The Real Weed Trendsetters: 12 Cannabis Lifestyle Reporters Nominated For This Prestigious Award

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference has something new for its upcoming Chicago conference, September 13-14, after the overwhelming success of our 4/20 Miami event. As part of celebrating individuals, entrepreneurs and organizations doing amazing things in the cannabis industry, Benzinga will honor Cannabis Lifestyle Reporters in the context of its new Benzinga Cannabis Awards.

Meet the Nominees for the Best Cannabis Lifestyle Reporters

Here are 12 cannabis lifestyle reporters who made it to the last round of the Benzinga Cannabis Awards. Check them out!

Katie Shapiro, Forbes

Katie is an Aspen-based freelance journalist known as "the world's first marijuana style writer" for her work at The Cannabist, The Denver Post's award-winning online vertical.

Since 2014, she has written about the evolution of the legal cannabis lifestyle in "High Country," a weekly column for The Aspen Times. Her vision of the industry has been profiled in Adweek, The Business of Fashion, Cosmopolitan, Racked and Refinery29, among others.

She has a master's degree in journalism from the University of Colorado Boulder and produced the documentary "Rolling Papers," which follows the historic first year of adult cannabis use in Colorado.

Lyneisha Watson, Various Outlets

Lyneisha Watson, a Florida-based journalist, has covered cannabis for HighTimes, Miss Grass, The Emerald Magazine, Leafly, Farmer and the Felon. Her writing has also appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Blavity, Shine Text Advice and Black Girl in Om.

In 2018, she attended Yale’s THREAD Storytelling workshop to learn and develop her skills. Her time at Yale inspired her to develop the High Times column "High Folks," which is now a series of profiles that explore the many reasons why people fall in love with cannabis.

Her company, VIVRANT WORLD is focused on helping brands rethink how they feel about weed and pleasure. Through her work, she is able to work with brands on social campaigns and offer public relations services to rising cannabis brands and influencers.

Danté Jordan, Weedmaps News

Danté Jordan is a freelance writer, video producer, and media consultant specializing in cannabis culture, strains, products, education, and everything else related to the cannabis industry.

Danté teaches people about cannabis: what to buy, what/how to consume, why, and general FAQs on any level about the incipient industry. He has been featured on Weedmaps, Leafly, Wikileaf, The Bluntness, Ganjapreneur and many other cannabis news outlets. In addition, Jordan worked as an Associate Subject Matter Expert at Leafly. Currently, he writes for Weedmaps.

Amanda Chicago Lewis, Various Outlets

Amanda Chicago Lewis writes about policy, science, economics, culture, criminal justice and public health. She wrote for GQ, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Verge, California Sunday, The Guardian, Curbed, Vice, the LA Review of Books and the LA Weekly, among others.

She was also a story producer on a documentary about cannabis for MTV. In addition, she wrote a column for Rolling Stone, covering everything from pot parties in California to the roadblocks facing tribes in the cannabis business.

Amanda was also a national reporter at BuzzFeed News. Since 2017, she's been in charge of Yale's annual THREAD workshop, a non-fiction storytelling program for adults.

Ashley Keenan, Leafly

Ashley Keenan is the Canada editor at Leafly, as well as a freelance journalist, consultant and cannabis patient advocate. She uses reporting and storytelling to educate, entertain and empower people who are curious about cannabis while covering all elements from industry news to health and beauty.

As a cannabis journalist, she focuses on industry news, medical cannabis & the patient perspective, and creating lifestyle content that matters. She combines reporting and storytelling to reduce the stigma around adult use and medical cannabis.

In addition to being a "woman in weed," she is also a patient who has benefitted from medical cannabis longer than she has been involved in the industry. She offers insight from the patient perspective, using her own experiences to normalize chronic illness and medicinal cannabis.

Mary Jane Gibson, Various Outlets

Mary Jane is an actress, writer, and former lifestyle, entertainment, and culture editor at High Times.

Mary Jane is a prominent female voice in the cannabis industry, traveling the world tracking the legalization of medical marijuana, adult-use cannabis, and CBD with integral public figures, brands, and personalities since 2007. She is the co-host of the top-rated Weed+Grub podcast.

Her perspective on cannabis and world culture has been seen in numerous media outlets, including Rolling Stone, Playboy and PBS. She has been called “one of the 15 most powerful women in the weed industry” by Complex Magazine. She is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada.

