We work to advance economic equity within California’s cannabis industry.
Since 2016, the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce Foundation (CalAsian Foundation) has created pathways for marginalized communities to pursue business ownership and employment opportunities in the cannabis industry.
Our expertise in providing business assistance services to minority communities and advocacy efforts, as well as our powerful network of state and local regulators, elected officials, corporations, investors, diverse entrepreneurs, and community stakeholders enable us to create opportunities for communities to build proficiency and wealth in the cannabis industry.
Through our social equity incubator program, we offer business training and consulting to predominately minority communities and those impacted by the failed War on Drugs. Considering each community’s unique needs, including cultural and language barriers, we provide mentorship and targeted training to aspiring entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses.
We act as a convener and connector within California’s diverse cannabis industry. We leverage our expansive network to hold important conversations on equity and inclusion, provide small businesses with the latest news and opportunities, and learn best practices from industry leaders across the country via our roundtable discussions and Annual Cannabis External Study Mission.
Our job training program targets individuals in underserved communities who have an interest in a cannabis career. The training program teaches participants about the industry, various job opportunities, connects them to job fairs, and provides job placement assistance.
Our relationships with local and state officials allow us to bring the voice of our minority and small business communities to the table in important policy and regulation conversations. Our goal is to reduce barriers to entry and ensure equitable opportunities within the cannabis industry for all.
The CalAsian Foundation has created a business incubator program for those facing tremendous hurdles to entering the cannabis industry due to cultural and language barriers, arrest records, and limited resources. We work with local jurisdictions to provide training, mentorship, business plan development, and support needed to ensure that the emerging cannabis market is accessible to all, regardless of economic status, gender, race, or criminal history.
We currently operate programs in Sacramento and Los Angeles and are actively seeking more partner jurisdictions.
Since March 2019, we have worked with the City of Sacramento’s Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity (CORE) program to provide business and job training to individuals in the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. Our Sacramento Grow Green program helps business owners and entrepreneurs start and expand operations through a five-phase approach.
The job training program was piloted in 2020 with two cohorts that participated in a four-day “cannabis specialist” job training series. Participants were connected to job fairs with strategic partners and received job placement assistance. For program information, qualifications or to apply, visit SacramentoGrowGreen.com
AAPIs are increasingly starting cannabis businesses and moving up the ranks in cannabis corporations. In addition to the stereotypes, perceptions, and culture barriers, many AAPIs must combat the cannabis stigma that is prominent within their own families and communities, and recently have had to address an increase in anti-AAPI discrimination.
Join the CalAsian Foundation and other leaders for a wide-reaching conversation on the AAPI experience in the cannabis industry. Hear stories from successful AAPI leaders and entrepreneurs, discuss the growing opportunities within the sector, the ongoing industry challenges, and how we can normalize cannabis within our own communities.
Check back for updates on upcoming Cannabis Talks.
In 2021, we were part of a group selected to help the City of Los Angeles build and manage their Business Licensing and Compliance (BLC) Program. BLC is the educational and training arm of the City’s Department of Cannabis Regulation Social Equity Program, which aims to “decrease disparities in life outcomes for marginalized communities, and to address the disproportionate impacts of the War on Drugs in those communities.”
Working with the city and our partners, we are building a program that will help aspiring cannabis businesses navigate the licensing process, understand cannabis business operations and compliance, acquire business savvy to discern predatory practices, and increase workforce development and job placement knowledge.
For more information on this program, contact Frank Louie, COO/Business Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each year, we lead a delegation of California leaders on a multi-day study mission to engage with and learn best practices from a city leading the industry. The trip is packed with tours, panel discussions, and meetings with key stakeholders.
Frank Louie brings a very diverse business background to the chamber’s management team. He led a very successful 22-year career in management leadership positions in sales and operations for Xerox Corporation. Most recently, Louie served as General Manager for the Public Sector Northwest Region focusing on the state, local and education markets. He also has extensive experience working for start-up technology companies in the Internet payment and billing space, and the Alternative Energy industry.
Brandon Lewis joined the Sacramento Asian Chamber of Commerce in April of 2019 as a project manager for the CORE program. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Business Management. Previously he worked for the state government for three years implementing and managing numerous tax and assistance programs, mainly on special projects, collections, accounting and working directly with the public. Brandon is very well equipped in managing programs using his analytical and technical skills. Prior to attending graduate school he worked for one of the top local land use law firms as a clerk where he assisted the attorneys with research, presentations, exhibits and fundraisers.
Wesley Brown has been with the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce and the Sacramento Grow Green program since 2019. He is an intake coordinator and is focused on equity and diversification of the cannabis space. Previously, He worked in the Bay Area and Humboldt as a private consultant for cannabis businesses.
Cannabis has an extensive history in AAPI cultures. Despite this, the cannabis industry is often stigmatized in AAPI communities, and misconceptions are spread. Our partners at Weedmaps shared information about the history of cannabis in AAPI cultures and what AAPI representation in the industry means.
The AAPI Cannabis Collective is an AAPI-led education movement that strives for a more inclusive and accessible cannabis community among AAPI.
While global acceptance of cannabis is growing globally, there is still a need to destigmatize, educate, and guide AAPI, especially older generations and non-English speakers, about the wellness benefits of cannabis.
This initiative is just the start of a massive movement to mobilize and have our own community support a plant with boundless potential. Learn more below.
For updates on our work in the cannabis industry, our programs and upcoming events, sign up for our Cannabis mailing list.