AACE Interview: David Rhee

I met David through Facebook, we found each other through our shared work in the cannabis industry. David is one of my favorite "go-to's" for anything cannabis and for his sense of humor that makes me smile and grateful for our connection.


       Hello. My name is David. I am a Korean-American. Our family emigrated to the US back in 1977, when our family was moved thanks to the US Military. My father had joined the US military after being drafted by the Korean National Army back in the day. After two tours in Vietnam and receiving a couple of warm bullets to his backside, he was honorably discharged and thus allowed our family to become US citizens rather quickly.

         As you can imagine, growing up in an Asian family was not the easiest path for child to grow up in; especially in America. Become a doctor. Become a lawyer. Dream big, but make sure that it is about becoming a doctor or a lawyer, were the words that seemed to ring out every god damned day. Oh yeah. Almost forgot about, “Do you know what I had to go through to get you here?” I guess that is the root of my rebellious nature, now that I think about it.

         Coming out of the closet about cannabis to my parents was never direct. We did NOT have discussions of this sort in my household. How I came out was they caught me smoking when I was in middle school. Funny that I started a year earlier after a friend introduced me to this wonderful new world a plant could give. They hadn’t noticed till they saw it with their own eyes! I still remember it clearly; them coming home and I didn’t’ hear the garage door opening. The only thing I could see was 5 minutes in front me; me bending over with either a belt or a switch.   

         They were extremely angry but after being hit in the ass so many times for other shenanigans, I figured that a few whoopins was worth it if I were able to do what I wanted to do. Again, the rebellious nature rearing its ugly head.

         At that time, I didn’t know much about cannabis except that it made me feel so different than the norm. I lost all pressures, fears, and hatred towards being a perfect Asian American kid. I didn’t know about sativas and indicas. I just cared about getting’ some.


         Now, I prefer whatever I can get. I plan according to which strain I have. Sativas allow me to have a hit in the morning rather than coffee. With indicas,, I will have a cup of joe and won’t touch it till I get home. With so many hybrids, with so many different mixed percentages, with so many names, I can’t keep track. I do know that I love the lemon haze and the GG4, but If I do come across some original skunk, I will take it with all my heart and my money.

         My favorite way to consume is all the ways known to man. Except for suppositories. I won’t do that. LOL! I know this isn’t the direct answer you are looking for, but I am not a finicky cat. Visiting the Netherlands, I learned how to roll a Dutch Cone. Has been my favorite ever since. I still love the bong and pipe, but even with so many new ways to consume, I still love my old-fashioned joints. By the way, the hash you get in coffeeshops in Holland is still my fave, not flowers.

My roots into the cannabis market stems from a few paragraphs before this one. Always the curious cat, I started to grow. Didn’t have the full on colas like you see on Facebook or any other social media outlet, but it grew. As time passed, my father’s pain of being shot in the Vietnam War started to become more and more prevalent. He would never touch cannabis nor does he till this day. He was taught back when he was a kid that all drugs, other than the ones allowed by the government and prescribed by doctors, were bad for you and will make you want to eat your neighbors. I still wanted to help people like him in pain.

         About a decade ago, I started a cannabis grow for the benefit of complete donations to veterans. I did this discreetly and without anyone knowing other than the recipients. With the quasi legalization in Oregon for MMJ, I had to apply for a medical grow. I wanted to be safe just in case

         With the strict testing regulations now, the wait time for batches, the merger with the OLCC for both medical and recreational, I don’t see a future where I can continue to help. I had begun deconstructing the grow, but was able to sell to a buyer wholesale.

         I am currently not in the market as of this moment, but until patients’ rights come before the recreational, I don’t see myself getting back into the cannabis market any time soon. I was never in it for the money, but for the people’s lives I can have a positive effect on.

         I wish that someday, I can change the minds here in Korea about the perception of cannabis and how wonderful of a plant this can be. Not only that, but to educate the masses about the uses of hemp in all industries is a dream of mine. Slowly, I think I am changing the minds of people thanks to all those that came before me.


Ophelia ChongComment