The Asian Cannabis Roundtable (ACR) is ready for action. One of the nonprofit’s core missions is to unify, amplify, and represent Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) voices in the cannabis industry, and its initiatives for 2024 are certainly growing that goal by leaps and bounds. With the year’s excitement kicked off by leadership evolution in the form of new Executive Director Weiwei “Vivian” Fellman and additional Board members adding different perspectives to the mix, the organization now prepares for some of its biggest challenges and celebrations yet. 

Asian Cannabis Roundtable founder/President Kristin Jordan displays the lucky red envelopes at the 2024 Lunar New Year party in New York City (C) Maria Lau / Asian Cannabis Roundtable @marialauart
2024 Lunar New Year sponsors (C) Maria Lau / Asian Cannabis Roundtable @marialauart

The Asian Cannabis Roundtable Kicked Off 2024 With The Lunar New Year Party

Fellman, ACR founder and President Kristin Jordan, and the Board members were all-hands-on-deck to produce their Lunar New Year party, held in New York City at Work N Roll as both a fundraiser for the nonprofit and as a way to honor one of Asian culture’s most sacred holidays. Featuring treats such as infused chocolates from the husband-and-wife luxury brand IMIS Goodies, THC beverages from Ayrloom, a dab bar, and more, the event created a relaxing and joyful atmosphere that all attendees loved. Lucky red envelopes, a Lunar New Year tradition, were passed around the room so that each guest would receive a symbol of prosperity and good fortune for the months ahead.

With sponsors including the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association (NYMCIA), Etain, the New York Cannabis Retail Association (NYCRA), the Cannabis Association of New York (CANY), Vicente LLP, Grassi, Lunar Hard Seltzer, Makku, Nabis, Ayrloom, The Travel Agency, ELEVENELEVEN, Vigor Dispensary, Feuerstein Kulick, Higher Dama Consulting, Trends Cannabis Dispensary, Alta Dispensary, Yuet Ho Realty, Aeterna, Toast, IMIS Goodies, ONE Bar, and Kushi Labs - plus luminaries from the cannabis community - the night beautifully merged friendship, culture, and good causes together. 

Asian Cannabis Roundtable, Last Prisoner Project And Friends Drive 420 Unity Day Of Action

For 420 Week, the ACR team will join other mission-driven organizations in the 420 Unity Day of Action. As part of the largest bipartisan coalition of cannabis advocates ever to convene in Washington, D.C., they will head to the nation’s capital to rally for federal cannabis reform. Among their objectives: 1) Push for descheduling the plant completely, amid the government’s strong hints that a move from Schedule I to Schedule III may be imminent; 2) Urge our country’s leaders to legalize cannabis at the federal level; 3) Provide retroactive relief for those harmed by cannabis criminalization. 

A press conference will take place on Wednesday, April 17th to jumpstart the coalition’s activities; they will then attend the National Cannabis Festival’s Policy Summit from 10AM to 4PM at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library. A Lobby Day training session will follow, also at the Library. On Thursday, April 18th, organizers and participants will meet at the Congressional Visitor Center Auditorium at 9AM for introductory remarks. Meetings with individual legislators will happen from 11AM to 4PM, and the day will conclude with a White House Candlelight Vigil at Lafayette Square from 7PM to 10PM. (Interested in joining? Click here!)

The Asian Cannabis Roundtable is proud to be part of this momentous event. Directed by Last Prisoner Project, the 420 Unity Day of Action’s partners include: Drug Policy Alliance, Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Veterans Cannabis Coalition, Parabola Center, Reason Foundation, Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), National Cannabis Festival, National Craft Cannabis Coalition, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), Indigenous Cannabis Industry Association (ICIA), National Association of Black Cannabis Lawyers (NABCL), Freedom Grow, Marijuana Justice, Doctors for Drug Policy Reform, United Food and Commercial Workers, Bay Area Latino Cannabis Alliance (BALCA), Supernova Women, Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM), Better Organizing to Win Legalization (BOWL), Midwest Cannawomen, DC Marijuana Justice (DCMJ), and Just Leadership USA.