Zach Sokol, Various Outlets

Zach Sokol is a writer, editor, and the founder of — an ongoing interview series with interesting people about all things 420.

He works at Bullish Studio and is also the co-editor of Sex Magazine. Previously, he was the editor of MERRY JANE, an editor at VICE, and has written extensively for publications like Playboy, Penthouse, i-D, Double-Blind, and more.

Hernán Panessi, El Planteo

Hernán Panessi, born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a journalist specializing in youth culture. He collaborated as a writer at Playboy, Billboard, Forbes, VICE, Benzinga, High Times and Yahoo.

In addition, Hernán is the author of a number of books such as "Porno Argento!, Historia del cine nacional Triple X;" "Periodismo pop, Una puerta que se abre;" and "Rock en Español." He also worked as a teacher at the Rojas Cultural Center, Argentina.

Panessi's perspective on cannabis and world culture has led him to write for numerous outlets such as InfoTechnology, Rolling Stone, THC, Página/12, Weederia, and El Cronista, among others.

Currently, Panessi works as the managing editor at El Planteo, the most-read cannabis media outlet in the Spanish-speaking world.

Jimi Devine, LA Weekly

Jimi got started in cannabis journalism at the age of 19 while working to help students who had lost their financial aid for college due to drug convictions.

Since 2009, he's been part of the California cannabis industry, which is how he got into one of the oldest dispensaries in the country: CBCB. Jimi has been a contributor to various outlets including Cannabis Now, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, The Hill, The Chronicle of High Education,, and several more.

Lindsey Bartlett, Forbes

Lindsey is an author, photographer, and social media editor who has documented the evolutionary cannabis industry for the past decade. Her career includes roles at The Denver Post and The Cannabist, which was the first cannabis publication ever founded by a Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper.

Her reporting grew to include an industry focus at Marijuana Business Daily and Hemp Industry Daily, where she led social media coverage for MJBizCon, the largest cannabis business conference series in the world. She has taken on writing, social media, and editing roles at Forbes and Weedmaps, among other outlets.

Jon Cappetta, High Times

Jon, VP of content at High Times, spent over a decade producing over 500 events before he left New York in 2014, where he honed his logistical and marketing expertise and his ear for talent.​

Finding his niche in development strategy Jon produced branded content for major products, provided data analysis for front-page, Pulitzer-prize-winning news, and developed several new business areas for the enterprises he's worked for. And he still finds time to write some amazing articles for High Times.

Warren Bobrow, Various Outlets

Warren Bobrow, "the Cocktail Whisperer," recognized as the famous American mixologist who makes THC shots, is immersed in the cannabis industry as the author of six books, including The Craft Cocktail Compendium, his famous release in 2017. In addition, Warren has written articles for Saveur Magazine, Whole Foods-Dark Rye, Distiller, DrinkupNY, Forbes, and many other national and international periodicals.

He has also contributed to the Sage Encyclopedia of Food Issues and the Oxford Encyclopedia edition: Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover's Companion to New York City. Also, Warren was nominated for a Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award in 2013. His books consistently lead overall sales.

Come and meet these amazing people at Benzinga's Cannabis Capital Conference, the leading cannabis investment conference in North America at the historic Palmer House Hotel on Sep. 13-14 in Chicago.

Get your tickets HERE.

See you there!

Photo: Alesia Kozik and Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

Posted In: CannabisNewsExclusivesMarketsAmanda Chicago LewisAshley KeenanBenzinga Cannabis AwardsBenzinga Cannabis ConferenceCCCDante JordanEl PlanteoForbesHernan PanessiHigh TimesJimi DevineJon CappettaKatie ShapiroLA WeeklyLeaflyLindsey BartlettLyneisha WatsonMary Jane GibsonNew York TimesRolling StoneWarren BobrowWeedMaps NewsZach Sokol

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Florida

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is returning to Florida, in a new venue in Hollywood, on April 16 and 17, 2024. The two-day event at The Diplomat Beach Resort will be a chance for entrepreneurs, both large and small, to network, learn and grow. Renowned for its trendsetting abilities and influence on the future of cannabis, mark your calendars – this conference is the go-to event of the year for the cannabis world.

Get your tickets now on – Prices will increase very soon!