Clio Cannabis 2023 winners light up the industry’s most creative

clio cannabis

Clio Cannabis, a division of the prestigious Clio Awards, has announced the winners of its 2023 cycle. The preeminent competition for communications and marketing, Clio recognizes innovative and inspiring work in advertising, advocacy, design, digital campaigns, and more.

This year, the Grand Clio Cannabis Award was given to two esteemed entries. A heartbreaking short-form documentary, “The Sentence of Michael Thompson” won in the Advocacy medium, while a second short doc titled “Black Women are Resting” took home the honor in the Social Good category. 

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Produced by Cresco Labs, “The Sentence of Michael Thompson” chronicles the fight for clemency for America’s longest-serving non-violent cannabis prisoner who was sentenced to 42 to 60 years in prison over the sale of three pounds of marijuana. The celebrated film won multiple accolades on the film festival circle and was aired on MSNBC.

“Black Women are Resting,” backed by 69&Sunny, follows diabetic creative healer and entrepreneur Calan on a journey to Jamaica for her first luxury cannabis retreat. The project is credited with helping fuel the ‘rest as resistance’ movement that champions Black women’s well-being and healing.

“The work this year exhibits masterful creativity —and the jury worked diligently to amplify the best of it. Both Grand Winners — from Cresco Labs and from 69&Sunny — exemplify storytelling with important messages that deserve to be widely seen,” Clio Cannabis executive director Michael Kauffman told GreenState.

A total of 92 Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners were also announced, celebrating a wide variety of brands, artists, retailers, and non-profits. The Agency of the Year trophy went to Sister Merci, while Puffco was awarded Brand of the Year.

Cannabis marketing can be difficult to navigate, given the wide-ranging regulations and bans on traditional advertising channels. According to the Clio team, this notion makes the entrants’ achievements even more special.

“In an incredibly challenging space, it is inspiring to see the creative ideas recognized from Sister Merci, Buds Goods, Gorilla RX, Gotham, Rise Dispensary, Union Square Travel Agency, and many others,” Kauffman noted. “Now in our fifth year, we’ve got a bunch of repeat winners in the mix as well.”

Clio has recognized creative excellence for over 60 years. The foray into cannabis is another example of mainstream adoption of the plant, helping to raise the bar for the industry as a whole.

rachelle gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist, Emerald Cup judge, Budist critic, and editor of She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter