This morning, Clio Cannabis, the global awards competition recognizing the cannabis industry’s excellence in marketing and advertising, announced its 2023 winners. A total of 92 Gold, Silver and Bronze awards were revealed at cliocannabisawards.com, with the competition’s highest honor - the Grand Clio Cannabis Award - going to two short film entries. Cresco Labs’ documentary The Sentence of Michael Thompson in the Advocacy medium and 69&Sunny’s Black Women Are Resting in the Social Good medium show that the cannabis-to-mainstream cultural crossover is permeating our consciousness through increasingly impactful creative avenues.
Grand Clio Cannabis Award Winners: Cresco Labs' Documentary The Sentence Of Michael Thompson And 69&Sunny's Black Women Are Resting
“This year, we’re proud to continue to spotlight masterful storytelling that highlights the tangible ways that cannabis brands can have an impact on society,” said Michael Kauffman, Executive Director of Clio Cannabis. “It’s really moving to see how our Grand Clio Cannabis Award winners have invested in communicating their values and in shining a light on people in their communities. It’s a privilege to be celebrating them in this way.”
The Sentence of Michael Thompson focuses on the eponymous individual, formerly one of America’s longest-serving cannabis prisoners who was behind bars for 25 years. Thompson, who was released in January 2021, endured a difficult fight for clemency during a time of growing cannabis legalization at the state level. The documentary aims to put a face on the stories of the over 40,000 people who remain incarcerated on cannabis convictions around the country. (For more information on how to support people imprisoned on cannabis charges, visit lastprisonerproject.com.)
Directed by Kyle Thrash and Hayley Elizabeth Anderson, The Sentence of Michael Thompson aired nationally on MSNBC and was one of the most awarded documentaries on the 2022 film festival circuit. It received Audience Awards at SXSW Film Festival, Chicago Critics Film Festival and Hamptons International Film Festival, as well as a Jury & Audience Award at Palm Springs International Shortfest, and was nominated in the Outstanding Short Documentary category at the 44th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards. The documentary also won a Gold Clio Cannabis Award in the Branded Entertainment & Content category.
Watch THE SENTENCE OF MICHAEL THOMPSON now:
The 10-minute short film Black Women Are Resting follows the first-person narrative of Calan, a diabetic creative healer and entrepreneur, as she attends her first-ever luxury 420-friendly retreat to the cliffs of Negril, Jamaica. Alongside 25 other like-minded female travelers, Calan discovers what it means to heal through community and cannabis. The project, backed by 69&Sunny, launched the “rest as resistance” movement that champions Black women's well-being and healing.
Watch BLACK WOMEN ARE RESTING now:
Who Were The 2023 Gold Clio Cannabis Award Winners?
Other top entries received the Gold Clio Cannabis Award, including:
- Brand Design: “Black Women Get Us Higher” by Gorilla Rx Wellness
- Film & Video Craft: “Enjoy The Ride” for Gentlemen Smugglers by PufCreativ
- Social Media: “Hi, I'm High” by Gotham
Puffco Wins 2023 Clio Cannabis Brand Of The Year And Sister Merci Wins 2023 Clio Cannabis Agency Of The Year
Clio statues were also designated for the Clio Cannabis Agency of the Year and Brand of the Year; winners were determined by identifying the entrants with the most statue points earned for work submitted across all mediums. For 2023, Sister Merci won Agency of the Year and Puffco, celebrating its milestone tenth anniversary, won Brand of the Year.
Puffco has the unique distinction of having been awarded in each of the five program cycles since Clio Cannabis was launched in 2019, and this year was a winner with multiple campaigns in Branded Entertainment & Content, Film & Video and Film & Video Craft. Meanwhile, Sister Merci was acknowledged for its work on the Cannabis Media Council’s “I’m High Right Now” campaign and earned statues in Advocacy, Digital/Mobile, Integrated Campaign, Print & Out of Home, and Print & Out of Home Craft.
Honeysuckle's Brand Redesign With MNML Wins Clio Cannabis Award
We are thrilled to announce that Honeysuckle won two Bronze Clio Awards, one for our “Girls Are Playas Too” photoshoot showcasing East Coast women in legacy cannabis, and one for our branding redesign by pioneering brand, creative and design agency MNML.
