Mason Walker is CEO of East Fork Cultivars, an Oregon craft cannabis farm. He recently sat down with Civilized to talk about his work, the future of the cannabis industry, and what he would tell Attorney General Jeff "good people don't smoke marijuana" Sessions if he had the chance.
What makes your company different from other growers in the cannabis industry?
We're more than growers; we're cultivators. We look beyond the plants and work to create a brand that expounds on ideas and cultivates an educated community. East Fork Cultivars devotes itself to the development and preservation of sungrown cannabis, and believe that sustainable farming methods produce superior holistic medicine. Our desire to provide Oregonians with a superior plant based medicine drives our selection of cultivars that are high in CBD.
We believe that CBD cultivars have the power to heal and bring relief to those in need. East Fork is rooted in a commitment to environmental and social responsibility and we take great pride in the processes and practices implemented on our farm. Our mission is to develop and preserve sustainable sungrown farming methods to produce the highest quality CBD.
What's the biggest misconception about the marijuana industry?
The biggest misconception is that only “stoners” use cannabis. As we continue our march out of prohibition, better breeding work is unearthing an incredible diversity of milder, CBD-rich cannabis that can be enjoyed responsibly by professionals, parents and people from all walks of life.
What's one prediction you have for the marijuana industry five years from now?
In five years, the DEA will have re-scheduled/de-scheduled cannabis, more than 25 states will have legalized recreational markets, and the industry will hit $100 billion in annual sales across the United States. Investments from large food, beverage, agriculture and pharmaceutical companies will begin pouring into the industry, fueling a race to create national brands of products and medications. Medical research will reach a fever pitch, with universities and hospitals creating cannabis centers to tap into the plant’s 400+ efficacious compounds that have long been unavailable in clinical and laboratory settings.
What is one change you'd like to see happen in the cannabis industry?
I’d like to see a bigger focus on equity and inclusiveness, both in hiring practices and programs that encourage new entrepreneurs. The War on Drugs had a dramatically outsized impact on people of color and other minorities. It’s the responsibility of the industry to actively work to right that wrong.
What's your favorite (and least favorite) way to consume cannabis?
My favorite way to consume is via vaporizer cartridge. I enjoy smoking as well, however combustion comes with a lot of undesirable downsides for health. Cartridges offer the same acute, immediate effect as smoking, and talented processors are continually finding ways to make oil extracts taste better and better by maintaining more of the original plant’s rich matrix of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.
Do you have a message for Donald Trump and/or Jeff Sessions? What would that message be?
Show some compassion for people that are suffering! For some people, cannabis offers a mild yet amazing alternative to opioids, autoimmune drugs and a litany of other medications with really lousy side effects. It’s hypocritical to issue a “state of emergency” on opioids, yet continue to demonize one of the most promising routes that people can take to ditch the highly addictive and potentially dangerous painkillers that have plagued our country for the past 20 years.