The CalAsian Chamber Gears Up to Visit Denver, Colorado for their “Mile High Study Mission”: A Closer Look at an Evolved Cannabis Market

Posted on May 16, 2018 by - News, Press Release

On September 23rd to 26th, 2018 the CalAsian Chamber will be taking a delegation comprised of regulators, entrepreneurs, investors, and electeds from California to Denver, Colorado to observe and experience the evolution of the cannabis industry since the legalization of adult-use in 2012 leading up to the successful regulation roll out in January 2014.

Our focus is to identify and explore the opportunities and challenges that regulators, entrepreneurs, and investors may encounter in California since legalization and how Colorado capitalized on this new industry. The study mission will also provide education and insight from developed businesses and regulators from all aspects of the industry including retail, cultivation, manufacturing, ancillary, banking, taxes and technology.

The trip will consist of tours, panels, and meetings amongst Denver’s industry leaders, Colorado’s regulators, and key members of the business community sharing their perspective on how the industry has changed since the transition to adult-use in 2014 as well as the industry’s impact on the City of Denver. The CalAsian Chamber hopes to bring back perspective and insight to both local and state representatives here in California in an effort to prepare for the future and protect both cannabis business Learn, Lead, and Refine.

Interested in joining us on our trip to Denver?

Contact Thuy Nguyen at or 916.389.7468

See our itinerary here 

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council Leads New Small Business Roundtable Coalition

Posted on May 14, 2018 by - News

Posted By Michael Guta On April 10, 2018 @ 1:45 pm In Economy

SOURCE: Small Business Trends

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council announces formation of the Small Business Roundtable [1], a coalition of small business advocacy groups including National Association for the Self Employed, National Association of Women Business Owners and others.


Small Business Roundtable Coalition

The goal of this coalition is to benefit the 30 million businesses across the US by advancing policy, securing access, and promoting inclusion for their owners. In addition to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, the National Association for the Self Employed and the National Association of Women Business Owners, the coalition will include the National Small Business Association, the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship.

One of the challenges individual small business owners face is not having the resources to affect policy changes. By bringing together millions of businesses into a coalition, the newly formed Small Business Roundtable will give small business owners the voice they need in local, state and national forums. This is one of the many benefits Rhett Buttle and John Stanford, founders and managers of Small Business Roundtable, addressed in a recent press release.

They said [2], “Washington responds most to organized interests, and today marks a step to better organize the small business community. One in ten Americans take the risk to launch a business, and when they succeed, our country succeeds. With the backing of our members we can make sure Congress and the Administration hear this message [3] loud and clear.”


The Need for the Small Business Roundtable

Simply put, the Small Business Roundtable was put together to put forward a unified voice on public policy regarding small business associations. With a singular resource, small business leaders will have access to the latest information so they can use it to increase their influence and better advance small business interests.

Small Business Roundtable Chair and President and CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Karen Kerrigan explained exactly what the coalition will do. She said the Small Business Roundtable will advance economic agendas across the United States while pushing forward meaningful action on a small business policy agenda. According to Kerrigan, oftentimes small business owners have been taking, “… a back seat to rhetoric or narrow special interests.”

She adds, “SBR plans to transform that narrative. We aim to coalesce the membership, reputation and influence of the collective small business community around three core offerings: policy, access and inclusion.”

Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber bets big on cannabis industry

Posted on May 11, 2018 by - News

Source: Sacramento Business Journal

by Scott Rodd Staff Writer Sacramento Business Journal

SUBSCRIBER CONTENT: Apr 26, 2018, 7:28am PDT

With California’s legalization of recreational cannabis on Jan 1, Frank Louie didn’t see uncertainty — he saw opportunity.

“The people voted — it was going to be a legal industry,” said Louie, chief operating officer of the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce. “And we recognized that small businesses and entrepreneurs were going to be a big part of this industry.”

Educating the Asian Pacific Chamber’s leadership and members about cannabis has been a top priority for the organization. Following the 2016 passage of Proposition 64, leaders from the Asian Pacific Chamber have met with regulators from the state Bureau of Cannabis Control and the city of Sacramento’s Office of Cannabis Policy and Enforcement to remain abreast of the industry’s evolving regulations.

Starting in May of last year, the Asian Pacific Chamber launched a series of panel discussions on the cannabis industry, featuring state and local regulators, as well as influential members of the Asian Pacific Chamber. The organization has also hosted smaller community gatherings.

The Asian Pacific Chamber’s goal, according to Louie, is to ensure its members have the necessary resources to transition their existing businesses to serve cannabis companies, as well as to launch new ventures in the budding marijuana space.

“There’s a very diverse need for resources for entrepreneurs trying to break into this industry,” he said.

