Mesobis: Imbuing cannabis with Latin American culture
Mesobis, an amalgamation of “Mesoamerica” and “cannabis,” exists at the point where Latin American culture meets industry. Co-founders Nelson Cury and Santiago Cervantes are old friends from boarding school who came together to create a cannabis brand that embodies their cultures. Mesobis launches today (April 14) with a trio of Gomitas, which are all-natural, THC-infused gummies with Latin American flavors. The founders told Ganjapreneur about the brand in a recent chat.
Each gummy is molded in the shape of a pyramid of the sun and comes in three iconic flavors. Californian cannabis consumers can now find the following three flavors: Mango con Chile, Tamarindo con Chamoy and Acai. Each flavor was inspired by either Cervantes’ original home in Mexico or Cury’s hometown in Brazil. While they started with gummies to match their heritage flavors, the team hopes to add more product categories to their lineup as the brand grows.
The co-founders aren’t just focused on the California adult market: the brand will also operate as an art studio based out of their Van Nuys studio. Soon they’ll be releasing high-end streetwear and continuing to collaborate with local artists on projects like a recent reimagining of Gomitas Flavors in the form of larger-than-life figures considered “mesobians” by the Los Angeles-based artist. Mexico. Orly Anan. The art studio’s mission is to create a cannabis brand for Latin Americans infused with culture as well as THC.
“We believe in the power of creativity and the power of creative people to create works of art or experiences that can have a meaningful impact on people’s lives. That’s also our goal with gummies – that people get to know cannabis, get to know each other and their culture. We just think the art and what we’re trying to do go together,” Cervantes said.
Their entry into the cannabis space was partly due to good timing. Cury has been in cannabis finance for a while and after reviewing pitch decks for years, he realized that no one was marketing him, a first-generation Latin American cannabis consumer. Simultaneously, Cervantes was creating a concept for a Mexican cannabis brand before federal legalization in the country. Due to the blocking of the legalization process, this project has been filed. But the pair of former classmates met again in Los Angeles and realized they both had a passion for the cannabis industry. They combined Cury’s understanding of space with Cervantes’ creative vision, and the concept of Mesobis was born.
Both men saw a gap in the market: while there are Latino-owned cannabis companies, few embody the culture in their products or branding. Cury noted that the majority of Latin Americans in the United States were born in the United States and that there is a renaissance of reacculturation in this community. First-generation Latin Americans are searching for their history, and the founders of Mesobis hope their products can reconnect these consumers while providing a taste of home to Latin Americans who have moved to the United States.
“All this culture that is Latin America comes from a place and a time and we would like to be able to share this with people who now live outside their country, far from home and who still have a way to reconnect with their roots, remember who they are and become more of themselves,” Cervantes said.
It took months of R&D to finalize the flavors, consistency, and packaging for Gomitas to ensure the flavors were good and the candies didn’t melt. They worked with multiple formulators to first get the shape, then the consistency, the flavor, and finally the outer coating of the chili pepper, which required problem solving to make sure it adhered to the candy in the packaging. The end result is a perfectly molded chili coated candy that has a soft consistency with a soft bite. And this offer is just the beginning. Their branding and intentional offerings are an attempt to break down the cannabis stigma that is still prevalent in Latin American homes.
Speaking with Cury and Cervantes, I couldn’t help but wonder why there aren’t more cannabis brands designed for and by Latin Americans. It turns out that stigma in Latin culture is still very much, and that stigma is one of the main reasons they infused Mesobis with such intent. Cury explained, “It’s about elevating cannabis to a status that we haven’t seen in Latin America to try to break those taboos and make cannabis in Latin American culture so cool that it should motivate other people to create their own brand of cannabis.” After launching Mesobis, the two founders faced judgment and fear from those close to them, but the way they see it, if not them, then who will start the movement?
This connection to the culture is evident when Mesobis representatives introduce Gomitas to owned-and-operated stores in Latin America; there is an immediate link with the brand and the flavors. They believe the same connection can lead their elders to see that cannabis can be healing and inspiring – it’s not just a ‘gateway drug’.
“That was always the point with Mesobis, we knew there had to be a brand that looked a certain way, felt a certain way, so that we could overcome those cultural barriers and often misperceptions of what what is cannabis, which comes from the war on drugs,” Cervantes said. “Unfortunately, Latin America has had a lot of turmoil because of drug trafficking and cartels, so that’s understandable. When you look at our aesthetic, the reason we get so sophisticated is because we realized that if we want to have a brand that has a chance to launch later in Latin America that my parents or my grandparents could look at and feel comfortable, it will have to look like any other brand they would buy, but it is cannabis.
Shortly after the release of the Gomitas, Mesobis plans to discontinue its line of t-shirts, hoodies, and hats featuring prints by Mexican artists. In time they will launch their full line of high fashion streetwear conceptualized and designed by designer Culiacán Esteban Tamayo. The line is designed for the modern Latin American cannabis user and will be able to go day or night – from the airport to a gourmet restaurant – adding another layer of culture and class.
Ultimately, the founders of Mesobis build their company with the intention that something as simple as a gummy candy can break the stigma of cannabis built up by propaganda and controversy. To find Mesobis Gomitas near you, or to keep up to date with their clothing drop, check out the website or follow Mesobis on instagram.