Company: East Fork Cultivars
Title: CEO and co-owner
East Fork Cultivars CEO Mason Walker has a “deep personal connection” with the medical benefits of cannabis, stemming from a teenage accident that left him paralyzed for a time and then dependent on opioids to treat the pain. Cannabis helped him kick opioids.
“Cannabis has been essential medicine for managing my chronic pain for my catastrophic spinal injury,” he says.
While most cultivators in the market were working to produce plants with the highest percentages of THC, East Fork Cultivars went a different direction, breeding low-THC varietals that were rich in CBD.
East Fork grows 10 acres of cannabis on a 33-acre farm in Takilma, Oregon, near the California border, with one acre for Oregon’s adult-use market and nine acres of USDA Organic certified hemp for products available nationwide. Walker says the farm makes “ingredient products” that go to other businesses for about 50 brands nationwide, including Dr. Bronner’s, Rogue Ale and others, as well as its own, branded products for dispensaries. The company’s first retail store also opened in Portland in May.
Prior to joining the industry in 2017, Walker spent seven years as a journalist covering its growth and says that job prepared him both for the constant “existential crises” the industry throws at business, but also for the ever-changing environment and market.
“I think my natural curiosity and draw to learn more all the time has really served me well,” he says.