Filipino American Cannabis Society hopes to help entrepreneurs make some green in the industry

LOS ANGELES — These buds are on a joint venture to spark Filipinos’ interest in the recreational cannabis industry.

Brothers Audie and Joe Vergara, and comedian Erick Esteban, have started the Filipino American Cannabis Society.

“What we’re trying to do is encourage all of our peers who might be interested in this space to know number 1 you could get in,” said Audie.

“We want to build bridges. We want to build bridges among all Filipinos, Filipino Americans,” said Joe, “so we not only can financially empower ourselves but also politically and socially empower ourselves to claim the space that Filipinos should have credit for.”

While they hope to remove stigma of marijuana use in the Filipino community, they’re also trying to create new products.

Their first joint: Filipino flavored rolling papers called joots.

“We source everything from the Philippines, we have Filipino manufacturing. The flavor formulations all the graphic design, the printing, the whole thing is done 100% within the Filipino community.”

After marijuana use was legalized in California back in January, breaking into this new green business has been complicated at times with government regulations — an issue they hope to address.

“One of the things the Cannabis society wants to do it take a look at that roadmap and to simplify it and help people understand where that roadmap is and where it really applies to their particular business in the green space and where we can build whatever bridge is necessary to navigate that space.”

State regulators have proposed a draft of permanent rules that include retail regulation, delivery services, advertising guidelines.

The proposals are now open to public comment for the next several weeks.

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