ACR Board members Peter Su, Mei-Ling Campbell, Jon Heredia, Alan Ao, Executive Director Weiwei "Vivian" Fellman, and founder/President Kristin Jordan (C) Maria Lau / Asian Cannabis Roundtable @marialauart

Join The Asian Cannabis Roundtable's Board Member Sesh On April 22nd

Then, on Monday April 22nd, the ACR leadership invites you to recover from the “high holiday” with a special virtual “sesh” with the Board members. Industry stakeholders are encouraged to tune in for this “Ask Me Anything” roundtable discussion, the first of the 2024 season. Click the Zoom link at 4:20PM on Earth Day to join the movement!

ACR Executive Director Weiwei "Vivian" Fellman (C) Maria Lau / Asian Cannabis Roundtable @marialauart

Asian Cannabis Roundtable's Executive Director Weiwei "Vivian" Fellman And Founder/President Kristin Jordan On Growing The Community

Ahead of the cannabis community’s most significant week, Honeysuckle spoke to ACR Executive Director Vivian Fellman and founder / President Kristin Jordan to learn about the organization’s initiatives for the coming year and how we can all grow more unity within the community. 

HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE: What are you most excited about as the Asian Cannabis Roundtable opens its new season? 

WEIWEI “VIVIAN” FELLMAN: Last year was my first year in the organization as a Board member. This year, as Executive Director, I’m excited to work with our new and returning Board members. Our full leadership team features me, Kristin Jordan as our President, our Treasurer Peter Su, and our Board members Alan Ao, Jon Heredia, Mei-Ling Campbell, and Helen Gomez Andrews.

We really want to keep pushing our mission and develop our membership, as well as our individual Professional Service committee. I don’t see myself as a leader, but as a server who’s here to serve everybody. My hope is to unite everyone to accomplish all our goals for 2024.

KRISTIN JORDAN: It’s also important to us to shift ACR’s focus from the East Coast to more of a national outlook. Among the many talents that Vivian brings to this organization, she is also an operator herself [founder of Kota Botanics] and situated in North Dakota, meaning she brings a perspective that’s helpful for people who are involved in all aspects of the supply chain. We want people to be empowered across the country and around the world. We’re here to uplift Asian people in cannabis all over the place.

FELLMAN: Even though ACR started in New York, we have members and Board members from across the country. Being from the Midwest, I foresee more and more [states] walking in the direction of legalization - Minnesota and Ohio recently passed recreational laws. I think that the Midwest is the central place to connect [West Coast and East Coast communities].

Fellman and Tanya Osborne of The CannaDiva (C) Maria Lau / Asian Cannabis Roundtable @marialauart

Vivian, you’re based in Fargo, North Dakota. What’s it like living in a state that doesn’t have any legalized cannabis at all yet, recreational or medical?

FELLMAN: Here in North Dakota, we are a super conservative state right now. My business Kota Botanics just focuses on hemp-based CBD, [but] it is very tough even to run a CBD business here. I recently sent out an email to all of our customers in North Dakota, telling them to take action and call [the state’s Department of Agriculture] because they are in the process of drafting more rules around THC potency in hemp and CBD products. Basically, they’ll wipe out a lot of products on our shelves. It’s unfortunate, but we’re fighting as much as we can.

I also do business in Minnesota, which [does have adult-use legalization]. So there’s a lot of hope in the Minnesota market, but without its [Cannabis Office] established yet, we don’t know what’s going to happen down the road. But we’re staying hopeful.

IMIS Goodies' infused chocolates at the Lunar New Year party (C) Maria Lau / Asian Cannabis Roundtable @marialauart

It’s great that organizations like the Asian Cannabis Roundtable are focusing on people from states that haven’t legalized adult-use cannabis. We’re starting to see more of a divide between people living in states that have mature markets, versus those in states where that hasn’t happened yet. 

