There are many cannabis brands out there, but how many have the flavor, intensity, spice, and passion of Latino culture? Meet HUMO, (smoke in English), a cannabis brand born from a collaboration between Susie Placencia, Latina activist and entrepreneur, and POSIBL, a Salinas-based cannabis powerhouse.
In this exclusive conversation with Benzinga, Placencia shares her thoughts on Latino communities, the relationship between women and marijuana and how to run an efficient cannabis brand.
Susie Placencia’s story could be that of many Latino entrepreneurs in the U.S.
Plascencia is committed to providing meaningful representation in an industry that has caused disproportionate harm to Latinos, which translates into obstacles to joining the industry. In addition, says Plascencia, there are family pressures and gender-based expectations for women resulting in a lack of confidence, which she believes can be overcome through education and work.
Placencia is a graduate of the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California where she holds a Master’s degree in Journalism and a BA in Public Relations. After working as a budtender in California for several years, she co-founded MOTA Glass, a leading brand of US-made functional glass.
In 2020, Merry Jane Media named Plascencia a top “cannabis power player.” In 2022, Marijuana Venture magazine included her in their 40 Under 40 rising stars in the industry.
Could You Build A Cannabis Brand? Yes, It’s POSIBL
Fortunately, along her path, Plascencia found resourceful partners. Jesús Burrola, CEO of POSIBL, an innovative cannabis farm and engine of several major California brands. He asked her to collaborate with HUMO.
“You have to make sure that you are creating an environment where your potential partners come to you,” she noted, adding that she made sure to choose companies that matched her values. And that’s how she found POSIBL.
“By la Raza, pa’ la Raza.” That is how Humo’s Burrola and Plascencia define their cannabis brand: by and for the Latino community.
Equality in the Cannabis Industry: National Latinos in Cannabis Day
Plascencia keeps up with her advocacy work among Latinos in the cannabis space. She lobbied on September 30 for National Latinos in Cannabis Day during National Hispanic Heritage Month.
“I want people to take this holiday as a day to recognize the many Latinos who make this industry what it is today,” she said. “You are Latino, so talk about your culture, where you come from, and your cannabis use. You also speak loudly about your business, your work, and your career. This is your day,” she told Benzinga.
As a storyteller, Placencia created an Instagram channel to communicate with her numerous followers. As a brand partner, Placencia oversees HUMO’S brand development, social media, marketing and sales.
HUMO, A Mexican-American Brand In California
In addition to focusing on California’s Mexican-American and Latino cultures, the company also aims to support Salinas farm workers and their families through partnerships with other local companies and by organizing regular events such as toys, clothing, and shoe drives for those in need. The company also works with the Social Impact Center to develop cannabis education programs in the region.
Recognizing her branding as “classic,” Placencia says: “We wanted our brand to be iconic and to last. We have quality cannabis that’s consistently good at a price point that people love.” Non-Latinos also appreciate the fact that HUMO has a bit California and a bit of the Latino community woven into the fabric of this country as well.
HUMO’s craft cannabis is sustainably grown in smart greenhouses powered by its parent company, POSIBL in Monterey County, California. Leveraging a state-of-art system that uses less to do more, POSIBL brings the best greenhouse technology and expertise from traditional agriculture into cannabis, and pairs it with the best possible genetics to produce the perfect flower — grown in an ethical, sustainable, free-of-pesticide and cost-efficient way, year-round.
Keeping Your Business Strong Against All Odds
The hardships facing the industry have taken a toll on brands and growers, some of whom have unfortunately begun to close down their operations in California.
“What’s going to happen in the next year or two is that the brands that will survive are going to be the brands that we know and trust because they’ve been able to withstand,” she said, adding that HUMO is one of them.
“In the next two years, I see us launching new products, new lines, and collaborations. And of course, extending it to other states. Right now we’re only in California, but we can’t wait to take it to other states when the time is right and expand our footprint, just like other iconic Latino brands.”
Reserva De La Familia
If you’ve never had dinner in a Latino household, you’re missing out. We keep our best products for visitors and everyone is invited, hence, we’re well known for our hospitality. And HUMO is no different.
La Familia is HUMO’s private cannabis reserve, a line of products from unique cultivars that by nature cannot be manufactured on a large scale. Only limited quantities.
“It’s what our family smokes, and now we can bring it to other people. That’s where the inspiration came from. With this line, we’re respecting the work of the breeders. If it waeren’t for the talent, knowledge and thirst for experimentation of the breeding community, we wouldn’t have the varieties we smoke today. So we are respecting the breeders with this line,” Placencia said. The first two strains available are Neverita and Crema Naranja.
If you’d like to read the story of Reserva La Familia launching in Spanish click HERE.
Come and meet women like Susie Placencia who are making positive and essential changes in the cannabis industry at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference on April 11-12. Do you run a cannabis company but don’t have a marketing budget to pay for an event of this magnitude? Don’t worry! At Benzinga, we understand. Find out more about our social equity opportunities here.
All Images Are Courtesy Of Humo
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