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L.A.’s Latino-Owned-and-Grown ‘Humo’ Wins Gold For Two Strains, Including Their ‘Arroz Con Leche’ Sativa—at California State Fair

4:20 PM PDT on July 5, 2022

State and county fairs used to be opportunities to shine if you’d raised a prize-winning piglet or had a particularly shiny Nigerian Dwarf goat to show off or some sort of giant peach or something. But starting this year, The California State Fair added the appraisal of cannabis strains, awarding prizes to the best Golden State-grown ganja, in addition to its usual surveys of state-raised cheeses, olive oils, wine, and beer.

Visit Hollyweed shares the full rundown of the California State Fair Cannabis Awards’ 60 gold and silver-place winners today, culled from a list of over 300 entries, as well as the winners of the coveted Golden Bear Award for California’s best.

State-grown Cannabis was evaluated in three categories (indoor, outdoor, and mixed light) using testing from SC Labs in a purely scientific evaluation of flower by their terpene and cannabinoid expressions, and overall terpene-to-cannabinoid ratio. There are no judges, just pure science. The entire enterprise gives cannabis the same exacting consideration reserved, in the past, for such products as fine wine and craft beer, endowing the fruits of the cannabis industry with greater legitimacy beyond branding and hype.

One name popped out at L.A. TACO among the long list of winners: Humo, the Mexican-American-owned, women-led, Salinas-grown cannabis business intent on promoting greater respect and recognition for Latino growers and professionals in the industry.

Since its recent launch earlier this year, Humo has been on a mission to boost the visibility of and respect for Latinos' widespread participation in the cannabis trade (from budtenders and growers to executives and owners) and culture, while authentically connecting with both the community and a wider base of consumers, with its water-efficient, pesticide-free herb, which is available in flavorful strains such as “Pulque,” “Horchata,” and “Gelatina.”

Joining other prize-winning California farms, Humo was awarded “Gold” for two of its Salinas-raised strains in the “Mixed Light” category. The company goes by the motto: “By la raza, pa’ la raza.

For those who follow local L.A. cannabis movers-and-shakers, Susie Plascencia, Humo’s brand partner in charge of development, social media, and marketing and sales, is both a familiar name and revered figure in the rapidly growing world of weed.

The Whittier-raised Plascencia tells L.A. TACO she and the Humo team are over the moon about these Gold wins:

“We are California’s Mexican-American-owned brand and I think that people are coming out to support raza and to support women in cannabis,” she says. “Being representative of the culture is great and all, but to really win over those consumers and patients, the flower has to be quality. This award is based on the flower and terpene expression of it, and the great work that our agriculture specialists are doing. It doesn’t take into account any other element.”

“A lot of the time the industry is putting its attention towards celebrity-owned brands or someone doing the next hottest thing, where flower quality can kinda become secondary,” Plascencia continues. “This cuts through all that. This competition, it’s putting our quality and terpene profile at the forefront. And it’s putting the grower first, which sometimes this industry can put second or even third because the brand usually comes first. It’s great to see Latino growers getting this opportunity, this highlight on a completely scientific basis. We’re really just proud that the growers get to have this moment for all their great work.”

Humo won Gold for two strains with “popping” terpene profiles: its Sativa-dominant Limonada, based on chia-seed-speckled, super-tart Mexican limeade.

According to Plascencia, “When you open up this jar or bag, you’re able to get all these terpenes. You’re really able to take them in, the scent and taste. And the top terpene in this strain is the limonene. That’s why it’s named Limonada, it really encompasses the scent but also gives you a window into the terpene profile.”

Humo’s other gold-winning strain is the Sativa-dominant, dessert-inspired Arroz Con Leche, which she notes is also “very high in terpenes, but with a little bit of a spicy overtone. So when you smoke this strain, it does have a little bit of that spice to it on the exhale and also has a powdery milk consistency to the scent as well.”

Plascencia says the Humo team will pick up the physical awards on July 22. And are excited about what the honors, free of the influence of marketing, mean for the fledgling company.

“Just because we’re young, doesn’t mean we can’t win gold,” she says. “And it shows that just because you’re Latino, it doesn’t mean you’re low-quality. We’re Latino and we’re an award-winning flower brand, and those two can co-exist. We’re really proud of that and trying to show our consumers that you now have a brand that represents quality, culture, and everything that we really stand for on the shelves. And you can go out and support our farmers today.”

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