FELLMAN: That is why I'm still very hopeful for the hemp business. It's federally legal; we can ship products to all 50 states. There is no [tax code] 280E hanging over our heads… I feel like hemp still has a great future [and] it’s easier to operate based on where I am right now. This is what I can do.

JORDAN: Vivian runs one of the preeminent CBD brands in the country, and sells into retail stores [in different states], many in New York also. She has those relationships, and in our network, from our stores, to the gadgets we consume with, those are majority-produced in Asian countries and exported to the U.S. We wanted to complete that supply chain in our leadership. Our board is comprised mostly of operators. I’m one of the few service providers. So to raise up actual licensees across the country was important, because those are the folks who have that experience and expertise that newer members coming into our organization are going to need. Frankly, we need to see Asian people in these leadership roles. 

And with this transfer of leadership to Vivian, it allows me and some of the other Board members to focus on building a national presence. Not only growing our membership, but also getting more involved on the lobbying side. [That’s why] we are part of the 420 Unity Day of Action together with the other affinity groups. And by sharing some of these leadership opportunities with other Board members, we’re able to just be present in more of these activities, especially in light of some of the Asian hate that we still see happening. It’s important for us to be a voice in all ways and nationally visible.

ACR Board and committee members and Lunar New Year party sponsors (C) Maria Lau / Asian Cannabis Roundtable @marialauart

What’s crucial to know about issues currently affecting Asian and Asian Americans in cannabis? 

JORDAN: Asian people are considered social equity participants, but oftentimes, we’re not seen as an impacted community. It’s important for AAPI people to educate our peers about the history of cannabis. Cannabis starts from our tradition, from our home countries, and was exported here. It has its origins in China and Korea. Generations ago, they were using plant medicine in the way that we use pharmaceuticals today. For some reason, the U.S. has not only exported our racism and negative drug policies to Asia, but we’ve also sent overseas our prohibitionist attitudes. In countries that traditionally used plant medicine, now you have instances of pop stars dying by suicide because they’re being associated with the plant. It’s important for us to reclaim that attachment to the plant and bring awareness and visibility to the fact that there is still prohibition globally and specifically in Asian countries. We have people who are persecuted, prosecuted, and imprisoned who look like me and Vivian in other countries. It doesn’t just happen here.

(C) Maria Lau / Asian Cannabis Roundtable @marialauart

What initiatives will the Asian Cannabis Roundtable be implementing this year?

FELLMAN: The Asian Cannabis Roundtable is still new. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we have a lot of things that we need to do. We are focusing on building our network within the cannabis industry, unite everybody and become the platform to connect people and help them find the resources they need. If new dispensary owners are looking for attorneys, accountants, we can connect them with the right people who have the experience [and] the reputation. If a cultivator is looking for retail businesses within their territory, we can support them in that. 

We just launched our membership program last year and [created] several committees. We want to continue building that. People are really curious and interested in those committees. We also have several conferences lined up [where we can] increase our brand recognition and recruit more members to join us in those communities.

JORDAN: It’s a completely collaborative environment that we’re trying to build here… When we soft-launched our committees, the feedback we got was wonderful. The Cultivation Committee, the Retail Committee, these are operators in different markets, so they felt like they could share best practices, vendors, resources. We’re finding that, because we aren’t a large population, we can find these folks in places where they’re the only ones standing alone [in their states]. If we bring them all together, it becomes this community where the Retail Committee can use their buying power together or host different speakers to [specifically address] the issues they have. The Committees empower our members to figure out what programming and resources we need for them. [It’s about] listening to the constituency.

FELLMAN: There are also a lot of things we can do to connect people outside of cannabis professionals.

