Hispanic Heritage Month holds a special place in the cannabis industry, as the anti-cannabis propaganda that has ravaged the U.S. for the past century is rooted in racism against Mexican immigrants.
Despite the stigma, Hispanic people have contributed to the cannabis industry for decades, playing an important role in cultivation, sales, branding, and much more.
VAYA is one such brand, founded by Grammy-award-winning musician and activist Salvador Santana and Cloud9 founder, lifelong Yoruba priest, instrumentalist, and cultivator Degi Simmons.
The brand produces high-quality indoor flower from the Bay Area and is built in the belief that cannabis is a powerful tool to be utilized for human development.
“We want to create a future where people can access the renewing and uplifting qualities of plants for a conscious path of self-development, creativity, and ultimate bliss,” said VAYA’s Chief Marketing Officer Vincenzo Carrano.
Their latest video, featuring Santana himself, delves into these concepts, showing viewers exactly how cannabis can be utilized to enrich lives, inspire creativity, and connect people to a larger-than-life community.
“Music is in our blood. It’s in my family’s DNA. This is who we are. This is what we do,” Santana says in the video, immediately connecting that passion to the plant. “I remember the first time I tried cannabis. It was ninth grade…I was with some friends, and we were just behind the high school. Typical, a little cliche.”
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Santana describes growing up in the Bay Area in the ’90s, when hip hop was really starting to evolve and find its place in the mainstream – much like cannabis is doing now.
“I heard the pain that a lot of rappers were talking about, but I also heard the beauty of a new artform that was being unveiled right in front of us,” Santana said.
He goes on to discuss his creative process, which many artists across industries can relate to: create high, edit sober, or create sober, edit high.
“Cannabis was never taboo. It was never the bogeyman. It’s always been a part of my family’s life; it’s always been attached to my heritage,” Santana said.
The aesthetically-stunning video is designed to spread awareness, educate, and reinforce that sense of community within cannabis. With more legalization comes more corporate, white-collar brands throwing their hats into the ring, but in order to keep the community alive, we must honor the spirituality and ritualism that has always been an important aspect of cannabis.
“Inspired by the wisdom of our ancestors, we want to promote a thoughtful and ritualistic approach to cannabis consumption to enhance the grounding, healing, and uplifting qualities of this sacred plant,” Carrano said.
VAYA is here to create that future: one where cannabis is accepted as nature’s tool, designed to help us navigate our emotions, build community, and honor that ancient, invaluable wisdom.