Over the last year, the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce and the CalAsian Chamber of Commerce — state and local organizations based in Sacramento that share the same leadership staff — have organized five panel discussions featuring regulators, entrepreneurs and trade association leaders in the cannabis industry. The most recent event featured Lori Ajax, chief of the state Bureau of Cannabis Control, as its keynote speaker.

The ticketed events are open to the public, but members are able to attend at a significant discount. According to Louie, the panel discussions are an opportunity for members to learn about the industry, as well as gain access to influential people.

“Think about how a small business owner would be able to reach state regulators and policymakers on their own— they wouldn’t be able to,” he said. The Asian Pacific Chamber has also helped organize more intimate community gatherings for Asian-American business owners — especially for those who are first or second-generation Americans. In recent months, the organization hosted a community gathering in a South Sacramento neighborhood with a large Asian-American population. A trusted community leader held the gathering in his home, and the Asian Pacific Chamber arranged for an interpreter to translate the discussion for non-English-speaking attendees.

The smaller event was intended to cover practical requirements for getting involved in the cannabis industry. It also aimed to reverse long-held assumptions about marijuana.

Ophelia Chong, founder of the online platform Asian Americans for Cannabis Education, said one of the biggest challenges for the Asian Pacific Chamber has been destigmatizing cannabis. Chong’s website highlights Asian-American entrepreneurs and researchers working in cannabis. Louie approached her to join the CalAsian Chamber of Commerce in order to leverage her educational platform.

“With the interviews that I post, I try to talk about heritage, where people have come from and why they’re in the industry,” Chong said.

Chong, who is also the founder of stock photo agency StockPot Images LLC, is one of several cannabis entrepreneurs that the Asian Pacific Chamber recruited in anticipation of the state’s legalization of recreational cannabis.

Tyler Kearns, owner of SevenLeaves Products, a cannabis cultivator in North Sacramento, was invited to join the Asian Pacific Chamber’s board of directors.

Founded in 2015, SevenLeaves employs 12 full-time and 16 part-time employees. As an Asian Pacific Chamber board member, Kearns has hosted tours for members at his facility and conducted outreach with members of the Asian Pacific Chamber who want to break into the nascent industry.

“They need direction on where to start that process,” Kearns said.

Other area chambers of commerce do not appear to have named cannabis entrepreneurs to their boards. The California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, however, has conducted a cannabis business workshop, and the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce expressed support for Proposition 64. The Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has cannabis businesses represented in its membership, spokeswoman Erika Bjork said. “As an emerging industry, we are actively exploring ways that the Metro Chamber can engage, and support, this sector of the ag industry,” Bjork said in an email. The majority of Asian Pacific Chamber members Kearns has met with are looking to find an auxiliary niche in the cannabis industry — such as packaging, marketing or real estate services. In the coming months and years, Louie said, he expects a growing number of Asian Pacific Chamber members will launch cannabis-focused businesses, especially in cultivation and manufacturing.




Minority-owned Businesses Deserve a Shot at Pot Jackpot

Posted on May 11, 2018 by - News

Source: The Sacramento Bee


January 19, 2018

Not since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 has there been a business opportunity like the legalization of marijuana. To take advantage, the city of Sacramento is shaping a program to help disadvantaged communities participate in meaningful ways.

While nearby local governments are putting up barriers to the new marketplace, Sacramento is opening doors. City council members should be recognized for their political courage in approving the Cannabis Opportunity, Reinvestment and Equity program.

There are also obvious benefits for city government since recreational sales will generate vitally needed new taxes and fees. General fund revenues in 2016 from 30 medical marijuana dispensaries totaled more than $4.8 million.

The city’s social equity plan is an audacious experiment – as revolutionary as voters’ decision in 2016 to approve recreational marijuana use in California. Since the entire nation will be watching the experiment, the City Council and staff need to ensure that small minority-owned businesses wanting to participate have a level playing field. The city’s next step is to develop the request for proposals for outside groups to establish small business support centers and mentoring programs and to provide technical assistance.

Assisting minority businesses will also help persuade those skirting the law to come in from the cold. Fairly treating minority communities will keep businesses legitimate, keep the public safe and keep tax dollars flowing into city coffers.

When Bill Lockyer, California’s former attorney general, recently announced he was co-founding a cannabis distribution business in Los Angeles, he framed the legalization of marijuana in a way that’s practical to the business community: “I think legalizing will help stabilize and help legitimize this industry and result in better consumer protection and other public benefits.”

That is the reasoning behind the outreach programs that the Sacramento and California Asian-Pacific chambers of commerce have been conducting over the last year. We have held four roundtables and educational workshops, attracting several hundred attendees interested in learning more about this emerging industry and how to operate successful – and legal – enterprises. They are eager for more help and welcome the spirit behind the city’s social equity plan since many, themselves, were subjected to economic discrimination in the last century.

