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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Asian Americans for cannabis education changes the narrative

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May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. An opportunity to reflect on the relationship between cannabis and Asian culture that spans thousands of years and different continents, from ancient times to the present day. Asian Americans for Cannabis Education intends to remind you of this fact early and often.

Known in Chinese as “ma”, cannabis has been cultivated on the continent for centuries. Fossil records and genetic studies indicate that the cannabis plant has a long history on the continent. Ancient Chinese texts, such as the Pen Ts’ao Ching (Classic of Herbal Medicine), dating back more than two thousand years, mention cannabis as a plant with various applications, including medicinal uses and textile production.

ancient archaeological sites In Central Asia, cannabis remains and artifacts have revealed evidence that cannabis has existed on the continent for thousands of years. One notable archaeological site is the Yanghai Tombs, located in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China. Excavations at the site revealed well-preserved burial remains dating back some 2,500 years. Among the findings were cannabis plant and seeds, indicating its cultivation and use during that time.

Another important discovery occurred in Jirzenkel Cemetery In the Pamir Mountains, western China. Researchers excavating copper tombs have discovered cannabis residues with exceptionally high levels of C THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. This finding indicates the deliberate use of cannabis for its mind-altering properties, making it one of the earliest concrete evidences of cannabis as a drug in human history.

Photo by Josh Vogels

Ophelia Chung, Making the Moves

The Asian American cannabis community has played a major role in moving the sector forward through their contributions to technology, design, development, and social equality. And there is no one who is more respected, revered and unparalleled Ophelia Chong. The award-winning creative dynamo has helped shape the industry’s visual identity, changing misconceptions and stereotypes associated with cannabis and its users along the way. Chung Ho is a board member of the US Hemp Council (USCC), advisor to the Cannabis Media Council, Emerald Trophy judge, founder of StockPot Images and the Someone asks if you need to see an expert.

Chung’s passion for cannabis extends far beyond business and deep into the fabric of culture and social equality. She has consistently advocated growing cannabis at home, and her website askophelia.com is a hub for those looking for information on navigating “through hemp fields and mushroom forests.”

In 2015, Chung co-founded the Asian American Cannabis Education Foundation.AACE), a non-profit organization that connects and empowers Asian communities by providing educational support and resources on various matters related to cannabis, including issues, news, and policy. Through its initiatives and events, AACE actively promotes awareness and understanding to help break down lingering stigmas surrounding cannabis, as well as highlight the accomplishments of those within the Asian American cannabis community. AACE holds regular events for its members, according to Chung, Angela Beh, Head of Marketing at StakeHouse Holdings, called “Pot Luck”. “We had the first one in August 2021, two more in 2022 and one this past February for Chinese New Year that Ispire sponsored.”

Goddess Magu
Cannabis was very important in ancient East Asia and was often referred to as the “elixir of life.” The goddess Magu is often associated with cannabis due to its historical use as a healing plant. Image courtesy of Asian American Cannabis Education

The problem of prohibition

Chung says the reason she co-created the Asian American Cannabis Education Program stems from her entry into cannabis in 2015. “I found that when I got into the cannabis industry, there was no room for me, so I needed to make space for me and people like me.” One of Chung’s first surprises with AACE was to discover that she wasn’t alone. “I didn’t realize there were so many of us,” she says. [laughs]. However, she says, it has also been difficult to find people who are open to talking freely about cannabis and their involvement with it. The stigma attached to cannabis has been strong for nearly a decade—even in Los Angeles—and Chung has faced an uphill battle. This was before Show 16, which meant that only medical marijuana was legal in California.

“At first, it was very muffled,” Chung says. “A lot of people were very wary about going in. Minorities that were very wary in the beginning are now very wary. And if they are He was In cannabis, they weren’t talking about it, which is why I created this club to get people who were willing to talk about it.”

Throughout Chinese history, cannabis has unsurprisingly had both positive and negative associations. Although cannabis is valued for its practical applications and medicinal properties, it has also faced periods of regulation and prohibition. Part of the challenge with AACE, Chung says, was trying to undo the harm done by the ban to a generation of people that began with anti-cannabis propaganda indoctrination when, in 1985, the People’s Republic of China became a member of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Material. The United Nations had previously taken a position on the regulation of psychoactive drugs in 1971, classifying cannabis as a narcotic and banning its possession or use in traditional Chinese medicine.

“On that list was psilocybin and hemp—two of the best plants in our medicine cabinet that traditional Chinese medicine suddenly couldn’t touch again. About 5,000 years ago, we were using hemp and all that stuff. Well, no more; it’s now illegal. Between Overnight, a vital part of their culture was stripped away. They—children of the 60s—were indoctrinated into the irrational, unfounded fear of cannabis, and they, in turn, passed the fear on to their children. When they immigrated to the United States, anti-cannabis messages became and dare all of these The stuff is part of “stay inside your guardrails, don’t go outside the lines.” All of this has made people more hesitant about wanting to be in AACE because of their parents. “How can I tell my parents?” Now, I have people say, “I want to be on AACE.” Chung attributes this to Confucius’ philosophy of “education, respect for elders, and following the rule of law. It’s ingrained in our DNA,” she says.

Ophelia Chung at the Ispire sponsored Potluck event in Los Angeles
Ophelia Chung with Aeropay’s Vien Trinh at the recent Potluck event in Los Angeles to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Photos courtesy of the Asian American Cannabis Education Foundation

Friends team

Chung says the greatest thing she gained from teaching Asian American cannabis was the realization of the lifelong friendships she’s made with people in the cannabis industry. “I’ve worked in many industries in film, photography, music and publishing,” she says. “What surprised me was the depth of my friendships in cannabis—not just through AACE, but just the number of people I met, who I probably connected to more strongly than we had in other industries.”

Another thing I learned from AACE is a better understanding of what people are passionate about and how they find those passions. “Yes, the main issue is cannabis, but it also runs the risk of being that passionate, and also the financial risk of going into cannabis with all the restrictions on it,” Chung says. “You basically can’t make money now; you just have to stay in it for the long haul and lose a lot of money to stay in it. Which is very difficult if you’re a small brand.”

Chung says she sees her role in the Asian American cannabis community as a mentor, mother and grandmother. “I keep checking on people to make sure they’re okay,” she says. “Right now, we need to do that because the market is so soft; everyone’s work is on theme. Everyone’s brand is hanging by a thread. And what you need to do is check in and make sure everyone’s okay.”

While the current play of the California cannabis industry remains challenging, to say the least, Chung sees some. “What I see in the future for Asians and cannabis is to continue to work relentlessly, to continue to innovate and to think outside the proverbial box.”

Grow guide for marijuana beginners.
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