By Angela Underwood
Gender and minority stereotypes played no role in Amy Yamamura breaking into the cannabis industry.
As a matter of fact, both have propelled the Japan native forward in the U.S. market with Wildflower Wellness, a Vancouver and Washington-based CBD brand that promises and follows through with holistic wellness.
“For my experience, I felt more opportunities than obstacles with being a woman and being a minority in this industry,” Yamamura told The New York Daily Report for a New Year’s Day interview.
Yamamura, who grew up in Japan and graduated from Boston University at the turn of the century, said she watched as Massachusetts and other states began acknowledging the benefits of medical marijuana and CBD for the first time.
“I was just so amazed and in awe of what this plant can do,” she said. “My friend’s doctors were prescribing it and being from Japan, with such a different background, I was really amazed.”
After returning to Japan after graduation, Yamamura believed enough in what she witnessed to move across the Pacific Ocean to Vancouver in 2011.
“When the opportunity came for people in Canada to apply for licenses and grow cannabis, my partner William, now the CEO of the company, presented this opportunity to me,” she said. “I knew right away that this was going to be the next dot com industry, so that’s why I jumped in.”
Six years later in 2017, Yamamura was interviewed by Asian Americans for Cannabis for her burgeoning success, proving what would normally hold her back as a minority female business owner propelled her forward.
“I think that is because there is an avenue to speak to these people in a niche market,” she said. “It’s true there are a lot of obstacles compared to traditional industries, and things are always changing so that remains very difficult, but the minority aspect and being a woman gave me more opportunity.”
Not only does diversity not hold her back, she thrives off being different.
“Coming from Japan where everybody is the same, I am amazed at all the diversity in women here, which is really cool to me,” she said.
Japan’s illegal state of mind on cannabis is a far cry from Yamamura’s point of view, noting the country is only now acknowledging the medical benefits of the plant, specifically for children with epilepsy.
“CBD is starting to come into Japan, but cannabis and marijuana as a recreational drug is very frowned upon, but CBD in health and wellness is coming in,” she said.
Until she can share the well-being and wealth that CBD has to offer to her own culture, Yamamura plans on working hard overseas here to expand the company’s reach, inviting investors to strike while the iron is hot.
“My hopes are to connect with more people, since my path the last four years has really been neck deep in building the company with our team,” she said. “I have not been out there in the world, connecting with as many like minded women as I want to, so that is definitely an aspiration for me.”
There seems to be no doubt that while she aspires to connect with female cannabis leaders, she will inevitably bring some serious knowledge to the table herself.
“I want to put myself out there and share with other people, specifically to let people know the reality of things, which is not glitz and glamour at all,” she said. “I have a massively hard time balancing home life and work life, that is the truth, but it is all worth it to me.”
If 2020 is as successful for the minority female business owner as 2019, she will continue to prove that CBD is a universal language that goes far beyond both gender and culture.
“I really have a respect for the plant and what it can do for the people,” Yamamura said.
The New York Daily Weed Report is glad she does.