Diana is joined by Sysamone Phaphon and Eunice Kim to discuss an educational initiative to create cannabis access for the AAPI community.
Sysamone Phaphon and Eunice Kim collaborated to create an ongoing education initiative for cannabis literacy and accessibility for the AAPI communities. With the help of many other AAPI cannabis activists, they published a book that translates cannabis terminology into many Asian languages.
The book contains easy-to-understand definitions of cannabis terms, as well as information about the various ways cannabis can be used and consumed. It also includes stories from AAPI patients and advocates who have experienced the healing effects of cannabis firsthand. Following the book's release, Sysamone and Eunice held a series of community events to promote its message and allow people to learn more about cannabis in an open and safe environment. Through their efforts, they hope to make sure that everyone has access to education about cannabis so that they can make informed decisions about their health care.
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Speaker 1 0:16
Welcome to Your Highness podcast. I'm your host, Diana Krach. And we are kicking off Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with two amazing guests. We have Sysamone, Phaphon it did I say? Yeah, you did. And Eunice Kim, how are you both doing today?
Speaker 2 0:42
Doing great. I am in Vegas. So taking this from here and you can't complain when you're out here. Yeah. And
Speaker 3 0:50
I'm doing well in Los Angeles. Thank you so much for having us on.
Speaker 1 0:55
Well, thank you for being very patient with me. People who are listening don't know but it took a lot to get here. So. So before we begin our discussion, we're going to start with a recurring segment that we do every episode, fav pot, shave not pot. So it can be anything cannabis related and anything non cannabis related that you're just like really feeling right now. It's not something that you have to dedicate your whole life to like this is my favorite thing forever and ever. It could just be your favorite thing right now in the moment. So I'm going to start with my fav pot. I was recently gifted these beautiful earrings that I'm actually wearing. I don't know if you can really see them. But they are by ranchera mommy, and each piece is handcrafted, one of a kind originals sourced directly from their hemp gardens. They also have a hemp brand called ranchera familia, and they're my like my favorite pen pre rolls. Anyway, these are the first ever real hemp leaf earrings, cold pressed and hand painted reason. So check these out, because she's making a whole line of jewelry with these and it's, they're beautiful. They're very delicate. And she has necklaces she's she's also making these really cool crowns. So I'll put the link in the show notes. But anyway, so see Simone, what is your favorite part right now?
Speaker 2 2:31
My favorite part now? I would say I've just been indulging in a bunch of different cannabis and hemp CBD drinks I've been indulging a lot in the Wonder brand lately. I really love their watermelon basil flavor and I've just been finding different ways to consume and lately right now with a lot of like rebuilding the brand and working it's just nice to have like a drink next to you and just sipping on that as working in so at the current moment I'm indulging in wonder brands watermelon basil flavor.
Unknown Speaker 3:10
And what about you Eunice
Speaker 3 3:13
Oh, I am such a fan of a Golden State's flower Have you tried their flower it's it's out here in California. I would say some of my favorite and I love all their strains but I think I'm especially loving their new one called Alpine sunrise which is a nice daytime kind of an energetic blend and loving that one right now.
Speaker 1 3:43
That's amazing. That sounds they both sound really good. I wish I had access but maybe
Speaker 2 3:50
here in California maybe someday when you come to California or one of us goes to Maryland
Speaker 1 3:56
right I know it's like this sounds a lot more learning to go to California can't really learn are you here with anything overpriced living anyway um there is a California Maryland though that is effect Alright, so moving my fav not pot is Yellowjackets season two and I don't know if you both watch the show I'm not going to give any spoilers but it's I was really worried that the season two yeah I was worried because showtimes Showtime show they, in my experience. Their second seasons are usually kind of like a disappointment compared to the first one. So I was really worried but it's not. It's so good. It's such a good show. I can't really say anything without ruining anything. So Oh, it's one of those it's on Showtime.
Unknown Speaker 5:06
Unknown Speaker 5:07
I do the Paramount plus Showtime subscription. So I can watch drag race and Yellowjackets. So what's your favorite part? See Simone.
Speaker 2 5:20
I actually am a lover of K dramas right now and they tend to play in the background are that's also my self care routine for downtime. I'll turn on a K drama. I'm currently watching attorney whoo extraordinary attorney. Whoo. It's not an autistic lawyer. You know, challenges and things like that. And I just love K dramas right now and although I don't fully pay attention to them because you know, you have to sit and like read the subtitles. I just like hearing them in the background and then when I have actual downtime I'll sit and literally focus and read the subtitles
Unknown Speaker 6:00
I love that. That's me with true crime. Yunus what's your favorite part right now?
