It’s Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to American history and culture. In recent years, the cannabis industry has seen a surge in participation from Asian Americans, who have overcome cultural and societal barriers to become successful entrepreneurs, advocates, and innovators.
To celebrate this exciting month we’re highlighting some of the inspiring Asian Americans in the cannabis industry and their stories, in order to encourage others to embrace their heritage and contribute to the industry's growth and diversity.
Founder of On The Revel, President of the Cannabis Media Council
Tsui is an Oregon-raised Chinese-American woman who took the cannabis community in NYC to the next level. Six years ago, she co-founded On The Revel which helped produce online and in-person events for cannabis businesses and legacy operators.
Tsui’s main focus in her endeavors is to build an industry that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive in all aspects. You can see Lulu in our Clio Award-winning Empress State photoshoot, honoring women leaders of the East Coast.
Founder and Owner of Calm Better Days
Amy Chin founded Calm Better Days as a way to help people get into CBD and find what works for them. As a woman who suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety, she found solace in using CBD as a form of treatment.
The cannamom uses Calm Better Days to assist clients on their journey with CBD, from what form to use and where to get it to how much to take. With Chin’s work people of all walks of life can reap the benefits of CBD.
You can see Amy in our Legacy Women photoshoot in our 16th print edition, available now.
Founder and CEO of Park Jordan and Cannabis Compliance Professor at LIM College
Kristin Jordan has been a fixture in the NYC cannabis community for years now—from founding cannabis companies to working in lifestyle real estate. In 2019, she launched the Asian Cannabis Roundtable (ACR) to help Asian Americans within the industry to connect, share ideas, and ultimately strengthen the community as a whole.
In 2021, she founded Park Jordan, a full-service commercial real estate brokerage and advisory services firm serving the cannabis industry. Last year, Jordan joined the LIM College faculty as an adjunct professor for the new Business of Cannabis Undergraduate and Master's degree programs.
Chief Executive Officer of Gift of Doja and Co-Founder of Supernova Women
Nina Parks is an important facet of the cannabis industry in California as an advocate for cannabis equity programs. As a 10-year veteran of the cannabis space, she has been an integral co-founder of numerous organizations, particularly Oakland’s Supernova Women, a nonprofit that empowers Black and brown women to own businesses.
She also served as San Francisco’s first Chair of The Cannabis Oversight Committee. In 2020, Parks became CEO of the lifestyle brand Gift of Doja. With her background in youth diversion programs and cultural events, she has helped new cannabis brands, regulations, and policies maintain a humanitarian outlook.
Geraldine (Gigi) Cueva
Sales Leader in Retail Partnerships, Podcast Host, & Cannabis Culture Crusader
Geraldine Mae “Gigi” Cueva is a Brooklyn-born Filipina woman who has devoted her work to “building communities and connecting brands to drive conscious commerce.” The bi-coastal “chillanthropist” focuses on ethical partnerships between cannabis brands to help improve the cannabis industry and create a better experience for consumers.
Her journey has taken her from developing fashion startup brands to creating her own collaborative platform, Art & Times of Chill, and amplifying Filipina voices in an Instagram Live series, Pinay Fresh, developed from her Amplify Your Chill podcast. Among the women and BIPOC-owned brands Gigi currently represents as a sales and retail partnerships lead are Barbari, Xula, Kiskanu Hemp, House of Puff, 024, Her Why, and many more.
Cannabis Policy Reporter at Politico
Mona Zhang is a notable cannabis journalist who focuses on policy. As the founder and editor of the cannabis newsletter World on the Tree (2017-2019), she became known as one of the East Coast’s foremost media thought leaders on legalization. Before attaining her position at Politico, she covered cannabis-related topics for Forbes, The Outline, High Times, and more, and was an editor at Mediabistro for several years.
Owner of Café Cannal
Maya Hayashi runs Café Cannal, a women-led cafe in New York City that welcomes all consumers to experience cannabis in a safe and responsible manner. Her business focuses on inclusivity and acceptance to curate an inviting and enjoyable social alternative for the cannabis community.
With Cafe Cannal co-founder, Chef Anwuli Obidi, Hayashi partners with local growers and trusted CBD brands to deliver compliant products that are certified organic for a unique experience in their scenic sidewalk cafe.
Dr. June Chin
Chief Medical Officer of Hursana and Clinical Professor at NYU
Dr. Junella Chin, a national leader in integrative healthcare, has spent over 20 years researching and improving holistic medicine, particularly after discovering that cannabis was an effective pain reliever as she coped with her own spinal condition.
