Why Asian-Americans in cannabis are trailblazers

Cannabis has been a traditional Asian medicine for a thousand years, reports the Guardian, but many Asian-American families disapproved of its use in the prohibition era. As states legalize, attitudes are changing, thanks in part to Asian-Americans pioneering the industry.

The ‘model Asian child’ grows up

Curaleaf’s director of insurance, risk and safety compliance Al Ochosa was born to strict parents in the Philippines. It was tough telling them that after a 20-year run in insurance, he was joining the cannabis industry. “I tried to be that model Asian child … but you know, cannabis has been a part of who I am for several years now.”

Now, he’s involved in several diversity and inclusion initiatives at Curaleaf. But he says there’s still a way to go. “I was actually kind of surprised at how whitewashed [the industry] was back at the beginning and even today, just because there are so many people in the communities that have been traditionally impacted by the war on drugs,” Ochosa said.

‘The deck can be stacked against you’

Leafly CEO Yoko Miyashita was born in Japan. After coming to the US with her parents, she saw how her parents were sometimes treated — as “others.” When she joined the cannabis industry, she committed to help repair the harms of the war on drugs which disproportionately affected communities of color. She has also launched several initiatives aimed at making the legal industry more inclusive, like the Seeds of Change equity report.

“Black and brown business owners already receive very little financing that’s available out there – it’s even less in the cannabis space,” she said. “So what are you left with? Personal savings, family and friends to start a business. And if you have systemic issues, you don’t have generational wealth to back you up, so the deck can be stacked against you.”

The ‘chillanthropist’

Filipino-American Geraldine Mae Cueva is the founder of consulting company Art & Times of Chill, and calls herself a ‘chillanthropist.’ She’s happy that her parents, after being a little concerned at first, are now her greatest supporters.

“…I hope that young Filipino girls can see that anything’s possible,” she said. “You could still do what your parents want for you, but if you don’t love what you are doing and what you want, it’s not going to serve you.”

Related Posts

Related Posts


Related Posts

Related Posts

Recent Posts

Related Posts

Subscribe to our mailing list to receives daily updates!

We won’t spam you


Browse by Tags




© 2023 Prohibition Holdings Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?