Fast Company Names Cannabis PR, Public Affairs Firm Riff City Strategies, As One Of The Most Innovative Companies

Cannabis continues on a rocket-ship trajectory as legalization spreads, investors double down on backing the technology powering the industry and as outdated stereotypes of cannabis consumers fade. 

One of the public relations and public affairs firms telling that story best and for some of the biggest in the industry, Riff City Strategies was named today to Fast Company’s list as among the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022

The most valuable cannabis tech company, Dutchie, turned to the San Francisco-based agency prior to its Series B in 2020. Riff Strategy's hyper-charged PR efforts helped Dutchie facilitate $12.1 billion in cannabis sales last year on its mission to create safe and easy access and to provide solutions that streamline dispensary operations. 

“We trust Riff implicitly to help tell our story and the value we provide as we help propel one of the fastest-growing industries in the world forward. They are always available, flexible, strategic, and take it as a personal challenge to exceed the ambitious media goals we set out to achieve together. Riff is a vital part of our growth and future plans,” Dutchie CEO and co-founder Ross Lipson told Benzinga.

As Dutchie searched for a PR firm to help tell its story, Lipson looked for strategists who had worked with big-name companies in other industries and could bring that experience to bear in the nascent, but fast-growing weed industry. Riff City’s longtime partnerships with self-driving car company Cruise and micro-mobility pioneer Bird, which just went public, fit the bill. Dutchie has since become one of the fastest-growing technology companies and earned a $3.75 billion valuation. 

Led by Brian Purchia and Jess Montejano, communications chiefs and technology and policy advisers for two former San Francisco mayors, Riff City is building a public relations and public affairs firm focused on positive impact first and profits second. 

Riff's leadership has significant tech experience, including helping develop California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s tech and innovation platform for his run for Governor, working with the State’s tech team after COVID hit to create a “central clearinghouse to identify solutions for immediate COVID response needs” and leading technology policy efforts for the City and County of San Francisco, which entailed delivering internet access to all in San Francisco. 

“Our boutique agency is very selective about who we work with because time is limited. We prioritize partners that are values-aligned and share our passion for the positive impact we want to have for our communities and planet,” said Jess Montejano, Riff City's SVP & COO. 

Riff City also advised Malcolm Joshua Weitz, a San Francisco native who was previously incarcerated as part of the failed war on drugs, who partnered with MedMen to open their first San Francisco locations under the City’s Cannabis Social Equity Program. 

Riff City helped MedMen MMNFF and Weitz earn unanimous planning approval for two locations, helping to achieve his dream of being a legal cannabis entrepreneur. MedMen’s first San Francisco store opened this week in the Cow Hollow neighborhood. Riff was also behind Cookies’ Bay Area retail expansion, helping the company earn approval for two stores as well. 

While the firm could have elected to concentrate solely on cannabis clients, Riff City says it is energized by working with partners spanning many different industries and issue areas that are values-aligned. The company works with clients from early-stage startups to public companies to top funders and political organizations.

They also partner with clients like Protect Our Defenders to combat the military’s longstanding sexual assault epidemic and Donors of Color Network to shift hundreds of millions in new resources towards racial and economic justice to build a winning climate movement. 

Riff City was also named by Inc Magazine as one of the fastest-growing businesses in California and is currently accepting new partners who need help building a movement or brand that can change the world.

Posted In: CannabisNewsPenny StocksSuccess StoriesMarketsFast Co


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