As a bicoastal medical professional, she has worked with various clinics focusing on CBD and wellness. She has devoted her time to educating and advocating for cannabis and wellness-focused education for budding health professionals at New York University (NYU).
As the founder of MedLeaf RX, she has created numerous protocols for the evolving medical cannabis industry. Chin is also a member of New York State’s Cannabis Advisory Board (CAB).
Head of Marketing for Statehouse Holdings, Lucid Green Board Advisor
Angela Pih is considered a pioneer of innovative software platforms within the cannabis industry. She is a three-time Clio Award winner amongst many other exciting accolades for her efforts in developing marketing technology like eCommerce and analytics tools.
Pih devotes her time to improving marketing strategies for cannabis businesses and making education and media spaces more inclusive and diverse.
Chef and Cannaisseur
Charleen Cabay is a leading chef within the cannabis industry. They made their mark within the Food Network universe by being the first Filipino American womxn to win Chopped.
As a cannabis advocate and former restaurateur, the chef co-founded The People’s Ecosystem, based in Oakland, which serves communities around the country to promote equity in the cannabis industry and provide financial education and opportunities for womxn and BIPOC entrepreneurs.
Founder, and Creative Director of Sundae School
Dae Lim is a cannabis advocate and artist at heart. He worked in various areas of the fashion industry before entering the ever-growing cannabis industry of NYC. Lim developed a Korean-inspired design studio to sell craft cannabis products and apparel to consumers. Sundae School is for consumers that have an affinity for colorful and street-style aesthetics.
COO Pax Labs Inc. and Weedmaps Advisor
For over six years, Jung helped develop Weedmaps, the leading connector of cannabis brands to potential consumers. He now works as the Chief Operating Officer of award-winning brand PAX Labs while still advising Weedmaps leadership. With a background in marketing and business strategies at Twitter, he has taken the cannabis industry to the next level with his work.
Founder of Our Dream
Hilary Yu is a young creative that founded Our Dream (Our Academy), a socially inclusive digital cannabis space that is inclusive. She uses Our Academy to champion minorities’ voices and bring awareness to education and culture inequities within the cannabis space.
Our Academy has various programs and blog pages that allow people to share their stories, receive mentorships, gain equitable education, and learn from legacy operators that were affected by the War on Drugs.
Executive Director NYC NORML
Ryan Lepore uses his expertise in media and cannabis to act as the executive director of the NYC chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and as a member of the Board of Directors for Empire State NORML.
The political organization focuses on advocacy for cannabis consumers and legislation reform. Lepore devotes his work to empowering NYC’s cannabis consumers through grassroots activism and education.
Artist, Performer, Experience Designer, Co-Founder of Late Cambrian
Olive Hui (許上思) aka Pineapple O is a non-binary BIPOC artist, performer, producer and cannabis advocate based in New York City. They were the official Cantonese voice for the NYC Department of Health during the pandemic. Their creative projects include Late Cambrian, Fashion Bird Danger Danger, FLETISH, HotelO.K.ByeBye and King Bedtime.
Olive utilizes their presence and platforms to highlight the mental and physical health benefits of cannabis. They are passionate about elevating immersive art experiences with CBD, THC and psychedelics. Water, the symbol of fluidity and abundance is a recurring theme in their work.
Digital & Experiential Marketer for Cannabis, Wine/Spirits, and Wellness Brands
Hailing from Seattle, Kieryn Wang focuses on developing marketing strategies for cannabis brands. She founded ALMOSTCONSULTING, an experiential and digital marketing platform for cannabis, spirits, and wellness brands, to improve the shopping experience for consumers.
Wang is committed to empowering women in the cannabis space. She partnered with the equity-focused Cannaclusive to power InclusiveBase, a platform, and database where BIPOC-owned businesses can connect.
General Manager of Gold House
Christine Yi and her business partner Felicity Chen made a splash in the cannabis industry in 2019 with Potli, a brand that became instantly recognizable for its infused cooking oils and sauces.
Today, Yi and Chen focus even further on developing a cultural ecosystem to empower the next generation of AAPI creatives and entrepreneurs, as the founders of the venture capital and media ecosystem Gold House, which has partnered with companies such as Disney and Meta to support AAPI storytelling.
Through her various missions with funding and partnership opportunities to networking, education, and advising, Yi does all that she can to ensure opportunities in the cannabis industry continue to be accessible.