Taiwanese-American Cannabis ventures fear asking help from Taiwanese community

As the legal cannabis business in the United States expands into what may be a US$34 billion dollar industry by 2025, according to some estimates, Taiwanese-American cannabis ventures face a unique hurdle – fear of asking for help from the Taiwanese community.

James Shih, an experienced attorney, CEO, and co-founder of California-based My Green Network (MyGN) reached out to Taiwan English News to talk about the problem.

Shih, fellow co-founder and Chief Legal Officer, Ken Hwang, a seasoned entertainment and cannabis lawyer, and COO Ed Chu, a Michelin-trained chef, are all of Taiwanese heritage.

“MyGN revolutionizes access as a first mover in the legal cannabis industry fusing shared-economy with licensed cannabis business operations sparking innovation, collaboration, and diversity in an already challenging industry,” Shih said.

Shared workspaces for cannabis ventures in Orange County, California. Picture: My Green Network.

“We have been featured on BenzingaHigh TimesYahoo Finance and over 100+ press platforms. We have launched one of America’s first (if not the very first) public offerings under SEC Regulation CF under Microventures for a licensed cannabis company – not just CBD/industrial hemp,” Shih told Taiwan English News.

“We are a Taiwanese cannabis company struggling to make our name in the United States in the world’s largest cannabis market – California. I am also connected with several other Taiwanese-Americans which own cannabis companies, and we all face a severe obstacle – the fear to ask for help from our own community which we take immense pride in being part of.”

“As cannabis is rapidly emerging as a global commodity, our community is still facing fear to reach out to our own country for support. We are being turned away for support by Caucasians in America, blacks have their own community to support, Hispanics have their own community as well. Even China has the ability to ask for help through their country. Yet we struggle as Taiwanese-Americans striving to make a name for ourselves in the cannabis industry while being afraid to ask our community for support.”

While regulations on cannabis are being liberalized throughout much of the west, in Taiwan, marijuana remains a category 2 controlled substance along with such drugs as amphetamines and cocaine. In 2019, Kaohsiung City health officials warned the public to not purchase oil of unclear origin after trace amounts of THC were found in hemp seed oil.

Part of the problem is cultural, James Shih said in a podcast interview on The Entrepreneur Way earlier this year.

“So, one of the things in the Asian community, in almost every Asian country, drugs and cannabis has always been treated as almost like a death sentence drug… Everywhere around the world in Asia specifically I think that the penalties for drug use has always been very harsh. And that kind of lead into my family at the very least when I indicated that I wanted to step into this field, and this was in about 2011, they were just not on board, they were saying this is too risky, there is nothing you can do about this, get out of there, we will not help you or we will not be supportive of you.”

“I hope to show the Taiwanese community that their counterparts which are struggling to compete in a difficult market need their community to support them. That if we do not gather together and support Taiwanese owned cannabis and change our thought process, Taiwan faces severe future consequences like potentially being flooded by non-Taiwanese grown cannabis, like China’s dominance in the cannabis industry, even as the United Nations decriminalizes cannabis, and 68% of America supports legalizing cannabis federally.” 

My Green Network is seeking funding via crowdsourcing on MicroVentures.

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