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WIRE: San Francisco Chronicle hires cannabis editor

SAN FRANCISCO — Leading the charge on coverage of the burgeoning cannabis industry, the The San Francisco Chronicle has hired award-winning journalist, best-selling author and industry expert, David Downs as its first cannabis editor.

The Chronicle expanded its cannabis coverage with a 24-page special section, which appeared on March 19; however, Green State will officially launch in May. It will highlight cannabis culture throughout the Bay Area, California, the seven other legalization states, and beyond. Green State will be the go-to source for anything and everything cannabis related including daily cannabis news, product reviews, medical, legal, lifestyle and cultivation information, and more.

“David is one of the country’s best-sourced and most knowledgeable journalists covering cannabis, and he will help ensure that the Chronicle remains a top source for news and information about this emerging recreational market,” said Chronicle Editor-in-Chief Audrey Cooper. “Adding David’s expertise to our newsroom provides all readers with the best reporting on Northern California lifestyle topics.”

Downs is the author of “The Medical Marijuana Guidebook” (2016, Whitman), co-author of “Marijuana Harvest” (2017, Quick American), and contributing author to the best-selling “Beyond Buds” (2014, Quick American). As a freelance journalist, his work has appeared in Scientific American, WIRED, The New York Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle. For the past three years, Downs edited the marijuana blog Smell the Truth on, and wrote the syndicated column Legalization Nation for the East Bay Express. He’s also been the senior editor of Cannabis Now Magazine, and co-founded The Hash podcast. Downs graduated from University of California Santa Barbara, and was a Fellow at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in the Academy of Alternative Journalism. He is based in San Francisco.

At the Chronicle, Downs’ reporting includes numerous facets and influences of cannabis in California. Beyond the impact of the legalization of cannabis on the industry, its users, and government, Downs also reports on the nuances of marijuana trends and major cannabis events in the Bay Area as well as senior access to medical marijuana, common medical cannabis terms, and more.

“Green State offers a fresh look at the topic and the culture around it,” said Chronicle Cannabis Editor David Downs. “We’re excited that we can serve readers everywhere who want to know how cannabis might affect their lives.“

For interviews with Downs or to secure him for a speaking engagement, email him at Downs is also on Twitter @davidrdowns.

With April 20, also known as 4/20 – cannabis enthusiasts’ national holiday – only days away, stay tuned for announcements of new cannabis media products from the San Francisco Chronicle.

About The San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle ( is the largest newspaper in Northern California and the second largest on the West Coast. Acquired by Hearst Corporation in 2000, The San Francisco Chronicle was founded in 1865 by Charles and Michael de Young and has been awarded six Pulitzer Prizes for journalistic excellence. With name-brand voices and a keen editorial eye, the Chronicle is an authority that still surprises. Follow us on Twitter @SFChronicle.

About Hearst Corporation

Hearst Corporation ( is one of the nation’s largest diversified media and information companies. Its major interests include ownership of 15 daily and 36 weekly newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and Albany Times Union; hundreds of magazines around the world, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, ELLE and O, The Oprah Magazine; 29 television stations, which reach a combined 18 percent of U.S. viewers; ownership in leading cable networks, including Lifetime, A&E, HISTORY and ESPN; significant holdings in automotive, electronic and medical/pharmaceutical business information companies; a 50 percent stake in global ratings agency Fitch Group; internet and marketing services businesses; television production; newspaper features distribution; and real estate. Follow us on Twitter @HearstCorp.


The San Francisco Chronicle
Sarah Morse Cooney, 415-777-7852

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