Speaker 3 6:10
It seems like we're on a the theme of not pot that's entertainment related. So I'll share that I actually just finished watching Netflix's beef. I don't know if I knew Oh, yeah. Yen. Really great. Really, I think cathartic, I think very resonates for my Asian like slash maybe perhaps like suppressed inner rage. I don't know. But I really enjoyed it. And it was a great little 10 Episode binge for me and lots of fun.
Speaker 2 6:42
I was definitely surprised by the way that ended. When I watched that. I was like, oh, okay, I did not expect
Unknown Speaker 6:50
lots of twists and turns be like that.
Speaker 1 6:52
Yeah, I haven't watched it yet, but I've been hearing a lot about it. I'm sure it will at some point.
Unknown Speaker 7:02
Here to get drunk.
Unknown Speaker 7:04
Unknown Speaker 7:05
drink. Hi, I'm Jessica.
Unknown Speaker 7:07
I have my stroke.
Unknown Speaker 7:09
Hi, I'm Sonya. We're so drunk. I'm
Speaker 4 7:11
like, wow. Hi. And I'm Don Murray. don don.
Speaker 5 7:15
And we are opinionated lashes at comedy and society podcast where we like to drink and talk shit. Because doesn't it just just normal. We started episodes off with a question and a drink word. We usually never stay on topic or wait for the drink word to start drinking. She's freaking out. Because I'm talking. There's a new episode of opinionated lashes every Friday on all streaming platforms,
Speaker 4 7:39
and unedited episodes Saturday on YouTube. I finished my drink during pre drinks. And now my tummy hurts.
Unknown Speaker 7:45
If you want to grab a drink with us any kind of
Unknown Speaker 7:47
drink and get ready to laugh, make sure to follow and bring your opinions.
Speaker 1 7:58
So switching gears a little bit, as I mentioned earlier, it's Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. And that is relevant because you both launched an initiative during this month. Was it last year? Do you want to talk about that a little bit? Whoever wants to start?
Unknown Speaker 8:20
I'll kick it to Eunice the kick. Yeah.
Speaker 3 8:24
Yeah, you know, it was. I mean, thank you so much for acknowledging is us and having us on the podcast this to kick off a poem. And I think, see, Simone and I came together only about a year ago. I feel like we've been friends for decades now lifetimes now just from how closely we've worked and how close we are in kind of people and humans. But we came together last year, with the mission, like the only mission was let's make sure that there is more representation in and out of the industry for us Asians. And as to women, Asian founders in the space. We wanted to do more for our fellow operators, we wanted to do more for the consumer community. And so we came up with this idea of creating a book that made education much more accessible to everyone cannabis education as we know, it, it's it's hit or miss. There's a lot of misinformation out there. And that's what's really caused and lead to a lot of the issues that we face as an industry. And that misinformation really needs to be stopped. But how can we put the onus on the consumer to figure that all out? Right, so, you know, we worked really closely with Hivites medical advisor Dr. Joon Qin, she's been an apprentice practicing cannabis doctor and physician for over 15 years now. And we put together a really comprehensive but easy to read. digestible, kind of educational like one on one. And we took that education, which was originally written in English, and translated it to 11 different Asian languages, which is no small feat. I'm sure CeCe will be able to share some more stories about that. And then we kind of edited designed it into a book that we published, a couple 1000 copies 1000 copies of and we distributed for free to our AAPI communities, at events at different community centers, whoever requested it online. And we just we wanted to make it a launching pad for conversation and dialogue. Maybe it's between generations to learn more about cannabis and how we can consume it consciously. So yeah, that's that's kind of how it all started. It was a wild ride last year to kind of have it be the first year to do that. And we're excited for how we're going to evolve it this year.
Speaker 2 11:00
I always love to hear Yunus explain it when people ask, because that's a really great job. No.
Speaker 1 11:09
Did you want to add anything to that? See, Simone? I know she just spoke about
Unknown Speaker 11:12
oh, no, not at all.
