Hispanic marijuana companies
Hispanic marijuana companies

4 Hispanic Marijuana Entrepreneurs That are Making the Cannabis Industry a Better Place

Latino cannabis entrepreneurs are taking the cannabis industry

Posted by:
alishabee on Friday Nov 5, 2021

4 Hispanic Marijuana Entrepreneurs That are Changing the Cannabis Industry for the Better

Hispanic cannabis companies

A quick look at the statistics of Hispanics in the cannabis industry will show that this group has the lowest numbers in the industry. The level of stigmas faced by the group is high, while their level of representation is low.

Since the start of several cannabis industries in legalized states, the few Hispanic entrepreneurs within the industry have thought of ways more Hispanics could break into the industry.


Who are the Hispanics?

The American government classifies about 62 million residents with various identities as Latinos or Latinx. These individuals have varying cultures and are originally from different geographic locations.

Since this classification came to be, many people have had strong feelings about it and also wondered about the thought process undergone to decide that people with varying identities, histories, and even experiences could be identified under a single umbrella.


Hispanics in the Cannabis Industry

Four Hispanics were interviewed recently for their insight on how a path for Hispanics can be created in the cannabis industry. The interviewed persons identify as Columbian, Mexican, and Apache (Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas). Their names are Richard Acosta, Mark Flores, Manuela Sanin, and Roseanne Valencia-Fernandez.


An Underrepresented Group

The Hispanics are very few in the industry, but they have made the most significant impact in the industry. From the executive forte to products and even marketing, they have written their names in gold. The stories of the impact of this group have remained untold for a long time.

Richard Acosta said that there is a need to talk about the negative impact the failed war on drugs has had on generations of Hispanics living in America. He added that many of them are reaping the benefits of their sacrifices as professionals in the industry.

Manuela Sanin concurred with Acosta and added that Hispanics have a chance to face the anti-Hispanic sentiment that influenced the prohibition of cannabis during the last century. She said that the group must come together to support a movement that would end prohibition in the country while fighting for justice for the wrongs committed against them within the industry.


Getting into the Cannabis Industry

Mark Flores is the director of brand engagement at Receptor Brands. Talking about why he got into the industry at first, he explains that he has always felt like he was meant to be a part of it. He moved into the legal sector when Illinois established its medical marijuana program.

Flores said that he worked in the political consulting and nonprofit industry for some years,  then moved into the beer industry, before finally joining the cannabis industry.

He first experienced the legal cannabis industry when he won a large MSO pitch at a small activation agency.

On the other hand, Acosta said that growing up in Southern California influenced his decision to join the cannabis Industry. He added that he has always been attuned to the demand, benefits, and criminal justice issues revolving around cannabis. Jumping into the industry felt like his life's calling, and he has had an opportunity to add to the industry's development.

Mr. Acosta is the co-president of GreenTech properties, and he also functions as the CIO of the real estate investment trust. His background in the casino, real estate investment, and hotel industries has immensely improved his capabilities in the cannabis industry.


Dealing with the Stigma that comes with working in the Cannabis Industry

There is a long history of the stigma associated with Hispanics in the industry. From the point when more than a million Mexicans immigrated to the United States of America in the early 1900s to this moment.

The media has paid more attention to the negative stories about Hispanics in the industry, rather than the positive ones. This has added to the stigma associated with these workers and entrepreneurs.

If more positive stories can be written about Hispanics in the industry, the narrative could change in a few years.

The stigma can be found in all niches of the industry today, but these four individuals say that having an honest conversation with their family and friends helped them overcome the stigma.

Sanin, the co-founder of a Los-Angeles based cannabis confectionery company named Cloud 11, says a sit-down with her parents made all the difference. She acknowledged that she had difficulties while trying to explain how leaving fine dining to work in the cannabis industry was the right step for her career.

She said that her family was finally able to grasp that the low-dose edibles created at Cloud 11 were a high-end product that utilizes art in its making and packaging. It was unlike what she was doing in the dining world. She added that her mother showed interest in the creation process, and she taught her mother and some family and friends cannabis 101. She also said that focusing more on the plant's therapeutic benefits helped her folks understand more.

For Flores, he says he learned more about the stigma associated with selling cannabis at family gatherings. He jokingly added that being the favorite nephew helped his family soften up to him.


Reaching the Hispanic Population

Very little is being done to reach the Hispanic populations by cannabis brands. Valencia Fernandez said that this is one of the reasons why the number of Latino consumers is almost non-existent.

Valencia is the current vice president of marketing at TILT Holdings. She was formerly employed at L'Oreal. During her time there, she was in charge of an initiative that partnered with prominent Latino TV channels and magazines to spread the word about the Brand's products in English and Spanish. The initiative was a success.

She went on to say that the earlier American cannabis brands realize that Hispanic Americans do not belong to a single culture, the earlier the industry will observe a rise in Hispanic consumers in the cannabis space. The Hispanic market is significantly untapped, and the only way to enter this niche is to tell individual stories of the various cultures embedded therein.








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