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Krystal Kitahara, CEO of Yummi Karma – Interview Series




“I remember the first time I saw a Cannabis chocolate bar that looked like it belonged in Trader Joe’s  and thought to myself, this is the future of the Cannabis industry – thus began my dreams of Yummi Karma.”  

Krystal Kitahara

2023 has been predicted to be a year of massive consolidation in the cannabis industry. It’s a year that’s likely to have a lot of mergers and downsizing, and general recalibration as cannabis businesses will be forced to refocus their energies back to the fundamentals. My Cannabis has been in conversation with entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the cannabis space to get their views on the state of industry and how businesses can position themselves to survive and even thrive in this season. 

In this interview, Krystal Kitahara narrates her journey into the cannabis industry and shares helpful tips on maintaining brand relevance in a mature and highly competitive market such as California. Krystal is the founder and CEO of  Yummi Karma, a leading California-based brand specializing in cannabis tinctures designed for specific wellness solutions. To the aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs, Krystal suggests finding a niche and sticking to it; please don’t try to be a Jack of all trades.

Before we divulge too much, here’s the interview with Krystal.

My Cannabis: As a brief introduction, how did your career path lead you to the cannabis industry?

Krystal: Interestingly enough, I come from the Central Valley where both sides of my family were in agriculture. While attending college to gain a degree in business entrepreneurship, I grew cannabis under Prop 215 to help pay the bills. After graduating I was working in media sales where I found that many of my clients also grew Cannabis. This led me to representing a group and brokering in Los Angeles, which at the time had stores with a more advanced approach. I remember the first time I saw a Cannabis chocolate bar that looked like it belonged in Trader Joe’s  and thought to myself, this is the future of the Cannabis industry – thus began my dreams of Yummi Karma.  

My Cannabis: Briefly introduce Yummi Karma and the unique role that the company is playing in moving the California cannabis industry forward.

Krystal: Yummi Karma has evolved since it first began in 2014. Over the years we’ve infused a number of different products but today we are known for our successful vibrant tincture line. We took what is traditionally known as a wellness category and flipped it to be fun, flavorful, and functional. From high-dose tinctures with imaginative flavors to herbal tinctures designed for  specific  wellness  solutions, we feel that the Yummi Karma lineup gives people more options on ways to consume Cannabis. 

I think what makes us unique is actually what makes us relatable. We are a small company in comparison to those in the industry. We have spent years building relationships with our retailers AND our consumers. As the industry moves forward, we know it will take working together to continue to create a sustainable market. For us this means being consistent with our product quality and service so that retailers and consumers continue to trust our brand. 

We are also excited to partner with Petalfast, a route-through-market platform for the cannabis industry, to increase our brand presence and positive impact, enhancing access to our product suite so that even more people can experience the benefits of incorporating cannabis into their daily routine.

My Cannabis: You are a female-led cannabis brand. Has this been an advantage, disadvantage or it has not made any difference?

Krystal: Being a female-led cannabis brand has had both advantages and disadvantages. 

With a team like ours, we can’t help but understand how females shop. Our diverse team and unique communication style is a recipe for success when it comes to branding, formulating and sales strategy, and we’re proud of the community we’ve created. Over time, we have found that being different has helped bolster us in a position of trust in our relationships with our retail partners and strengthened the loyalty from our end consumers.

My Cannabis: The marijuana illicit market is still rife in California. Has this been a threat to your business?

Krystal: Since early on in strategizing our business model, it was important to us to carve out a niche part of the market where we naturally found synergy. For us, that has been tinctures. Staying within this lane has been an advantage for us operationally because the illicit market doesn’t pose much of a threat to these types of products – Especially in comparison to flower and concentrates.

My Cannabis: What’s one thing that you would tell an entrepreneur looking to venture in the cannabis industry in California? 

Krystal: Piggybacking on the last answer, I think the best advice is to find a niche – one thing that’s easily identifiable. Have a clear vision of your specific customer and cater directly to them. Don’t try to sell to “everyone” because now that the market has had a little bit of time to mature, you’ll be up against big players. 

What’s next for Yummi Karma?

Currently, we are looking forward to a successful Women’s Month in March when we will be kicking off our annual Empower Women, Period. Campaign. This year we are giving away free products when customers donate women’s feminine hygiene at participating stores. We are thrilled to use this campaign as a means to support our retail partnerships with a great promo, uplift our customers with a chance to give back and try a sample of our product, and build community by coming together to help local women in need. 

Looking further into the future, our sister brand, High Gorgeous, is going to be getting a little facelift. We loved our rebrand with Yummi Karma so much, we decided to show some love to our topical line too. I mean, who doesn’t love a good makeover!? I’m incredibly fortunate to have a team of strong individuals who are always striving to offer new and improved products that will have a positive impact on our consumers’ lifestyles. 

As for Yummi Karma, we will continue to look to the future for new opportunities. In this industry, you just never know what surprises are in store.

It was a great pleasure to have this conversation with Krystal Kitahara, CEO of Yummi Karma . Readers who wish to keep up with Yummi Karma are welcome to visit their website.


Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.