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There are many uncertainties in and around the legal cannabis industry but if we look back at 2023 a few things are clear: people are fascinated by the soon-to-be Minnesota cannabis industry, they love to hear about people chasing their dreams in cannabis, and they want to know more and more about cannabis beverages and consumption lounges.  

Those are some of the clear takeaways from a look at our 5 most-read blog posts and our most-attended webinar in 2023. 

Brothers in Cannabis: The Story of Ball Family Farms 

Our most-read blog post of 2023 combines two things that make the holidays great for so many of us: family and cannabis. 

This article featured an in-depth interview with Charles Ball, the Chief Financial Officer of Ball Family Farms. Founded by Charles’ brother Chris Ball, a former professional football player and legacy cannabis dealer. 

The company received its license from Los Angeles in 2018 as part of the city’s social-equity program and its growing facility was one of the first minority-owned special-equity commercial cannabis facilities in Los Angeles. 

The story not only depicted the difficulties involved in navigating social equity programs in cannabis, but also what can happen when companies combine hard work, family ties, and a deep love of 1980s martial arts movies. 

New Jersey’s “Brute’s Roots” is Launching for the Adult-Use Market

Brute’s Roots President and Owner Kelly Gatto is right: people do love a local story. 

During an interview with Rootwurks in August, Gatto spoke about all the hoops she had to jump through and all the patience and money it took to open a recreational cannabis dispensary in New Jersey. 

Or as she put it, “be patient, have a lot of money and patience, and really know what you’re getting into.”

The vertically integrated dispensary in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey is considered a WBE (“Women Business Enterprise”) and opened in May nearly four years after the company first submitted its application in 2019. 

Gatto described how the company keeps operations local and how she and co-owner and fiancee Jimmy DiNatale were born and raised and live in the same county as the dispensary, less than 30 minutes from the company’s cultivation facility.

“People love a local story,” Gatto told Rootwurks. 

They also love a story of success, and in late December, Brute’s Roots was selected as Dispensary of the Year at the 2023 Cannademix Community Award event in Newark, New Jersey. 

“I’m Here to Sell a Vibe” - Christopher LaPorte Shares His Vision of Cannabis Lounges”

Consumption lounges provide the promise of a better user experience. And while the vibe Christopher LaPorte is selling isn’t yet a reality in most legal markets, it’s clear that Rootwurks readers are interested. 

Last January, LaPorte, the founder and managing partner of cannabis hospitality group RESET Vegas spoke to Rootwurks about his vision for cannabis consumption lounges, or as he calls them “social use lounges.” 

“For lonely stoners, let’s create a venue for them to feel comfortable, and that’s by celebrating the culture of cannabis and offering something a lot more than that Amsterdam coffee shop experience,” LaPorte told Rootwurks. 

Consumption lounges still face extensive licensing and regulatory hurdles across the country. But as the response to this post indicated, if LaPorte is selling a vibe, Rootwurks readers are buying. 

What Will Cannabis Legalization Look Like in Minnesota?

Few things have excited industry watchers this past year than Minnesota’s legalization of recreational cannabis.

In this Rootwurks post from June, Jason Tarasek, the founder of Minnesota Cannabis Law and the head of the Minneapolis office of the cannabis law firm Vicente LLP, spoke about what it took for the state to legalize adult-use cannabis and what the legal market in Minnesota will look like when the dispensaries finally start sales.  

The post also looks at the unique steps that Minnesota has taken in its approach to legalization, how Minnesota has learned from the mistakes made by other legal cannabis states, and why sometimes it pays to be the 23rd state to legalize. 

Do Cannabis Beverages Have the Potential to Disrupt the Alcohol Industry?

The quest for a better cannabis user experience never ends. Could beverages be the right product segment to mix things up?

These beverages hold great appeal but their hype hasn’t yet translated into market share.

In this blog post, Ben Kennedy, the CEO and co-founder of Fable Libations describes the challenges of running a cannabis beverages company and what it takes to go against “a sea of sameness” in the world of marijuana libations. 

Kennedy also talks about why the industry needs better beverages and what he thinks the potential for the market truly is moving forward. 

(Kennedy also appeared as a panelist on a Rootwurks webinar on cannabis beverages held in November.)

Our top webinar for 2023:

The Economic Impacts of Schedule III on Federal Research and the Cannabis Industry

Few stories made more waves in cannabis in 2023 than the decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in late August to recommend that marijuana be rescheduled to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act.

In this on-demand Rootwurks webinar, economist and business analyst Andrew Livingston of Vicente LLP discussed why this development was such big news and what it could mean for cannabis research and the industry as a whole.

To get our latest blog posts sent to you every week, subscribe to the Rootwurks blog here. And make sure to check out the archive of all of our past webinars, currently available for viewing on-demand here.

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Ben Hartman, Content Manager

Ben Hartman is a cannabis writing and marketing professional with over 15 years of experience in journalism and digital content creation. Ben was formerly the senior writer and research and analysis lead for The Cannigma.

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