AACE Interview: Krystal Kitahara

Krystal Kitahara is a young Japanese American entrepreneur with a business background and a strong belief in the healing powers of cannabis. Krystal quit her 9 to 5 to create Yummi Karma and its unique line of cannabis-infused edibles, topicals, and tinctures. Since then, she has been winning edibles awards left and right and we're honored to have the opportunity to chat with her.


Salt and Pepper Chips: "How do you just eat one?” Dosing is an issue in the edibles business, how do you manage dosing with a product that out of habit, most people will eat in one sitting? Have you thought of mixing non-medicated and medicated chips into one bag so that the dosage is manageable in one sitting?

Funny that you ask! No one should, under any circumstances, try to eat just one chip. I’ve done it and would not recommend it to anyone! (You should see flavor testing days at our facility!) That’s why we made a single serving bag with enough chips to be satisfied, and with the perfect dose (50 mg) of cannabis. And if you need a larger dose, it gives you a perfect excuse to open another bag.


Your products are skewed towards to women, do you have plans for tinctures for men? For instance you have Mood Magic for PMS, would there be one for men? 

Let’s be honest, the PMS tincture benefits men too. It’s funny because men have lined up to get Mood Magic for their girlfriends. We’ve even gotten a few thank you notes. In all seriousness though, we would never leave men out. We are a female-run company, and there’s a lot of shiny, glittery things in our facility, but we do let men work here too and they provide valuable insight into our products. You’ll definitely see some more masculine products in the future.


Will Yummi Karma be the first with a medicated soy sauce? 

Well we already have a medicated teriyaki sauce, and that’s been a hit in our community. Now that you bring it up, we’ll have to make some soy sauce in your honor!


Margaret Cho’s QA with us answered this question “There has been an explosion of edibles on the market in the last year, from pretzels, popcorn, medicated nuts and of course everything chocolate. If you were going to create an edible for the Asian market what would it be?” Margaret answered: Pocky! What would your choice be for a snack that appeals to Asians?

First of all, we need Margaret’s number, because she was born to be our spokeswoman! We will totally make her Pocky. I can’t tell you how many medicated Asian-inspired meals I’ve made thanks to our Sriracha sauce. Yummi!


Love Potion Number 420: Asians love sex as much as the next person, how would you sell this in an Asian market? Comedian Randall Park appeared in a series of KY Lube ads which played off the quiet stereotypical Asian behaviors. The Asian market has been growing and ad agencies have been sensitive to our cultural differences. As an Asian American woman, how would you market Love Potion to this market? 

We kind of just put it all out there, and people of all colors, races, genders, sexual orientations and everything in between are responding! Love Potion #420 was one of those beautiful mistakes that we stumbled upon and decided to launch it right away. Try it, then thank us later.


When you decided to start Yummi Karma, how did you tell your parents about your idea? What was their reaction to your entry into the cannabis industry?

I have been so lucky to come from a really tolerant, open-minded family. My Japanese father is a successful businessman, so I took a business oriented approach to telling him about my idea. I came prepared with market research and a business plan, and he was sold.  My mom, who has always struggled with sleep issues was easier. She was the inspiration behind our Drift Away tincture, and once she tried it and got a full night’s sleep, she quickly became Yummi Karma’s first superfan!


One of the best late night commercials was for Pearl Cream which had actress Nancy Kwan as their spokeswoman. Does Yummi Karma have plans on manufacturing any beauty products? 

Wow, that commercial is a gem! We are very excited to share with your readers that we are launching a beauty line called High Gorgeous! The products are amazing and have been so fun to develop. We can’t promise your skin will glow like a pearl, but it will definitely shine like a… cannabis leaf??? Ok, we’re still nailing down the slogan there. Canna you help us? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)