Currently, the Hispanic population accounts for over 18% of the total population in the United States, making them the second largest minority group in the country. With a staggering 50 million Spanish speakers nationwide, representing 13% of the entire US population, it is clear that Spanish is the most widely spoken non-English language in the country. Despite the growing influence of Latinos in various industries such as film, music, and business, there is a significant lack of resources catering to this demographic. This is especially concerning considering that Latinos have a combined spending power of $1 trillion and counting.
The criminalization of cannabis can be traced back to its association with Latinos (specifically Mexicans), resulting in the disproportionate incarceration and mistreatment of people of color.
Cannabis companies need to acknowledge the importance of catering to the needs of the local residents and providing them with comprehensive education about cannabis. It is baffling that dispensaries such as Zenleaf (which has a location in Pilsen) do not offer any Spanish translated information on their websites. It is absurd that they are headquartered in Chicago, yet fail to cater to the largest minority group in their own city.
In Illinois, individuals can shop at dispensaries with a Temporary Visitors Driver’s License (TVDL). However, they do not have access to written information about products and menus in Spanish. The recent celebration of 5 de Mayo should serve as a wake-up call to these companies, as it highlighted the presence of Spanish speakers in Chicago and their demand for resources. This demand extends to assistance in applying for a medical cannabis card and finding products that could improve their quality of life.
Platicas Elevadas: Our First Discussion
Considering that cannabis was initially legalized for medicinal purposes, the lack of readily available Spanish language resources is perplexing. With dispensaries emerging in neighborhoods like Pilsen, Little Village, Brighton, and Humboldt Park, there is a pressing need for resources for our elderly community members who could greatly benefit from cannabis but do not speak English.
The extensive list of known benefits of cannabis should be shared with our Spanish-speaking communities, particularly with our loved ones like my mom. In order to effectively educate them about cannabis and its usage, we need to provide accessible materials in their language.
That is why I have made the decision to host the FIRST-ever Spanish-speaking educational workshop. This event aims to bring together Spanish-speaking cannabis professionals and curious Spanish speakers in a safe space to address questions and openly discuss cannabis use.