Legalization of marijuana is a growing trend among Asian Americans. Asian Americans are now the fastest-growing group of marijuana users, according to a study by the National Asian American Survey conducted by the University of California, Berkeley. In fact, they are more likely to use the drug than any other racial or ethnic group, including African Americans.

Marijuana legalization has been on the rise in the United States and is getting even wider acceptance in the Asian country. Most Asian Americans have been against the legalization of marijuana for years, but recent polls suggest that the majority of Asian Americans are now in support of marijuana legalization, including the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

A number of Asian Americans are embracing legalization of marijuana, but this may not come as a surprise to some, given the long history of Asian Americans being prohibited from using the drug. But, as more states move to legalize or decriminalize cannabis, more Asian Americans are bucking stereotypes to become active participants in the legalization movement.

Cannabis began to gain a positive reputation after the medical community began to scrutinize its powerful compounds, and now the Asian community has also joined the cannabis revolution.

Some things have taken the world by storm and are still not accepted by the Asian community – not because they are not good enough, but because they are not accepted by the culture. However, attitudes in Asia towards cannabis, its ingestion and use have changed. To consolidate marijuana’s place in the Asian community, it is necessary to understand what led to this change.

Asian Americans and Cannabis Discourse

Asian culture is a largely conservative space that has shunned cannabis and drug use. Pressure from Western-sponsored UN treaties has created an era of cannabis prohibition in Asia, making it difficult for cannabis companies to enter the Asian market.

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In the early 1980s, for example, people in South Korea were jailed for decades for possessing marijuana. Smokers now risk up to five years in prison and fines ranging from $40,000 to more than $50 million. The South Korean government has also threatened to arrest its citizens for marijuana use in other countries where recreational cannabis is legal. Today, people from the 1980s and the generation before have adopted these rules and discourage their children from using drugs because they fear the pitfalls of addiction and the public humiliation of a prison sentence.

Young Asians who immigrated to America felt the burden of making their parents proud and not disappointing them with their cannabis use. From one Asian generation to another, the same message has been preached: Cannabis is dangerous.

Given the vast potential of cannabis and the fact that the younger Asian generation is quickly embracing it, it is worth considering: Why is cannabis talked about so much, so much so that it has become the most talked about phenomenon?

Pandemic and awareness of the value of cannabis

Around the world we have had a pandemic that has separated families and friends. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to major lifestyle changes: People now know that they need to be healthy to avoid becoming susceptible to the virus.

Studies have shown that cannabis has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that protect your immune system even when the virus rears its head. Thanks to these proven cannabis treatments, the Asian community can no longer deny its effects, leading many to adopt it despite cultural barriers.

Photo: Ramille Soares via Unsplash

The Asian community has recognized that what works and affects their well-being trumps cultural preferences. Cannabis has also gotten a bad reputation over the years. This bad reputation is due to ignorance of the potential of cannabis.

Cannabis began to gain a positive reputation after the medical community began to scrutinize its powerful compounds, and now the Asian community has joined the cannabis revolution.

Tidal range change: Why they chose cannabis

The new wave of cannabis in Asian communities is due to the Asian diaspora who have experienced the positive and stimulating effects of cannabis abroad. Although they retained the initial skepticism they had picked up at home, they began to experiment, explore, and be open to marijuana.

They saw cannabis as a way to break free from the conservatism that was preventing them from enjoying the benefits of marijuana. The cannabis industry is the fastest growing market in the US, with employment growth of 100% over the past three years.

Due to its increasing medicinal value and many medical applications, more and more US states are legalizing cannabis, making it a socially accepted substance. The cannabis industry in America is expected to be worth more than $90 billion by 2026. Such statistics give Asians in the diaspora confidence in the future of marijuana.

Leaders and people from Asia developing the cannabis market

The acceptance of cannabis in Asia is not limited to public acceptance, as more and more executives and individuals are taking the initiative to invest in the marijuana sector.

Most notable are former business analysts Mia Park and Dae Lim, who switched from the analytics industry to the marijuana business. The partners have released a collection of cannabinoids mixed with Asian flavors like milk tea, sour yuzu and lychee. Additionally, Papa and Barkley’s CFO, Zeeshan Haider, has left the banking industry to focus on the financial side of cannabis businesses.

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These include several businessmen and people of Asian descent who have realized the great health and economic importance of cannabis and have joined the community. It is difficult to name an exact number of Asian-Americans who have taken jobs in the cannabis industry.

But there are signs that more and more people of Asian descent are giving up traditional professions to take up cannabis. Interestingly, Asians who were against cannabis in the 1980s are imploring the younger generation to turn to CBD-based medicines for some common ailments.

From arthritis to chronic pain to nausea, some in the older Asian community are beginning to recognize the value of cannabis as a medicinal plant. They are beginning to appreciate the health benefits of the marijuana plant, leading to a cultural shift in favor of marijuana among Asians.

While attitudes toward the value of marijuana will not change radically, this gradual shift among Asian Americans provides a good foundation for the future.


The conservative nature of the Asian community’s attitude towards marijuana has denied it the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of marijuana for many years. But unlike in the past, young Asian Americans who have become familiar with marijuana’s impact on health and economic growth are beginning to change that perspective.

They are leaving their traditional jobs to join cannabis companies and manufacture cannabis products because they have seen the contribution cannabis makes to American society and economy. By embracing cannabis despite cultural barriers, they are paving the way for the next generation to embrace marijuana use and innovate.

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