We Asked Cannabis Luminaries to Reflect on the Past Year and Look Ahead to 2023

All year, in every corner of the industry, there’s been something to talk about, celebrate, or reevaluate.

My best high of 2022 happened on the streets of Denver, where I was on a solo trip to do shrooms at Meow Wolf. I’d heard stories about the potency of Mile High weed, but it wasn’t until I smoked a few hits of a locally grown Purple Punch from a one-hitter that I understood the power of cannabis grown a mile above sea level. That day I spent wandering the snowy streets of downtown Denver was one of the best highs not just of 2022, but my entire life.

For cannabis, in general, 2022 was full of memorable highs but also noteworthy lows. New Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission regulations made it easier to stock up on weed that was even more potent, but federal legalization remained stalled as did the SAFE Banking Act that would allow banks to openly serve cannabusinesses. Across the board, weed got a lot cheaper; reform victories included expungements in California, Colorado and Illinois; and Gary Chambers, a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Louisiana, filmed a campaign ad while smoking a blunt.

All year, in every corner of the industry, there’s been something to talk about, celebrate, or reevaluate, so we asked a handful of cannabis industry luminaries to reflect on their best highs of the year, and share what they’re most looking forward to for cannabis in 2023. Here’s what they had to say:

Steve Rodgers

Chief Operating Officer of Hapy Kitchen

My most memorable high of 2022 was a late fall trip to the Northwest Coast to disconnect from work and reconnect with nature. It was a four-day trip, and the last day was all about relaxing and having fun at the beach. I indulged in a Hapy Kitchen Muddy Buddy Cookie made with Wedding Cake hash rosin. I witnessed an eagle take out a seagull in the air and then continue to eat its kill about 100 feet away from where I was sitting. Nature at its finest.

In 2023, I think consumers are going to start asking a lot more questions when making purchasing decisions. Consumers are more educated than ever before. They understand the different strains and how their body reacts to those specific strains. They know farm names and the farm’s quality of product produced. They are learning oil that was extracted using a solventless process is a more pure ingredient when making edibles. Consumers are educating themselves and brands need to be able to meet their needs by providing more details about how their products are sourced and produced.

Katie Guinn

Author of Stoner Babes Coloring Book

My favorite strain of 2022 was Blood Orange Tangie from Satchel. My favorite high of 2022 was for sure at the beach with my love during the summer solstice. It’s one of the few places wide enough that we can walk together, and I can be far enough away to secretly stare at him in adoration and appreciation on the longest day of the year. The surroundings there whisper some of the best inspirations for my art, especially when I’m a bit high.

In 2023, I’m looking forward to more oversight and use of tax revenue from the cannabis industry to prevent human trafficking within illegal and even some OLCC-licensed growers in Oregon, specifically Southern Oregon, where the forced labor and violence for migrant workers is rampant.

Savina Monet

Executive director of Cannabis Workers Coalition

My favorite strain of the year was Acapulco Gold from Somewhere.

In 2023, we’re looking forward to increased political activities. There are already great bills circulating that tackle workers’ rights, tax reinvestment into communities, and workplace safety.

Jesce Horton

CEO of LOWD

My favorite high was LOWD being listed as one of the most influential cannabis companies on Forbes’ first 4/20 list. Cultivars Raisin Bread, Hawaiian Skunk Face and Space Age Cake were some of our hottest drops this year, and our favorite product was our artisan hash-infused pre-rolls, reminiscent of the Dutch American-style joints I smoked every day in Amsterdam—fat joints with lots of hash!

In 2023, we’re excited about the growth and enthusiasm around the connoisseur cannabis market, resulting from increasingly more educated consumers. You are what you smoke! Also, there may be a collaboration with a former legendary Portland Trail Blazer in the works for this summer, so stay tuned! It’s going to be a great year for LOWD smokers.

Megon Dee

CEO of Oracle Wellness Co.

MAC by Meraki Farms was my favorite strain this year, and Hapy Kitchen, hands down, makes an out-of-this-world brownie. I typically stock up on those!

I need 2023 to bring consumption lounges to Oregon. We (Oracle Wellness) are exploring acquiring a space that shifts our business model into hospitality and tourism. Stay tuned!

Devan Anthony

Co-founder of Luminous Botanicals

Hmm, favorite high…have you checked out the flower that Phoenix Rising Farm is producing? Exceptional quality sungrown from a family-owned and -operated farm in the Applegate Valley. Their Watermelon Mimosa x Jealousy has a unique terpene profile capturing both the watermelon flavor and the citrus flavor of the mimosa backed up to the slight gas of the Jealousy. The high is energizing and stoney, with mellow relaxed body vibes. Cannabis feels better to me when it is grown in a way that honors our connection to nature, and Phoenix Rising shows that it can be done without compromising on quality.

In 2023, I’m excited about the continuing expansion of the Sun+Earth Certified program in Oregon. Sun+Earth is a regenerative organic cannabis standard that certifies cannabis that is grown under the sun, in the soil of Mother Earth, without chemicals, by fairly paid farmers. My sincere wish for Oregon’s industry in 2023 is that consumers will start asking the important questions: Is this brand locally owned? Was this grown using regenerative organic practices? Are their employees compensated fairly? How do they contribute to their local community?

Katie Stem

President of East Fork Cultivars and founder of Peak Extracts

2022 was a challenging year all around, and even though it was complicated to execute all at once, I’m most grateful for the switch to 100 milligram edibles. My standout pick was our Tangie tincture and Tangie 100 milligram chocolate bar. The flavor was pure oranges, and I have spent some amazing time frolicking through the forest thanks to that strain.

Peak Extracts merged with East Fork Cultivars, and we have some amazing projects planned for 2023. Watch out for the ACDC cookies and Blue Orchid chocolate in January. We also have an ultra-top secret extraction plan brewing that will mean a whole new world of products and capabilities. We’re thrilled for what’s to come.

Raina Casey

Founder of Oregon Handlers Fund

My favorite strains this year were Raspberry Beret and Gush Mints. Gush Mints is a cross of Gushers and Kush Mints that is amazing. I was on that strain steady.

In 2023, I’m looking forward to more diversity and less OLCC interference with medical rules and policies. I’d like to see federal legalization more than anything. And, of course, more visibility for the Oregon Handlers Fund. More grant opportunities and opportunities for funding, and more expungement events around the city. I’d really like to see more diverse events for the cannabis community—just laid-back events, not always networking.