Speaker 1 11:16
Like not, that was perfection. I know, I think we need to emphasize though how accessible you just made that. Because that's what I was going to follow up with. You gave away a lot of free copies. I mean, that really blew my mind because we talked about accessibility a lot on the show. And I don't think that people and I'm generalizing a bit, but you go into a dispensary. And obviously, our experiences are wildly different, because I'm in Maryland, and you're in California. But in Maryland, it's even more difficult right now as it's about to change. But right now, it's very clinical. And it's not an opera. It's not an environment where people can feel comfortable, and it's not accessible for many people. And one of those things is translation services. And I've written about it some, but there's so many things that I was left to uncover, like, what I'm trying to say is, I wrote about how inaccessible it is for deaf people to go into a dispensary. And one common assumption people make is that they can just write down what they need. And then that person, you know, you can do everything by writing it down. But that's not the same thing, because you want that person to write it in your language. Mm hmm. And so people don't think about it like that. They think that, you know, they're being accessible by writing it, writing it down and hat. Like, that's as far as it goes. And so I mean, that's just a little fraction of it, though. And I think there's still so much in accessibility. And it just is amazing that you took on this project, because it's so important. And I just wanted to add that I really love the fact that you made it free. I mean, it's just, that's amazing, because that is like true accessibility.
Speaker 2 13:19
Yeah, thank you. And, you know, part of the reason we can make it free, it's really also in part to our sponsors and the partners on this campaign. We couldn't have done that without their support, in terms of financially sponsoring the project and all the people that volunteered their time to translate to share and promote the book for us. And so it was it was literally a community effort. Although unison, I spearheaded it, we, it took a real big village to make this.
Speaker 3 13:54
I think we had most if not all of the Asian operators in this space support us in some capacity. Over 30 Women AAPI women operators in the space, whether they were educators or brand founders or working at you know, cannabis corporate, they were all involved. We featured and highlighted them throughout the month. They were instrumental in promoting awareness. You know, we had key brand like companies and Asian operated company sponsor. So it truly was a community effort. And it was really beautiful to see that I see someone and I went into this thinking it was us to making this happen. We didn't know how it was gonna happen. But we were just kind of we had that mission and goal but to see our API community come together to support it and make it a success, versus just making it happen I think was really astounding to see. And I think, you know, just just this small impact that we've started to make, you know, I love this story. It's actually one of my favorites from being in this space for over five years now is actually this book. Got one of my customer we had a customer she's Korean American. And she is she's a cannabis consumer. She's aware of how how beneficial it can be, but she always kind of kept it from her family. That's kind of how I started consuming cannabis too from jet generationally. It's one of those things where, you know, for our parents generation for our grandparents generation cannabis is on in certain company, certain families different for see Simone so she can share that one. But like for our for certain families, it's very frowned upon, it's not something you do, you don't share a joint with your kid like, we don't get those stories, right. And this, her one of my customers, and part of our community is a cannabis user and her mom was dealing with chronic pain that led to like a lot of anxiety and all of that, and her meds were not working, she was taking prescription meds, those were not working, she wasn't feeling well. And we wanted her to try cannabis. But she was always very against it. She was against it, because it had been illegal for so many decades, she was against it, because she didn't know the science behind it. And so this book, actually became very instrumental in opening up those communication lines. You know, it started with her saying no to everything. And then we shared the book with her, she read through all of the scientific backup and documentation around why cannabis can be so helpful. And you know, thanks to us, in California, where we have different form factors other than smoking, we had the drinks, you know, and we shared some API on low dose beverages with her to kind of ease her into the whole experience. And now she uses she vapes really high quality, clean vape she vapes for her chronic pain and anxiety and she feels better. And it is probably one of my biggest success stories. Because that's that's what education and dialogue can relate to. Amazing.
Speaker 1 17:22
That's amazing. Yeah, that's so that's why books are so important. I mean, even just having an article about what you're doing is something that somebody can send to another, you know, and then they can start to do their low key research. You know, I mean, we all have our own stories as far as what culturally, we bring to the table with cannabis. But I love that you have this book that not only helps consumers but can help family members bridge a lot of gaps in the conversations that we have around plant medicine, because we need these things to point to, because otherwise, it's just going to be a lot of you know, just putting up with a lot of pain and suffering instead of thriving. And it's like, even if it's frustrating sometimes to have these conversations over and over again. We still need to have them because you never know like that beautiful story that you can change someone's life. So that is amazing. I love that. Did you want to add to that? Do you have a story that you want to add see some
Speaker 2 18:36
of that as so many. We definitely saw so much more success than we expected with the book. I actually come from a very family friendly cannabis friendly family and my mom used to put it in our Bob Ross, when we are younger. I am child number 15 out of 16. And so the best way to feed like a big family is just to make a big pot broth and everybody just makes a bowl and whatnot. And my dad used to also be a cultivator. And so for us, it's been a normal part in our family. And my parents never saw it as a gateway drug, they, they always saw it as you know, an herb are a healing remedy and things like that. And so even with the experience that we had in this family, the knowledge also still wasn't there. There were still missing education, there's still stigma around it. They didn't fully understand the plant and all of its benefits and whatnot. And so when we released this book, it not only helped my family understand the plant a little better, you know, it helps our community especially the non English speakers in the community and those that thought that they knew the plant who did cultivate it. You know, we're open to this whole new world of different methods of consumption, potency, different You know, affects and health and wellness benefits and whatnot and so lots of different stories, lots of different success stories. Definitely. I
Speaker 1 20:11
love that so much. Yeah, that's such a great story.