Pat Fong Kushida is president & CEO of the Sacramento Asian-Pacific Chamber of Commerce.

She can be contacted at

Treasurer Chiang Releases Recommendations to Address Lack of Banking for Cannabis Industry

Posted on May 11, 2018 by - News

SACRAMENTO – State Treasurer John Chiang today released a report outlining steps California can take to address the lack of banking services that force much of the cannabis industry to operate in cash.

“It is unfair and a public safety risk to require a legal industry to haul duffle bags of cash to pay taxes, employees and utility bills,” said Chiang. “The reliance on cash paints a target on the back of cannabis operators and makes them and the general public vulnerable to violence and organized crime.”

The Treasurer’s report comes two months before California begins a new era by legalizing the commercial sale of recreational cannabis on January 1, 2018. Voters overwhelmingly sanctioned this new industry in 2016 when they passed Proposition 64.

Legalizing adult-use cannabis is projected to generate annual sales exceeding $7 billion and an estimated $1 billion a year in tax revenues.

The findings in the detailed study released Tuesday were distilled from six public hearings of the Treasurer’s 18-person Cannabis Banking Working Group, whose members included representatives from local and state government, the cannabis industry, financial institutions and law enforcement.



Hindus urge California state board to reject textbooks due to negative images

Posted on May 11, 2018 by - News

As the State Board of Education prepares to adopt recommendations for new history social science textbooks on Thursday, it is being flooded with written comments – including many expressing concerns about negative portrayals of Hindus.

A coalition led by the Hindu American Foundation and other community groups that includes elected officials, nearly 40 academics and about 74 interfaith organizations is urging the board to “only adopt textbooks that are culturally competent, historically accurate and equitable in their representations of Hinduism, Jainism and Indian culture,” said Samir Kalra, foundation senior director.

By Tuesday, more than a dozen people carrying signs that said, “Don’t erase history, don’t erase caste” were assembling outside the California Department of Education building in Sacramento, said Janet Weeks, board spokeswoman…



Lyft, Uber drivers won’t need fingerprint checks, California rules

Posted on May 11, 2018 by - News

State utility regulators voted Thursday to require annual background checks for drivers at Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies, but decided not to subject them to the fingerprinting required of taxi drivers.

California companies have a gold mine in Asia

Posted on May 11, 2018 by - News

SOURCE: The Sacramento Bee


October 18, 2017

A recent conference in Los Angeles asked the question: “Should California have its own trade policy?”

The question is not new, but enlightened elected leaders such as Gov. Jerry Brown who are partnering on agreements to reduce carbon emissions are paving the way. In 2015, he helped create the Under2Coalition that now includes 170 jurisdictions on six continents, 16 percent of the world’s population and 39 percent of its GDP.

Here’s the connection to trade: Businesses, including in California, are developing the new technology and innovations that will cut carbon. California will take a larger role, particularly in our area of interest – the Pacific Rim.

We believe this is a special moment for California businesses and our brand, seen especially by Asian consumers as one of quality, trust and open-mindedness. A rising Asian middle class is driving consumer trends and economic activity. California is well positioned socially, geographically and historically to benefit from the economic power shifting to the Asia-Pacific, whose share of global GDP is expected to rise to almost 70 percent by 2050.

The Sacramento-based California Asian-Pacific Chamber of Commerce is creating new trade connections by helping minority-owned and small businesses grow their networks overseas. Asian businesses have been studying the American marketplace for years. To increase their chances of success, California companies large and small must do the same and become better versed in the cultural and business practices of Pacific Rim economies.

With the Trump administration withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate accord and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, overseas commerce developed by the Cal-Asian chamber in partnership with California businesses takes on an historic meaning. Trade has brought nations together, fostering peace and prosperity. We believe that it still true today.


Eugene Eng is chairman of the California Asian-Pacific Chamber of Commerce board and can be contacted at

Pat Fong-Kushida is president & CEO of the chamber and can be contacted at



Southwest Airlines® Adds Flights Throughout California and Expands International Options in Key Cities

Posted on May 11, 2018 by - News

Airline adds 19 new routes from California cities including international service for San Jose and Sacramento; Both Columbus and New Orleans also gain new international route

DALLAS—Aug. 28, 2017—

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) announced today a substantial investment for its California travelers and communities served as it extended its bookable flight schedule through June 1, 2018. Carrying more passengers to, from, and within the great state of California1 , Southwest is thanking its loyal Golden State Customers with even more flights including…


California exports rally in June, top $15 billion

Posted on May 11, 2018 by - News

August 04, 2017 02:01 PM

Updated August 08, 2017 09:51 AM