmatic committee for the Cannabis Entrepreneurship Academy, an executive education program at CU Boulder.

Our Public Relations Team is led by Executive PR Director, Pam Lipshitz. Pam has more than 20 years of integrated marketing experience many of those working in the agency model. She has assisted clients of all sizes in industries including hospitality, fashion, food & beverage and health & wellness, and has been a large part of the tactical planning and strategizing for the accounts she has overseen.


Account Management Intern

June 2019 - August 2019 Denver, CO
“I loved working at Grasslands, the environment among the employees was super welcoming and friendly, and they were eager to get me on the front lines of the company. During my time they allowed me to work on my strengths (graphic design, social media, etc.), while also allowing me to work on events heavily and even coordinate a social media video series that I can now use in my portfolio. I would recommend students looking to specialize in public relations (maybe looking to become a publicist) go for this position. The office and the people really made the experience the most positive that I could have hoped for. Additionally, getting a look into one specific industry was great for getting a foot in somewhere and having somewhere to expand into after graduation.”
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