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The general consensus among MJ Unpacked NYC attendees was that the event would be a tough one to beat. But for this September’s MJ Unpacked Las Vegas, Jage Media has teamed up with Clio, the premier international awards competition for creative business. MJ Unpacked Las Vegas will bring all new razzle dazzle by hosting the Clio Cannabis Awards at the MGM Grand on September 29th to highlight industry innovators and their showstopping products.  

“As a gathering place for industry leaders, MJ Unpacked is the perfect venue to recognize the Clio Cannabis recipients that drive innovation in marketing and communications,” says Michael Kauffman, executive director of Clio Cannabis. Jage Media CEO and MJ Unpacked co-founder George Jage assures us the feeling is mutual. “We are honored to team up with Clio to host the Clio Cannabis Awards and recognize the trailblazers in the space we both love and support,” he says. With the winning organizational team in place, only one question remained: which industry experts could be counted on to determine the creme de la creme of cannabis?

If you calculate the decades of business experience represented by the 2022 Clio Cannabis Awards jury, their expertise speaks for itself. Cannabis industry superstar Dr. Chanda Macias, a trailblazer in every sense, knows how to persevere in a competitive industry. In 2015 she became the country’s first woman of color medical cannabis operator as CEO of National Holistic Healing Center in Washington DC, and then the first woman of color multi-state operator CEO with Ilira Healthcare of Louisiana, where she maintains a partnership with one of the only historically Black colleges and universities to be authorized to provide medical cannabis. 

Angela Cheng, who serves as the SVP of Marketing at California flower and pre-roll brand Pacific Stone, is a Clio Winner herself, thanks to her multi-trade tour, the Raw Garden Social Club. As a marketing and advertising juror, Cheng will get to see the show from a whole new angle, and put her experience building some of the country’s hottest cannabis brands into identifying the newcomers coming up behind her. 

Though TJ Stouder’s company HOLISTIK Wellness sticks to CBD, he has already discovered a passion for channeling a business acumen honed at Procter & Gamble into the world of cannabis. To cater to cannabis patients like his elderly mother, Stouder has developed innovative consumption techniques to help the medicine go down, and will surely look for fresh ideas in potential candidates. 

For Eduardo Basque, Senior Art Director at McCann Sao Paulo, the winners will need to show the kind of creative storytelling that has defined his storied career in international advertising. Though Basque is also an award winner, having taken prizes from NYF, Eurobest, Archive, Lusos, Communication Arts, and others, he is also a veteran judge. His experience serving on the jury of advertising awards from BestAds to AdForum will make him a valuable resource for his fellow jurors. Though this may be independent Creative Director Jayson Won’s first time on a Clio jury, he has done design work for the awards show, and his many years as a CD have taught him how to work effectively on creative teams consisting of multiple big personalities, something which is sure to come in handy among a star-studded jury. For Rebecca Larzik, Director of Marketing at Weedmaps, her innovations in consumer education will be looking out for operators in the industry with a unique angle. 

Come September, this powerhouse jury will have their work cut out for them—in an ever-growing industry full of exceptionally creative thinkers, singling out the best among equals may seem like an impossible task. But for the jurists to reach the top positions in the industry they now occupy, they have had to learn to separate the wheat from the chaff, and the Clio Awards will be a chance to watch such discernment in action at a conference that promises to outdo itself yet again.

Check out the full Clio Cannabis Awards 2022 jury here.

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