JORDAN: With the Professional Services Committee, our goal and intention is to reach out to other business groups, for example lawyers’ associations and the Indian-Southeast Asian Chamber of Commerce. There are a number of different Asian-connected business organizations that are interested in cannabis. We want to be that connector and conduit for investment and education. We are also very thoughtful about cannabis for medicine and wellness, and to that extent, we have the capabilities for translation services for [consumers] trying to access that. Many of our constituents are doctors or medical professionals, so we want to think about both the business side and the care of people who are using it as a wellness tool.

How can the general community support the Asian Cannabis Roundtable? 

JORDAN: Folks should mark their calendar for every Lunar New Year, which will be our annual fundraiser in New York City. We’re hoping to roll out more celebratory events like that so we can introduce Asian culture, cuisine, and festivities in a fun environment. Our Lunar New Year party is always supposed to be a celebration of the new year, our good fortune and camaraderie. We really want to own that as an event that connects people together in a way that feels festive. 

You don’t see that much in cannabis; it’s mostly programming or serious [topics]. Ours is always going to be the celebration for our community. At this February’s party, we called people up on stage and took pictures of licensees, and not just Asians. We intend to be good allies to other affinity groups. We stand in allyship with groups like MCBA and M4MM to recognize people who are under-resourced and underrepresented. They’ve always stood up for us.

Will there be any focus on breaking the stigma within family units as part of the Asian Cannabis Roundtable’s programming?

FELLMAN: We don’t have anything specific planned yet, but [helping] educate and destigmatize the plant for our parents, grandparents, and the whole Asian community is something we’re adding to our Roundtable mission. Education is very important in order to get support from families. You need to help them understand what this is, and why it’s so important not to treat your kids or grandchildren as criminals. That discrimination, it runs deep [in our culture].

I was born and raised in China; I was told by the government that cannabis is evil, and once you touch it, you’re going to Hell. That’s how I was raised, and I’m sure many Asian people were raised that way too. It is going to be one of our missions to educate the community to destigmatize the plant itself.

How will the Asian Cannabis Roundtable be handling multi-state initiatives?

JORDAN: We’re getting a lot of interest around the country, but we want to be mindful of our bandwidth. We’re being mindful about how much we want to take on this year… So this is going to be a bit of a listening year as we ramp up and bring people in to see what kind of supports are needed from the Committees. We saw a lot of interest in the traditional supply chain - Cultivation, Retail, even Legacy. For us, it’s going to be a thoughtful, careful approach to make sure that we can actually deliver what we promise. Our intention is to be here for a long time, so we need to build that foundation before we can expand too quickly. Again, I’m very excited for Vivian’s leadership because she brings a vantage point as an operator that I, as a non-operator, don’t have. It’ll be thrilling to see how she sees the industry and addresses the needs of our membership. 

What is the best way for people to learn more about the Asian Cannabis Roundtable?

FELLMAN: We’re on Instagram at @asiancannabisroundtable and LinkedIn has also been a fantastic platform for us to broadcast our messages and events. People can sign up for our monthly newsletter. These are ways that folks can connect with us most effectively right now.

Join the Asian Cannabis Roundtable on Thursday, April 18th for the 420 Unity Day of Action (click here to sign up). Then “sesh” with the ACR Board on Monday, April 22nd at 4:20PM EST (click here to join). For more about ACR, visit


Written By:

Jaime Lubin is Honeysuckle's Editor-At-Large. Her writing has appeared in HuffPost, Observer, Billboard and more. Also an actress and singer, she can be found on Twitter and Instagram.

@jaimelubin (IG)

@jaimelubin (Twitter)


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Asian Cannabis Roundtable

Weiwei "Vivian" Fellman

Kristin Jordan

Kota Botanics

Park Jordan Real Estate

Last Prisoner Project

National Cannabis Festival

Jaime Lubin


Featured image: Board and committee members of the Asian Cannabis Roundtable at the 2024 Lunar New Year Party in New York City. Left to right: Steven Phan, Peter Su, Weiwei "Vivian" Fellman, Kristin Jordan, and Alan Ao. (C) Maria Lau / Asian Cannabis Roundtable @marialauart