Put the ‘pot’ in pot stickers for this year’s 4/20

Writer Anjana Pawa reveals eight AA+PI cannabis brands that are changing the industry with innovative, aesthetic products for your recreation

Words by Anjana Pawa

Happy 4/20, cannabis connoisseurs! The industry is continuously growing—and flourishing—in the United States, where 24 states have legalized recreational marijuana use and an additional 14 states have legalized medical use, with even more voting to legalize this year. Over the past decade, more and more Asian Americans are stepping foot into the market, creating new products inspired by their immigrant experiences. From traditionally Asian flavors inspired by their roots to new products pushing the boundaries of what's possible, AA+PI cannabis brands are innovating the industry. If you’re someone who enjoys the occasional puff, we’ve put together a list of Asian American cannabis brands you’ll want to keep your eye out for next time you hit the dispensary.

Leune

 

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California-based Leune was founded by first-generation Indian American Nidhi Lucky Handa. When she became a regular user of cannabis in her 30s, she noticed that the market didn’t have products that were geared towards her demographic, which is where Leune comes in. The sleek, sophisticated brand focuses on aesthetic appeal and ease of use for the consumer, but also prioritizes being an environmentally conscious brand, focusing on waste reduction with their packaging. The brand is also a partner with the Last Prisoner Project, which aims to bring freedom to those who have been incarcerated for nonviolent cannabis-related crimes. 

STIIIZY

Three boxes are placed upright alongside three small containers. The boxes have marijuana pattern and the brand name STIIIZY written on the front.

James Kim founded STIIIZY to help treat PTSD.

Courtesy of STIIIZY

Regardless of whether you’re a casual or frequent consumer of weed, you’ve likely seen the brand STIIIZY around. Co-founder James Kim is a veteran who founded the brand in southern California after a 13-month military combat tour in 2017, where he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Cannabis was ultimately helpful in treating his PTSD, and he wanted to share his experience using marijuana as a way to reduce his symptoms through the brand, especially for other veterans. STIIIZY is now one of the best-selling brands on the market, with a variety of products trusted and enjoyed by consumers everywhere. 

Sundae School

A yellow mochi shaped like a flower.

Sundae School proudly presents mochi edibles.

Courtesy of Sundae School

Co-founder and creative director Dae Lim wanted to create a cannabis brand that was inspired by his Korean upbringing, from flavors to ingredients and aesthetics. Lim and co-founder Mia Park have created a brand that celebrates the intersection of cannabis and creativity. The California- and Seoul-based brand makes their edibles out of mochi, which are available in a variety of flavors including sour yuzu and white strawberry, which just started shipping nationwide. The brand also excels in fashion and streetwear that are perfectly cozy to wear during your smoke sesh, adorned with a mini pocket for your joint and all!

Polite

Seattle-based cannabis start-up Polite is using cannabis to target various health concerns that users may have. Co-founded by Sue and Yung Tan, the company has a medical advisory board that consults on patient outcomes with marijuana. With the recreational legalization of marijuana being more widespread across the United States, the company was founded with a goal to be patient-centered and bring back products that provide treatment. Polite also has a strong focus on building access to these treatments and education programs to demystify the plant that has been used for centuries in medicinal practices.

Kin Slips

 

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Kin Slips creates a cannabis product like no other: a dissolvable strip that disappears in your mouth within seconds. Founded in the California Bay Area, these strips are designed to deliver a more discreet and fast-acting dose of cannabis, no smoke required. CEO Andrew Lobo was an at-home gardener before he started in the industry, cultivating his own cannabis plant in his California home. He now leads the brand, which has one of the most innovative cannabis products in the market.

Potli

A hand uses a chopstick to pick up a shumai dipped in sriracha. Next to the tray sits a red bottle labeled "Potli cannabis infused sriracha."

Potli's products add a twist to tasty Asian snacks.

Courtesy of Potli

Co-founded by former college roommates Felicity Chen and Christine Yi, Potli's products are inspired by the flavors and traditions of their Asian heritage growing up in the Bay Area. The brand was founded with dedication to using ethically sourced ingredients (including honey from Chen’s father’s bees) and a true belief that food can be medicine. Potli's products are infused snacks, not just your ordinary gummies and mints. From shrimp chips to chili oil, you can add a flavorful twist to your favorite dishes and spice up your stash. Instead of the regular old sriracha you can get at the grocery store, why not swap it for their cannabis-infused one?

TSO Sonoma

 

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Nepalese immigrant Devika Maskey founded TSO Sonoma with the intention to break down the stigma behind cannabis, especially in her own community, where the plant has historically been used in healing practices for centuries. Completely disillusioned by the current state of the industry, she wanted to found a female-led, sustainable brand that prioritized education around the marijuana plant. TSO Sonoma was created to be a  luxury cannabis brand that caters to women and embodies the vibes of the Sonoma Valley in California, where the brand was founded. 

Dee Thai

 

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Dee Thai is a California-based brand that specializes in Thai-inspired cannabis products, including mangosteen, jackfruit, and Thai banana edibles. All the flavors they offer in their products are inspired by the bustling street markets, which are filled with tropical fruits. With the cannabis industry boom in Thailand happening, we hope there are more delicious flavors to come from the brand in the American market soondurian, anyone?

Published on April 19, 2024

Words by Anjana Pawa

Anjana Pawa is a Brooklyn-based culture reporter who regularly covers music, entertainment and beauty. You can find her on Twitter at @apawawrites.

Art by Ryan Quan

Ryan Quan is the Social Media Editor for JoySauce. This queer, half-Chinese, half-Filipino writer and graphic designer loves everything related to music, creative nonfiction, and art. Based in Brooklyn, he spends most of his time dancing to hyperpop and accidentally falling asleep on the subway. Follow him on Instagram at @ryanquans.