By Ricardo Baca

Honeysuckle is proud to present this running column by Ricardo Baca, founder and CEO of the leading communications firm Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency. A pillar of the cannabis community and a history-making journalist, Ricardo has been named one of Fortune's "7 Most Powerful People in America's Marijuana Industry" and an AdCann Marketer of the Year. His trailblazing work has appeared in the world's top publications, and he is a sought-after speaker on global platforms including The Colbert Report, NPR's All Things Considered, TEDx, and SXSW. With over 20 years in journalism and drug policy advocacy, he has pioneered many tenets of modern cannabis media that he and the Grasslands team are constantly evolving toward the future. Most recently, he was appointed by Colorado Governor Jared Polis to the state's first Natural Medicine Advocacy Board.

In his latest entry of the series, Ricardo shares why his vision for the next generation of the cannabis industry includes the plant's full integration into the mainstream natural wellness space. It's not about the corporations, but about universal accessibility and education.

(C) Grasslands

Could Today's Youth Someday Buy Cannabis From Whole Foods Or Sephora?

We are all fortunate to be players—big and small, intentional or not—in the evolution of cannabis culture and its integration into mainstream society. I often feel grateful that my life’s journey has led me to an incredibly special relationship with the plant and its cultivators, advocates, enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. 

Yet still I find myself wanting more. More for the next generations — the young people who I hope are reading this article. The baby Millennials, the Zers, the Alphas. Yes, probably YOU.

For you, the generations who have never known a world without some form of legal weed, I have a vision for the future that is both simple and revolutionary: I dream of a day when purchasing cannabis products will be as ordinary as picking up your favorite organic coffee or skincare serum at Whole Foods or Sephora. This is not an aspiration rooted in raw advocacy or lazy convenience, but rather a deeper belief that cannabis, in its myriad forms, deserves official recognition as a natural and beneficial part of our daily lives.

Resilient Cannabis Flows Into Healthy Wellness

The journey of cannabis from the fringes to the forefront of natural wellness has been a tumultuous one, marked by decades of stigma, legal battles and straight-up disinformation on a massive scale. Yet, amid these challenges, the plant has emerged as a symbol of resilience, wellness and, importantly, normalization within the broader context of natural products and holistic health.

The future of my dreams is a world where the natural properties of cannabis are celebrated and integrated into our everyday wellness as seamlessly as vitamins, essential oils and herbal teas. This is not a distant reality but a future within our grasp, driven by the changing tides of legislation, societal acceptance and a growing understanding of the cannabis plant’s therapeutic benefits.

The case for weed as a natural product is compelling. With its wealth of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, cannabis offers a truly holistic approach to wellness that aligns with the principles of natural health products. From CBD-infused lotions that soothe inflammation to THC edibles that enhance relaxation, the potential applications of cannabis are as diverse as they are promising—and we increasingly see them enthusiastically advertised and sold.

Yet, for cannabis—I’m talking high-inducing, THC-rich marijuana—to take its rightful place on the shelves of a Whole Foods or Sephora, some significant shifts must occur. 

(C) Grasslands

Cannabis in Natural Wellness: How We Get There

First, federal rescheduling is imperative to unlock the doors of major retailers—paving the way and, more importantly, the legal landscape—for cannabis products to be sold alongside other natural and organic offerings. This change would not only validate the plant’s status as a legitimate wellness product, but also broaden its appeal and accessibility to consumers seeking natural health solutions.

Then there’s the grassroots angle: The normalization of cannabis in everyday health and wellness conversations is critical. Just as the organic food movement has reshaped our understanding of nutrition and sustainability, so too can the cannabis movement redefine our approach to personal wellness and natural products. Through education, advocacy and transparent marketing, we can demystify cannabis and dispel lingering myths, highlighting both its benefits and adverse effects to promote safe and healthy use.

My hope for the next generation is that you will live in a world where buying cannabis products is as normal and unremarkable as any other health and wellness purchase. And I truly believe my hope is within reach.

Moving Beyond Acceptance to Full Integration

I am filled with optimism for the future of cannabis. A future where its natural, therapeutic properties are recognized and integrated into our daily lives, available at our favorite retailers, online and housed within brick-and-mortar stores. In this future, cannabis is beyond accepted—it’s celebrated as a valuable component of natural wellness, symbolizing a broader understanding of what it means to live healthily and harmoniously.

But this vision for the next generations is more than a dream; it's a call to action for all of us to embrace the natural potential of cannabis and advocate for its rightful place in our society. Until the plant we all love is treated as the natural product it is by government and commerce, we will never realize this future. We’re so close, though. I won’t stop fighting for it, and I hope you won’t either. 

*A version of this article originally appeared on the cover of Honeysuckle's 18th print edition. Get your copy now at dispensaries nationwide, or click here to order and choose your element - Fire with Bun B or Ice with Queen P!


Written By:

Ricardo Baca is Founder and CEO of cannabis PR agency Grasslands, The Denver Post’s former Marijuana Editor and a current member of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ appointed Natural Medicine Advisory Board. For more about Grasslands, visit To learn more about Ricardo, follow @bruvs on Instagram.

@bruvs (IG)

@bruvs (Twitter)


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Featured image: (C) Grasslands