Alumna dives into the cannabis industry through trade journalism


Cassie Neiden, Kent State alum and managing editor at the Cannabis Business Times magazine, poses for a portrait in Valley View, Ohio on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

Rachel Duthie

One Kent State alumna is diving into the future of the marijuana industry, one magazine at a time.

Cassie Neiden became managing editor of Cannabis Business Times, a marijuana trade publication based out of Cleveland, in February. The magazine provides industry news, as well as horticulture, business management and legalization content serving licensed cannabis cultivators in the U.S. and Canada.

“People may mistake us as a lifestyle magazine, but it is extremely professional,” Neiden said. “We very much focus on business management, like taxes and hiring processes.”

As managing editor, Neiden oversees a staff of freelancers who discuss the horticultural aspects of marijuana production. This includes topics like the best types of fertilizers for growing, or whether to utilize nitrogen to strengthen crop yield.

While she has always been accepting of marijuana, Neiden grew passionate in advocating for the drug with her time at the magazine. Neiden said the stigma associated with marijuana is dated and baseless.

“In journalism, you’re not supposed to be biased,” she said. “But I guess I am biased in the way that we root for the success of the cannabis industry as a whole.”

This same passion is shared by Noelle Skodzinski, editor and co-founder of Cannabis Business Times. In 2016, she was named among the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Cannabis.

“I think many people don’t realize that there is a professional, thriving industry building up for legalized and recreational marijuana,” Skodzinski said.

Legal marijuana sales in North America totaled $6.7 billion in 2016, according to industry research and analytics from Arcview Market Research. That’s a 30 percent sales growth in one year.

Medical marijuana, in the form of cannabidiol (CBD oil) and other forms, has been proven to provide benefits to patients who experience seizures, among other medical conditions, according to International Business Times.

Yet, they still receive occasional disapproval from strangers who still only associate the substance with stoner culture.

“We’ve come to find that this isn’t true,” Neiden said. “Cannabis companies are becoming aware of this stigma and are trying to be more sophisticated. They are trying to reach a wider audience rather than catering to one specific stereotype.”

Both women agreed that marijuana is only becoming more prominent and accepted in today’s culture.

“We may see medical marijuana being fully legalized across all 50 states in my lifetime,” Neiden said. “Recreational is more up in the air, but as long as people become more educated, the right decisions will be made.”

For now, the staff at Cannabis Business Times is working to inform readers of an evolving market.

“Every now and then, I encounter someone who gets awkwardly quiet when I tell them what I do, but for the most part, people are interested,” Skodzinski said. 

Rachel Duthie is the student life reporter, contact her at [email protected].