Last year, we reported on several Latinas in cannabis who have created a space within the highly lucrative yet still young (legally) cannabis business. This is a feat worth not only mentioning, but championing, as, in 2017, according to Marijuana Business Daily, Hispanics and African Americans together accounted for only 10% of cannabis founders and owners, compared to 81% of White entrepreneurs. And when it comes to Latinas in cannabis, we are even less present in the weed industry–but we are present. In fact, here are three more Latinx women making moves in the cannabis world that you should know about. 

Claudia L. Mercado of Calibueno

Claudia Mercado, founder and CEO of Oakland, California-based Calibueno, wants to “show up as a Latina Entrepreneur in the cannabis industry and make history.” The brand, which operates as a distributor and manufacturer, also provides delivery services, to get cannabis directly to consumers, including the many Latinxs who deal with pain.

Latinas in cannabis

Image Credit: Calibueno,

When BoldLatina asked Claudia what has been the biggest challenge she has had to overcome with her venture, she shared, “Figuring out all of the regulatory compliance at a local and state level and having to constantly pivot and strategize as the industry continuer to evolve.” Claudia’s efforts to drive her business and her leadership in the cannabis space have led her to be accepted as part of Cohort 8 of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI) to help her grow her network and scale Calibueno through fundraising.

Claudia’s best advice to fellow weed entrepreneurs who want to enter the cannabis space is to, “Get involved at the local level as soon as possible. Without local approval, the state will not grant a state license. There is still a lot of local governments that do not want cannabis and it’s, unfortunately, leaving a lot of communities vulnerable as they continue to resort to the black market and consume unsafe products.”

To learn more about weed entrepreneurs of color like Claudia and the growth of cannabis business in California – listen to Latino USA’s ‘Weed The People’ podcast episode.

Yvonne Peréz Emerson of Make & Mary ™

Make & Mary founded in 2016 and with “roots in folk medicine and heritage craft making,” is the brainchild of Latinx Yvonne Peréz Emerson. The Portland-based company creates aromatherapy, beauty, and wellness products containing safe and clean ingredients, including CBD oil, cannabis essential oil, and lavender essential oil. Make & Mary’s products focus on the one-centered solution: anti-inflammatory. “Because of cannabinoids’ anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties, using it can reduce puffiness, swelling, and even soreness.” Sign us up!

Latinas in cannabis

BoldLatina asked Yvonne why she entered the Cannabis space, she shared this,  “I have had a relationship with plant medicine all of my life. When I was a young mother I wanted to be proactive in the health of my family. I wanted to be my family’s healer. I began creating my own tinctures, salves, and beauty products out of necessity. I was concerned about the quality of the ingredients and where they were sourced. At the same time, I grew up in a family where mota was a part of our world, both medicinally and recreationally.

Yvonne’s self-funded her business as well as runs her own design firm led Make & Mary, as busy as she was managed to complete the first-ever cannabis accelerator program for female founders called The Initiative.

Yvonne believes for any Latina who wants to enter the cannabis space you must “Start from the heart. I really believe that nothing can flourish without being heart-centered first. Ask yourself why you want to be in this space. What will you benefit from it and what will others? This plant is a healing herb and you have to understand its powers as such.” 

Yvonne is active in giving back to the community as well as diversity efforts in the space of cannabis and makes the point, “I am working on ways I can help with the expunging POC’s who are still incarcerated for cannabis. How can we reap the benefits on the backs of others who are still in jail for weed?” We agree 200%.

Carol Ortega of Muisca Capital Group

Carol Ortega is Founder and Managing Director of Muisca Capital Group, an investment management firm that provides venture capital, acquisitions, and business incubation to assist Latinx cannabis businesses to reach their full potential. As the founder of Muisca Capital Group – Carol and her firm have been able to create an ecosystem for Latin America’s entry into the cannabis space through Cannabiz Latino Hub, the first investment summit in Latin America for the cannabis industry. The next event takes place in May 2020 in Bogotá, Colombia.

As if her plate isn’t full enough, Carol serves as the founder of Cannabicos Entrepreneurs Network of Colombia (RECC), whose mission is to empower and educate Latino cannibal entrepreneurs to ensure full participation and active leadership within the emerging legal cannabis industry. This year, the organization will put out the 2nd edition of its Cannaciencia simulation. Cannaciencia is the largest medical cannabis symposium in the Americas, with a scientific approach that brings together renowned scientists, academics, doctors, pharmacists, industrialists, legislators, entrepreneurs and technologies. The symposium is designed to provide education and training of the latest relevance on global advances in the field of medical cannabis.

Latinas in the cannabis industry are forging new ground, career success and representation in the cannabis industry. And we are here for it!

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