Speaker 2 20:16
And I still I have a recipe to this day. Yeah, that's easy.
Speaker 3 20:21
We should do we should team up with our foodie, foodie. And do a little like, food cooking cookbook, something
Speaker 2 20:34
I know, that'd be so much. But I always I always tell my mom, even when the book came, I go Mom, you are the original infused food creator. I don't know anyone else who started this. You were the original one because I was consuming it before I even knew what it was.
Speaker 3 20:54
That's why you have such a good demeanor you've been consuming and it kinda likes, runs through your veins. And that's how you're such you know, so chill. Crazy in the face of all all that you face. I think that that's great.
Speaker 1 21:11
That's amazing. I love that idea of a cookbook as like the second part of how like, I want that cookbook. Can I pre order
Speaker 2 21:25
Asian inspired infused recipes.
Speaker 3 21:30
That might have to be, you know, version three, version four, something near future I think we need. Yeah.
Speaker 1 21:40
That's amazing. So you've already touched on some of how this cannabis industry is inaccessible for the AAPI community? Can you talk about some other things that maybe people aren't aware of?
Speaker 2 21:56
I mean, for me, what I saw the biggest misconception was the difference between hemp and cannabis for people. That was a challenge one of the challenges for me and why I started translating the information and the knowledge when I launched my brand. And I started going to these Asian mom and pop shops because my brand is very Asian inspired. And that's my target market is just bringing it to the Asian community. A lot of them were afraid. And they were said, I don't know if I want to sell this in my store. Because what if somebody steal it? What if I get in trouble? It makes people sick or too high. And it's like, my my products or hemp derived products. It's all about health and wellness and whatnot. And so for me in order to help them understand that I had to translate my FAQs. So for them to be able to read and understand the information. And so, I mean, one of what that was one of my challenges and one of the things that sparked this idea and conversation between Eunice and I is that even to this day, there's still a misunderstanding of the difference between the two plants, even though they come from the same species the difference of what they do even the difference and legalities around it for our state and for the country.
Unknown Speaker 23:19
Did you want to add to that Yunus?
Unknown Speaker 23:23
No, I think see someone shared that really well.
Speaker 1 23:28
I love that I love how you work together. So do you want to talk about Savannah wellness or am I saying I'm sorry? And my wellness Sivan
Unknown Speaker 23:43
Unknown Speaker 23:44
Speaker 2 23:48
yeah, I mean I'd love to of course. So so by the wellness is my wellness brand. Mainly created to serve the underserved AAPI communities here as well as abroad. The name Sivan needs heaven in the Thai in my language, I am actually Thai, LAO and Cambodian Southeast Asian descent. I chose this name to actually honor my dad and his transition to have and he passed away last year. But he was a big part of my journey in this world of cannabis. Growing up you know, watching him cultivate it and grow it next to like our lemongrass, our Thai chilies in the backyard and you know that Thai eggplant and whatnot and watching my mom use it in her soup broth and using it, you know, just to create bombs and things like that. And so, this bread itself not only, you know, honors, like my love for my culture. It also kind of instills that desire and need to evolve our healing traditions for a more modern era.
Speaker 1 25:01
I love that. So how can people support you in the industry? Would you like to start units?
Speaker 2 25:10
Yeah, unit should I unit should definitely talk about Hivites?
Unknown Speaker 25:16
Sorry about that.
Unknown Speaker 25:19
No, no, you're fine.
Unknown Speaker 25:20
Yes, please do, please do. Yeah, sure.
Speaker 3 25:24
So high by short for high vibrations. It's very much focused on being that educational friendly resource for conscious consumers, right consumers who are looking to consume mindfully with the intention with with the right intentions, right, with the intentions of bettering your health, bettering your mind, easing your days finding joy in, you know, after work or on the weekends. And we we are the resource that helps with the how tos, but also curates the trusted brands and products that we love out there that are predominantly women POC or quiero. And so we are that we do all the legwork to make consider the ritual of consuming for our, for our joy and livelihood a breeze. And, yeah, I think that I think it would be amazing for folks who are learning trying to learn more about cannabis, maybe you've had that bad brownie experience are used to get high in high school, but are looking to come back to it and now consume it for your stress or for your sleep routine. We're here to really help aid and guide you through that process.
