Why The President Of A $1B Weed Company Left His Job To Join A PR Firm

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One of the most respected cannabis entrepreneurs and activists, Kris Krane, is joining New York-based KCSA Strategic Communications, to lead its new Chicago office.

According to information procured exclusively ahead of an official announcement, Krane, former president of 4Front Ventures, a cannabis multi-state operator (MSO) once valued at more than $1 billion, will focus on business development and client advisory at KCSA’s Windy City office. He will also become a recurring participant in the communication firm’s “The Green Rush” podcast.

 

According to Krane, what drove him to KCSA was his six-year experience as a client. “I had the opportunity to see their professionalism and dedication to the cannabis industry firsthand.”

In fact, Krane credits the KCSA team for getting him quoted and featured in the media “with a frequency that rivaled executives of companies far larger” than his, throughout his tenure at 4Front.

“These results speak not only to KCSA's extensive media contacts, but to their ability to understand a client’s story and find the right outlets to feature it,” Krane said. 

Entering a new phase in his career, Krane expects to use his “firsthand experience as a cannabis industry executive to help KCSA better understand the needs and goals of cannabis companies in this rapidly evolving industry and provide even more targeted public relations and investor relations solutions and strategies to its clients.” 

 

Further Mainstreaming Cannabis PR

KCSA not only does public relations, investor relations and social media work in the cannabis industry. The firm has also been servicing psychedelics, finance, technology, healthcare and digital media businesses since 1969. Thus, many of their corporate practices have a very mainstream approach.

And this is the case with Krane’s hire. During a recent conversation, Lewis Goldberg, managing partner and principal at KCSA, explained how you see this kind of move across most industries: Imagine you, as a PR firm, worked with defense sector companies. If a high-ranking Department of Defense official left his job, you’d instantly try to get him enlisted in your ranks, to help your company better penetrate the space by leveraging the new hire’s recognition, experience and Rolodex.

“I don’t think we’ve seen a move like this in the cannabis space yet. This is a first, and it’ll shake the industry to its core,” Goldberg commented.

“Kris has been a regular host of ‘Marijuana Today,’ the most downloaded cannabis podcast, as well as a regular speaker at key cannabis conferences such as MJ BizCon, and investor conferences hosted by Cowen & Co. Canaccord, VIII Capital, Benzinga and ArcView,” added Goldberg.

A Long-Time Advocate

Before 4Front, Krane worked at another cannabis-related company, CannBe. He’s also been a vocal activist for years, serving as associate director of NORML (2000-2005) and executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (2006-2009). He currently serves on the National Cannabis Industry Association’s board of directors and contributes to Forbes as well.

“In the 7+ years I’ve been working in the cannabis industry, Kris Krane has proven to be the most respected executive in the space. His mix of advocacy and operational excellence, coupled with his unique ability to communicate made him an ideal target to join the KCSA team. Kris will help us grow the Chicago office, and deepen our capability in serving the cannabis industry,” Goldberg said.

And Krane concluded, “After a 20+ year career in cannabis industry and policy, it is important to me to work with people who are truly committed to advancing the goals that I have held throughout my career. This includes helping to professionalize the emerging cannabis industry, but also holding a deep commitment to ending cannabis prohibition as a whole and ensuring a fair and equitable industry. I would not feel comfortable attaching my name to a company or project that didn’t share these core values.”

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