Daniel Torres has worked in the cannabis business since he was 16 years old, amounting to over two decades of experience in cultivation, retail, wholesale, and all other aspects of the business. But throughout his lengthy career, he had never seen a product that reflected who he is and where he’s come from. As a first-generation Mexican American, in a marketplace saturated with standard chocolates and gummies, Torres wanted to be different, which is how he dreamt up his cannabis company Mari y Juana in 2016.
“What propelled me to make the brand from the beginning is I saw very little representation of culture and Mexican Americans, or even Latinos in general,” Torres says. “In this [cannabi] space, they’re always the workers, the laborers—in the restaurant industry they’re the dishwasher or cook.”
Torres took it upon himself to change the narrative by being the CEO and founder. Initially, Mari y Juana was going to be an edibles brand specializing in spicy Mexican candies, but he wanted to stand out from the already crowded cannabis confection market. He wanted to do something different.
“There’s a market right now for beverages that’s emerging,” Torres explains. “A couple of years ago, people wouldn’t really look twice at a beverage, but because of the advancements in science, flavoring, and branding, there’s a large variety of products that more closely resembles your liquor store or convenience store.” As an Angeleno and a Mexican American, what better drink to infuse with cannabis than a michelada?