Unknown Speaker 26:45
I love that. So it's like an educational platform.
Speaker 3 26:49
Yes, yes. And we're coming out with a relaunch in just a couple of months, our website is going to have a really beautiful curation of the best brands and products that you can access, and then we'll be launching delivery shortly after that in California.
Speaker 2 27:07
I do have to say I was actually I was actually following Yunus before we even officially met, because like she was so proactive about educating, you know, the community educating people in general about the plant, the stigmatizing it and just providing accurate assessable information. And so, when we were introduced by a mutual friend, I was already a bad girl. And I was just like, so excited to work together. Well, it's just,
Speaker 1 27:39
I love those kind of partnerships, right? Like, those are the best when you're truly fans of each other, which I can tell you both are. And you have that wonderful synergy where you're like working okay, you answer that one I love that you're not talking to for each other. You're not. It's, it's a wonderful thing to see truly. And I love that you're working together to like, educate communities that are being left out. And that is so important that you both are like putting so much work into this. But how can people support the initiative? Like what is the best way for people to support the educational initiative?
Speaker 3 28:20
Yeah, so we're, we're coming out with addition to have the book later, later this month. I think that whether whether you are part of the API community or not, please get your hands on a copy of the book, share it, put it out there into the world. And make sure more and more people become educated with the right content, and wrote the right message. Right. I think that that's our biggest and main goal. Secondarily, I think we will have a website and everything where you'll be able to see like the directory of the best AAPI owned and operated brands, those are the brands that we'd love for you to support and purchase and consume out there. You know, to continue this full circle moment and ensure that our API on businesses are also successful and can continue to grow their legacies out in this space.
Speaker 2 29:22
Last year, we had a lot of these AAPI brands and partners shared through their events, their workshops, this year, you know, it would be great to see actual retailers dispensaries in the market be open to carrying the book and just having it there in case a customer comes in and they have family members who are not English speaking are want to just learn more and understand how they can make more conscious decisions in their purchases. Just be able to grab a book and use it to help them understand which product to go with or which Method of Consumption to start with.
Speaker 1 29:59
So So how can people best support you individually? And do you have any calls to action before we end?
Speaker 2 30:07
Um, I'll go with my first. I mean, for me, my, my product line is very diverse. It's very Asian-inspired Asian flavors, old Asian remedies. And so in terms of support, for Sivan, I would love any referrals, or recommendations to health and wellness retailers that are looking to support women and minorities, especially inventory that provides more diverse options. And that's, that's an ask for me and the CTA would be not only to support myself, but to just support you know, any POC women owned. brand out there that's working to bring diversity to the market and just asking for more inclusion.
Unknown Speaker 31:00
See, Simone, what's your Instagram?
Speaker 2 31:05
That's right, my Instagram is at Sivan s a b, a n h wellness about unwellness. It's the same for all handles all social platforms.
Speaker 1 31:17
And we'll have links in the notes as well, just for everyone listening. But Eunice where can people find you? And do you have any calls to action? Yeah,
Speaker 3 31:27
I mean, I mirror a lot of what Z Simone said about supporting our underrepresented founders and brands in this space. Please be a mindful consumer. I think we lead by example here and I think there's so much opportunity for cannabis and plant medicine to really help and change the way we live and feel and I want even the newest consumers to come in with confidence and trust. And I think that means shedding the stigmas and negative stereotypes and leading by example, right? Being conscious consumers. If you want to learn more and gain more that education and community hive i is on Instagram at h i vi high vibe dot life. It's fun, it's a fun and safe space. So come on over.
Speaker 1 32:17
Thank you for providing safe spaces. And thank you for doing everything that you're both doing. And please come back again sometime anytime. It was such a joy speaking to both of you, and I appreciate your patience with me. Thank you.
Speaker 3 32:32
Thank you. We really appreciate this opportunity. What a way to kick off the special month.
Speaker 1 32:40
Absolutely. Until next time, stay high and beautiful. Bye. This episode of Your Highness podcast is brought to you by meteor gaia.com. Meteor gaia.com is giving listeners a 10% off discount when they use the code YH pod. That's why H pod at mitragaia.com a top rated kratom company. Also, you can keep up on the recent events and all the news surrounding our show by subscribing to our substack Your Highness newsletter. This episode was edited and produced by James crash and myself Diana crash and is a production of Your Highness media. intro music is brought to you by your mom likes my music.
Unknown Speaker 33:39
Thank you for listening. You
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