INDUSTRY

9 Notable Hispanic and Latino Professionals in Cannabis Today

The Hispanic and Latino communities do not get enough recognition for their groundbreaking achievements in cannabis.
The Hispanic and Latino communities do not get enough recognition for their groundbreaking achievements in cannabis. /

September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month – a time to honor the accomplishments of Hispanic and Latino people both in the U.S. and around the world, celebrating their diverse cultures and histories while recognizing the adversity and prejudice they’ve been forced to grapple with for centuries.

These accomplishments are particularly recognized and appreciated in the cannabis industry. The plant was undeniably stigmatized in the early 1900s due to racist propaganda against Mexican immigrants, but despite this attempt to demonize Hispanic and Latino people along with the healing plant, the community has made incredible contributions to pushing the plant forward, erasing the stigma, and guiding it to the present day of mass legalization.

This roundup includes some of the most notable Hispanic and Latino changemakers in the cannabis industry, both within the U.S. and beyond.

9 Hispanic and Latino Professionals to Watch in Cannabis

From medical doctors and researchers to influencers who are changing the way cannabis is viewed and respected throughout the world, these eight Hispanic and Latino professionals are particularly notable for their fearless contributions to the success of the plant.

Without further ado…

1. Cristina Sánchez

Spain-based Cristina Sánchez, PhD, has studied the effect of cannabinoids on lipid and carbohydrate intermediate metabolism, as well as on cancer cell proliferation.

Her research centers on the desire to understand cannabinoids as potential antitumoral agents in breast cancer – something that could be revolutionary in the field.

2. Dr. Chanda Macias

Dr. Chanda Macias is easily one of the most influential women in cannabis. A Louisiana-based entrepreneur and national cannabis industry leader, Dr. Macias has dedicated the past 15 years to advancing the careers of women and minorities in cannabis, while also working hard to improve the quality of life in suffering patients around the world.

She is currently the CEO at Ilera Holistic, a fully-integrated medical cannabis company that utilizes the plant to discover life-changing therapies for patients in need.

3. Javier Hasse

Javier Hasse has had a tremendous influence over how cannabis is reported on in the media. He has decades of experience as a cannabis, hemp, CBD, and psychedelics reporter, with bylines in major publications like Forbes and Playboy. 

Today, he is the Managing Director at Benzinga Cannabis, as well as the co-founder and CEO at El Planteo, a Spanish media outlet that focuses on cannabis, hemp, psychedelics, and “other forward-thinking topics scarcely covered by local media.”

4. Christine De La Rosa

Christine De La Rosa is a tireless champion of cannabis’s legacy market, working around the clock to ensure that legacy and minority operators are awarded their fair share of today’s legal industry.

She is the CEO and co-founder at The People’s Ecosystem, founder of The People’s DAO, and an experienced cannabis entrepreneur, advocate, and public speaker.

5. Facu Banzas

Cannabis influencer Facu Banzas has made tremendous contributions to the socialization of cannabis. A Twitch streamer and YouTuber based out of Argentina, he is fearless in his advocacy of the plant, especially in a country where the plant remains fully illegal and highly stigmatized.

The concept of his creative work is akin to Jerry Seinfeld’s and Larry David’s “show about nothing” – the man simply turns on his webcam, sparks up a joint, and starts talking about life. While this approach might sound basic, it’s globally relatable, and works to bring cannabis away from its stigma as the “devil” and back to its reality as a healing and social plant.

6. Vladimir Bautista

Based in New York City, Vladimir Bautista is CEO and co-founder at Happy Munkey – and one of the first legacy operators to really make a mark on New York City’s expanding cannabis community. 

Under Bautista’s leadership, Happy Munkey hosts popular VIP events that work to connect the City’s politicians, chefs, doctors, influencers, athletes and creative artists with one another under one common theme: a mutual love of the cannabis plant.

7. Polita Pepper

Genlizzie Garibay, known in the cannabis industry as “Polita Pepper,” is a Mexican activist, teacher, Cannabis Cup judge, producer, and speaker within the cannabis space.

Polita Pepper has dedicated her life to expanding legalization, cultivating cannabis community, and growing the plant at home for the benefit of her loved ones. She also conducts her own research on the plant, promoting the cultural use of cannabis and other medicinal herbs throughout the continent.

8. Mariano Duque Velasco

Based in Spain, Mariano Duque Velasco is one of the most prominent cultivators in the country. He opened the Asociación Club Medical THC in Spain, which allowed him to legally cultivate the plant.

Once Uruguay legalized cannabis in 2013, Duque Velasco traveled to the country to share his experience and insights. The trip inspired him to found BSF Seeds, one of the most popular cannabis seed banks in the Spanish-speaking world.

9. Priscilla Vilchis

Known by the community as “The HollyWeedQueen,” Priscilla Vilchis is a trailblazing Latina in the West Coast cannabis scene.

As the CEO and CMO of Premium Produce, Vilchis has earned her reputation as the most interesting female in the cannabis industry. She was the youngest and first-ever minority CEO to be awarded cultivation and production licenses in Nevada, and regularly provides consulting advice to brands and businesses trying to break into the industry.

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