MNML’s founder Scott Wilson, one of the nation’s most acclaimed designers, says of the honor, “Big congrats to all the winners! Pushing the cannabis industry ahead and breaking down barriers isn't easy. Advocates play a key role in this journey, and designers, in particular, help shape a brand's narrative. Honeysuckle, with its magazine and nationwide presence relentlessly activating at cannabis events, stands as a passionate advocate for everyone in the cannabis community. We're absolutely thrilled that their efforts have been acknowledged, and we're proud that MNML could contribute to Honeysuckle's mission of being a voice for cannabis culture and a catalyst for change.”
Honeysuckle founder Ronit Pinto says, "[Creative Director Sam C. Long] and I worked hard with the MNML team, who presented us with many innovative and amazing options. Creatively, our standards are pretty high. So we were really happy when we loved their work right off the bat."
Honeysuckle Wins Clio Cannabis Award For "Girls Are Playas Too" Photoshoot Honoring Women Activists And Educators
Our “Girls Are Playas Too” feature centers on the women who have laid foundations in the East Coast markets, from educators, healers and culinary artists to pageant queens-turned-storytellers. Their stories of survival are not for the faint of heart, but they do represent the divergent walks of life from which cannabis entrepreneurs come and meet on a playing field made level by love of the plant. The spread includes brands such as Cafe Cannal, Calm Better Days, Hemp and Humanity, Herbas Bodycare, Popped.NYC and more. With concept and production by Ronit Pinto, photography and video by Sam C. Long, and art direction by renowned creative director Cat Ouellette, the shoot culminated in a magical combination of joy and power.
Watch behind-the-scenes footage at the "Girls Are Playas Too" photoshoot:
Pinto states, "We're always grateful to be recognized for the work that we are doing to celebrate the cannabis industry, particularly when these campaigns amplify the stories of the real people working with the plant. We've been so awed by the women in this space. The leaders, entrepreneurs and activists featured in our 'Girls Are Playas Too' photoshoot shared the depth of their experiences with us - the risks they've taken, the strength they've cultivated to combat the odds. These stories could be their own movies, and they are. We just wrapped the movie version of our webseries Girls Are Players Too, inspired by true tales of women working in cannabis, so stay tuned for more news on that. Our shoot on the famous Joker stairs in the Bronx, spotlighting 25-plus CAURD licensees, was also an amazing opportunity to showcase how diversity and perseverance are powering New York's market.”
She adds, “As creatives, with a very small team and tons of passion, we move quickly and put 1000 percent into all we do. I can't thank our team enough for rallying for these initiatives and the communities that these awards honor."
A Clio Cannabis Award Shortlist: Honeysuckle And Our Academy's "The Limitless Dreams Of New York's CAURD Licensees"
Honeysuckle was also shortlisted for “The Limitless Dreams of New York’s CAURD Licensees.” This spring, we partnered with the nonprofit cannabis accelerator Our Academy to document the diversity of the Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licensees, whom Our Academy is contracted by New York State to accelerate. Photographed on the famous Shakespeare Avenue Stairway in The Bronx, a landmark featured in the 2019 film Joker, 25 CAURD license holders gathered to celebrate their achievement. Dressed in styles reminiscent of the 1990s, an homage to the golden anniversary of hip hop because the musical genre’s history is interwoven with the plant’s, those in the group represent the vast array of participants in New York’s legal cannabis space: They are filmmakers, designers, restaurateurs, poets, activists, parents, community leaders.
Watch behind-the-scenes footage of "Limitless Dreams":
The concept for “Limitless Dreams” was created by Hilary Yu, co-founder of Our Academy, Tess Melody Taylor, Board Member of Our Academy, and Honeysuckle’s Ronit Pinto and Sam Long. The shoot featured photography and video by Sam Long, production by Ronit Pinto, and creative direction by Mary Pryor, founder of Sheba Baby and co-founder of Cannaclusive. Stay tuned for more on this story in Honeysuckle's upcoming print edition.
To learn more about the Clio Cannabis Awards, visit cliocannabisawards.com.
Find Out More On Social
Featured image: Honeysuckle's photoshoot GIRLS ARE PLAYAS TOO won a 2023 Bronze Clio Award (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture