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Getting to Know Don Perico: The Most Flavorful New Edibles and Vapes

Don Perico is the passion project of Cesar Guzmán, the son of two farm workers and a cannabis industry connoisseur who set out to infuse his Mexican heritage into California’s everlasting hunger for high-quality edibles and vapes.

9:54 AM PDT on March 20, 2024

    A blanket spread out with Don Perico gummies

    via Don Perico

    When it comes to consuming cannabis edibles and hitting THC vapes, we had never really been in it for the flavor. Maybe that’s because the flavors never really spoke to us.

    This changed within seconds of meeting Don Perico, a cannabis brand producing superior edibles and vapes that we now find ourselves badgering our closest dispensary to re-up on every time they sell out. Which they always seem to do.

    Based out of the central coast of Santa Barbara County, Don Perico is the passion project of Cesar Guzmán, a cannabis industry connoisseur who set out to infuse his Mexican heritage into California’s everlasting hunger for high-quality edibles and vapes.

    “Don Perico’s mission is to provide a catalog of high quality and authentic products that the Latin American community can resonate with," he tells L.A. TACO. "Our goal is to promote the economic empowerment of our people."

    Guzmán’s launch of the brand was not solely motivated by a desire to create a strong and profitable business. Instead, it comes from a personal place driven by his own life and experiences.

    Don Perico founder Cesar Guzman, standing in a greenhouse filled with cannabis plants
    Don Perico co-founder Cesar Guzman, via Don Perico

    “My parents immigrated from Michoacán, México, and worked in ag fields for 25 years,” Guzmán says. “I was driven by their work ethic from a young age; they’d come home smelling like the farm after a long day and continue hustling. My dad later pursued a higher education at UCSB and became a teacher and the president of the Migrant Worker Program in Santa Maria. My
    mom is my inspiration when it comes to hard work and entrepreneurship. She built her own business and taught me the value of building relationships and a community. When I see my employees, I see my parents from 25 years ago.”

    Guzmán entered the cannabis industry this April, 12 years after graduating from high school. He created a nonprofit, Prop. 215-permitted cannabis delivery service on the Central Coast, connecting farmers in Northern California to Southern California dispensaries. Eventually, he moved to the Bay Area to focus on manufacturing cannabis products and developing industry relationships.

    It was there that he met Oakland based artist, PEMEX, who later became Don Perico’s creative director. In 2018 Guzman moved back to Santa Barbara County in pursuit of a prop 64 cultivation operation. In 2019, he met Don Perico’s co-founder, William Quirós, an entrepreneur born and raised in Alajuela, Costa Rica, with a passion for creating and making the highest quality products for Latinos.

    When some of their workers began asking them for the alcohol left over from cleaning scissors used for trimming cannabis plants to treat their aches and pains at the end of the day, he was willing, despite a lot of reluctance, concerned that the product wasn’t good for them.

    “They had achy hands and feet, or they had lower back pain,” he recounts. “Farm labor workers have long hours with repetitive movements and usually look for holistic solutions for their aches and pains."

    “We realized there's a lack of Latin American-focused cannabis products in the market that cater to and connect with my community,” Guzmán says. “The idea came through our direct relationships with our workers.”

    Don Perico’s tagline is “Marijuana Tradicional de California,” reminding us of the longevity and dominance of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the state, as well as their critical role in agriculture, not to mention the Latino activists and artists who fought to ensure the greater acceptance and availability of cannabis.

    A crystal bowl full of Don Perico gummies
    Cannabis-infused live rosin gummies, via Don Perico

    We initially fell (hard) for Don Perico’s line of tender gummies, which include nostalgic flavors inspired by Latin American fruit markets and tiendita snacks. We’d never seen a chamoy-flavored edible until Don Perico’s bright yellow package screamed out at us from the floor of Erba Markets in West L.A.’s Sawtelle neighborhood.

    As opposed to some of the harder-edged, aggressive brands trying to cater to Latinos, Don Perico’s packages are as bright and sunny as their flavors. They have a loud yellow color scheme that could blend into the aisles of a Vallarta supermarket and a beachy vibe meant to resonate with the Central Coast to L.A. and down through Mexico to the sands of Costa Rica and beyond. The package is complete with a smoking parrot in a fedora.

    “The parrot is the unofficial mascot for the Latin American household,” Guzmán says. “You go to your abuelita or tia’s house, and almost always, there’s a parrot in the kitchen, cumbia playing in the background, fresh fruit, the aroma of just poured coffee.”

    The strawberry flavor tastes just like the actual fruit and is completely delicious. Other tropical flavors, like tamarindo-and-mango chamoy, pineapple, and watermelon-and-chamoy ring just as true. Don Perico’s gummies are made using the actual fruits they’re styled after, as their accurate flavors demonstrate.

    Suddenly, we were into edibles for their taste as much as their buzz. We protested, sometimes in our heads, but usually to our budtenders, every time we were forced to buy a competitor when Don Perico was sold out.

    Another aspect that immediately hooked us on the brand was the clean, quick, and enjoyable high. Don Perico works with a community of operators to grow its own flower and manufacture its products, a rarity for commercial cannabis brands. Another huge draw is the low price point for high-quality products.

    The gummies are made with high-grade ice water hash produced without the use of solvents and other chemicals you don’t want in your body. Just like the canned drinks Don Perico plans to release soon, the gummies employ nanotechnology from a company named InfusedBySplash. This technology whips THC into a more absorbable form, allowing you to feel its effects faster, longer, and gentler.

    Each bag of Don Perico contains ten 10 mg gummies, all of which use hybrid strains. We’re yet to see these bags priced over $12.

    “Our business model aims to scale to provide pricing that’s accessible to people like our workers that normally wouldn't buy a live rosin pen,” the co-founder says. “We don’t want to lose sight of why we got into this business in the first place. We would love for everyone to try our products but the goal is to reach our community and bring our flavor and representation to the culture.”

    A person in a cap hitting a vape pen

    Already fans of its edibles, we embraced Don Perico’s vapes, which come in medical-grade, disposable ceramic cartridges. The vapes are made with live rosin, a superior product to the similarly named live rosin.

    Live rosin is free of harsh chemicals found all too commonly in cannabis products. This live rosin is pressed from a bubble hash extracted from high-grade cannabis flowers picked at their peak on Don Perico’s farms and carefully kept in cold storage.

    Passing a Don Perico vape around the squad at Santa Anita Park right before the kickoff to our Birriamania event, one draw gave us a powerful high in a smooth cloud of fruit-forward terpenes. The pleasant high held strong for several hours, all through the rainy day of furious horse races, hilarious lucha libre, and piping hot birria.

    The flavors of the vapes are ideal for this warming weather; images of summer music festivals, family carne asadas, and backyard boogies dancing in our heads as we puff, puff, pass, whether it be the piney notes of Mendo or the fruity fiesta of Banana Punch or Jelly Pie.

    In introducing these products to the Latino market, the Don Perico team seeks to keep their products affordable, easy to adopt, and familiar.

    “The strategy was to launch with user-friendly products that weren't going to require additional accessories or equipment,” he says. “In the Latin American community, we don't like to deviate from what we’re used to. Everything is based on trust, so if there’s a Latino promoting and producing the product, we're more likely to give it a try.”

    The brand also has its own line of cold-cured live rosin for the dab-inclined. Soon it will release its canned drinks and also has plans to sell its first flower strain, grown in premium soil. In addition, a straightforward health-and wellness brand called Doña Dolores is in the works, with tinctures and topicals at the center.

    Don Perico products are currently stocked in more than ten SoCal dispensaries and more are adding Don Perico to their shelves everyday.

    But if you’re anything like us, it won’t be long until you’re pestering your closest dispensary into making sure they’re stocked and available there at all times.

    Hats, bags, and vapes from Don Perico's line of merchandise and cannabis products
    via Don Perico

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