Julio Urrutia Brings the Inaugural Latino Cann to Chicago’s Fiesta del Sol
Latinos in the United States are the most potentially profitable market for cannabis in the country.
Latinos in the United States contribute more to the GDP than the entire GDPs of countries like Italy, Brazil, and Canada, according to the Latino Donor Collective’s 2021 LDC U.S. Latino GDP report. To further quantify this, Latinos in the U.S. have the seventh highest GDP contribution in the entire world, which is tied with the GDP of the entire country of France.
“If you’re a cannabis C-Suite person and you’re not marketing to this audience, someone else is going to!” said Julio Urrutia co-founder of the cannabis social media platform Hyve. “If you get the Latino consumer, you can live and die on that.”
Through Hyve, Urrutia is now working to help cannabis companies target Latino communities for marketing while also helping expose Latinos to the opportunities within the cannabis industry. Urritia is also working alongside Chicago’s upcoming Fiesta del Sol (July 28-31) to increase the Latino presence in the cannabis community.
Recognizing the Consumer Value of the Latino Community
Urrutia is from upstate New York and now lives in Chicago, Illinois. As a graduate of Syracuse University with a B.A. in International Relations, he holds a unique background that blends politics, advertising, community engagement, public affairs, and technology. His experiences encompass working within immigration reform, helping to preserve Puerto Rican arts and culture, and providing consulting services to government, public agencies, nonprofits, and businesses. His passion is now working with cannabis businesses and entrepreneurs to embrace the power and potential of targeted advertising.
Urrutia co-founded Hyve when he and his partners recognized the capacity for social networking within cannabis, especially within Latino communities with their extensive market power. It’s been known since social media began that marketing and promotion of cannabis goes against most social platforms’ community guidelines. “Hyve is an attempt to address this,” Urrutia says.
Hyve’s capabilities include allowing users to create profiles and make cannabis-related posts and share products they’re enjoying. QR codes for product promotions will help the user make a cut of the sale, and brands can make direct relationships with users and influencers to help promote their product. “We are leveraging the internet so that people can be online cannabis entrepreneurs,” explains Urrutia.
Celebrating Cannabis at Fiesta del Sol
Hyve will play a part in the upcoming Fiesta del Sol in Chicago, happening July 28 through 31. Fiesta del Sol is the largest Latino festival of its kind in the United States and averages more than one million visitors each year.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Fiesta del Sol and in recognition of its rich history and with an eye toward amplifying the Latino culture the event inviting cannabis industry partners to the Cannabis Expo called “Education in Cannabis”.
Over the four days of Fiesta del Sol, the Cannabis Expo will be offering activities around cannabis business and entrepreneurship and education around cannabis. Of incredible social impact, over the weekend Fiesta del Sol will be hosting the first cannabis expungement event, where members of the community will have the opportunity to start down the pathway to clearing their records.
Speakers at Fiesta del Sol cover four main topics: Know Your Rights, The Art of Advocacy, Get Your Career Started in the Cannabis Industry, and Latinas in Cannabis: Carving Out Your Space in the Cannabis Industry and are spaced over the four days. An expo will happen on July 30 where cannabis brands can be visited by potentially hundreds of thousands of people.
Julio Urrutia says that this large cannabis event within one of the largest events in the world will serve as a springboard for exploring targeted marketing with cannabis businesses and entrepreneurs through Hyve. The developing Latino Cann platform will serve as a space to help drive traffic to Hyve’s targeted marketing efforts within Latino communities.
Further Exploring the Latino Economic Impact
“I believe that Latinos are responsible for the growth of the U.S. economy. They’re young, they’re educated, and they have resources, and that will continue to grow,” he says. “That should be prime cannabis consumer targets. There hasn’t been enough done yet to envision how the products fits into [Latino] lifestyles.”
In 2019, the Latino population was 60.6 million, up from 14.6 million in 1980, according to the 2021 LDC U.S. Latino GDP report. Of most important to note are the staggering numbers of Latino Post-Millennials, those born between 1997 and 2020, who are entering the workforce and economy with more education and resources than Baby Boomers. Their emergence as a large demographic will cause a “slingshot effect” that will create one of the most powerful and profitable generational markets.
When considering the Latino experience, the Latino lifestyle, or how to market cannabis to Latino communities, Urrutia provides some valuable insights. “There’s no template that exists for all Latinos. It’s an eclectic, wide-ranging group with different backgrounds and experiences,” he says. Indeed, “Latino” is difficult to define because of the differences between cultures and communities, however, it is generally classified as a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.
“What Latinos have going for us collectively is a culture – it’s not a status thing,” says Urrutia, “[Latino culture is] something you have to constantly recreate, like when you celebrate a birthday, holiday, or any other tradition. Over time, it evolves and adapts to the times,” he describes. “There is a powerful way to attach that with what is happening in cannabis and what will happen in the space moving forward.”
Urrutia’s vision for Hyve is that it will be a resource for cannabis brands, companies, and entrepreneurs to tap into the power of the Latino cannabis community. “We want to be the place where the connecting and engagement happen,” he says.
He acknowledges that there is still work to be done to undo some of the harms placed against Latino communities. “MSOs are making money hand over fist when we have historically been punished for what they’re doing now,” says Urrutia, “Like anyone else in cannabis that aspires to normalization, there is a tremendous amount of work to be done to address the propaganda and the War on Drugs,” he further says, echoing the sentiments of members of the BIPOCANN network highlighted in previous member spotlights. “That is very real,” he adds.
Hyve has been developed and will soon be available through app stores. Urrutia’s passion for the plant is undoubtedly going to rub off on the communities he works to impact through targeted market. “Cannabis the plant has recreational and social uses as well as pharmaceutical grade and medicinal,” he says, “I don’t know if there are any products exist out there that mirror those type of qualities. It is a unique product, period.” We couldn’t agree more.
Join the BIPOCANN Network
BIPOCANN supports BIPOC cannabis entrepreneurs in various stages of entering and navigating the market, both in plant-touching and ancillary services. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Julio Urrutia and Hyve to ensure that Latino consumers and prospective cannabis entrepreneurs have the support, visibility, mentorship, and resources to thrive through the potentials of the cannabis industry. Learn more about BIPOCANN and the benefits of becoming a member here.