LOS ANGELES - The story of the three Mexican sisters who broke into the cannabis industry started out like a fairy tale and ended up like a reality television show gone awry.
Maria was the oldest sister, "the plant whisperer of the familia," who perfected cultivation techniques while tending her family's sugar cane fields in Mexico. Sonia was the backbone of the business who learned to heal with plants and herbs as a child while following her abuelita around the family ranch.
Adriana, the baby of the bunch, had the fiery heart. Small but ruthless, she learned the art of negotiation and persuasion selling sugar cane at the market with her father. When the Del Rosario sisters launched their L.A.-based cannabis company this year, they named it La Chingona: The badass woman.
There was one problem. The sisters were the creation of Michael Kaiser, the owner and founder of health care and cannabis manufacturing companies. The sisters were at most a composite of the strong women in his life.
The rest was fiction.
Which Susie Plascencia - a public relations social media marketer who focuses on the cannabis industry - found out to her great dismay.
There isn't an abundance of cannabis brands focused on women - let alone run by them. So when the 30-year-old stumbled on what she thought was both in a single company, she said, she was intrigued.
"I am a Latina in cannabis and we are not represented," Plascencia said. "Latinx culture isn't represented in this way. I go to their website and I saw 'La Historia de La Chingona' sisters and I was like, 'Wow! They're Latino-owned and from Guadalajara, Jalisco! That's where my family is from!'"
Non-Latinos have long gone after Mexican Americans' spending dollars. But for Plascencia, the story of the Del Rosario sisters was more than just a marketing ploy concocted by a Harvard-educated businessman to make his way into a profitable corner of the marijuana market.
La Chingona, she said, was deceptive and a blatant case of cultural appropriation. So Plascencia and a friend trained their digital sights on the company.