Humo's Susie Plascencia on Cannabis in the Latino Community

Plus, the industry's hunt for more impactful brand storytelling

Susie Plascencia is brand partner at Humo Cannabis, where she oversees brand development, social media, marketing and sales. A Latina journalist herself—also entrepreneur and cannabis advocate—Susie leads the pioneering Mexican-American owned craft cannabis company’s commitment to providing meaningful representation in an industry that has caused disproportionate harm to Latino communities.

In 2020, Merry Jane Media named Susie a top "cannabis power player." Susie is especially passionate about Latina representation in the cannabis industry. We spoke with Susie for our Higher Calling series, where we chat with leaders in the cannabis space.

Susie, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I was raised in Whittier, California, and currently live in the Westside of Los Angeles.

Your current role in the cannabis industry.

I’m an entrepreneur, marketing professional and brand partner for Humo, California’s recently-launched Mexican-American owned and woman-led cannabis brand focused on the culture and representation of the Latino community.

A story about the positive impact cannabis has had on your life.

I’ve been a cannabis enthusiast for many years, but due to the cultural stigma surrounding cannabis use in the Latino community, I often hid my consumption. As legalization spread across the country, attitudes toward cannabis use began to shift, and I, like many Latinos, began to redefine my relationship with cannabis. I discovered a passion for cannabis advocacy and merged that with my skills in marketing, which led me to the role that I’m grateful to be in now, brand partner for Humo.

A favorite flower, edible, product, or brand.

My favorite flower right now is Humo’s Cajeta (pronounced ka-heh-tah) strain. A cross between OGKB and Mendo Montage, this indica-dominant hybrid strain is smooth, gassy and perfect for chill nights. This flower’s vanilla and caramel flavor profile inspired its name, which is one of Mexico’s most beloved goat’s milk caramel confections.

The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today.

Authentically connecting with target audiences on a consistent basis. Social media is an important window into the culture of a business, but it requires time and resources. Brands that can keep up with content demands and manage fleeting attention will reap the benefits of a highly engaged consumer base.

One thing you're excited about right now in cannabis branding, partnerships or marketing.

I started my career in traditional PR and marketing and have seen campaigns in fashion, tech and beauty influence audience behavior and emotion. However, when I first started working in cannabis years ago, I was stunned at the lack of investment in dynamic storytelling. Thankfully, as the industry grew, and along with it a need for brands to differentiate from shelves and social media pages, we entered a new era of cannabis marketing. I'm excited for more impactful brand storytelling that promotes equity, inspires industry-transforming advocacy, and delivers a sense of community.  

A cannabis trade/social justice organization that you support.

At Humo, we’re supporters of the The Social Impact Center, a queer- and woman-led nonprofit that provides educational programming centered on harm reduction, equity and transformative justice. We’re especially proud to contribute to their criminal record expungement clinics that have helped those impacted by the War on Drugs seal prior marijuana convictions and return to work.

A recent project you're proud of.

We recently celebrated the launch of Humo with an event that merged cannabis and Mexican culture in a way that had never been seen in the cannabis industry. From infused Chamoy (Mexican chili sauce) to a six-piece Mariachi band, the authenticity and respect to traditions is something we were proud to bring to our guests as California’s Mexican-American owned brand.

Someone else's project you admired recently.

The High & Dry Collective is a woman founded cannabis community outreach organization. For its second year in a row during Women’s Month, they’re hosting a Women’s Period Supplies Drive in support of Serving People In Need (SPIN) OC, a nonprofit organization committed to serving the homeless and working poor in Orange County, California. According to High & Dry, two out of five women in the U.S. have inadequate access to menstrual hygiene products. Through this annual drive, the organization invites members of the cannabis community to donate pads, tampons and panty liners at participating dispensaries to then be distributed to local women affected by homelessness and domestic violence. I believe in the project’s mission to address period poverty in California, and I am proud to support it.

Someone you admire in cannabis who's doing great things.

Savina Monet is a talented artist, fellow Latina entrepreneur and cannabis advocate. She is also the co-founder of Cannabis Workers Coalition, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit advocating for fair labor practices in the cannabis and hemp industries. I admire her passion to serve others and respect her organization’s mission to give cannabis workers a powerful voice through policy advocacy, leadership development and community support.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the cannabis industry.

I’m a storyteller at heart. If I weren’t building mission-focused brands in cannabis through storytelling, I’d be in the newsroom telling the stories of impactful people in business, politics, art, music and sports. 

Higher Calling is a weekly series, publishing on Thursdays, where we chat with folks in the cannabis industry about their personal history and taste in cannabis and the future of cannabis marketing. For more about Higher Calling, and our Clio Cannabis program, please get in touch.

Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a contributor for Muse by Clio. She's also a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder's College of Media, Communication, and Information.

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