I'm sitting on a plane headed back home to Florida after attending the High Times Magazine HT 100 Awards held in Los Angeles CA. Its 2:30am and I'm still excited and can’t sleep thinking about the gala last night and the tasks I need to get done tomorrow. One thing for sure after I finish my Saturday morning cleaning I’m taking some time out to go see Black Panther again. Yes, this is my third time but I just can’t get enough. Besides being a Wakanda lover I’m just proud to see a film with an all black cast become the third highest grossing film of all time. Currently sitting at over $740 million dollars in 3 short weeks Black Panther is slaying the box office. Bottom line our culture tends to support those who support us. I affectionately call this the "Wakanda Effect."
Gradually, my activist brain kicks in imagining a vibrant cannabis industry full of black entrepreneurs and consumers co-existing, working together, growing businesses and making significant impact in this new "green rush" industry. I begin thinking how can I help create a "Wakanda Effect" in cannabis.Why? Because we deserve it especially after surviving the "war on drugs" years when being black with an ounce of weed meant serving significant jail time.Why not reap some of the benefits of legalization? Yes black folks do consume pretty much at the same rate of other ethnicities however, our participation in and contribution to this growing industry is poor at best.
Imagine if we were to write, produce, star, and direct our own cannabis empires. The equity and private investment companies should be scrambling to find us and invest their dollars with black entrepreneurs who are creating a space for themselves in the cannabis industry. If you don’t know how to find these folks ask me Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM) has a database full of incredibly sharp business minded people ready to cut deals. We are the most creative people I know. When given a little bit we know how to stretch it, flip it, and take it so far. There are black scientists, extractors, cultivators, investors, business owners, distributors, farmers, and etc currently in the cannabis space and ready to takeover. All having the ability to make millions and millions of dollar.
Furthermore, the top cannabis branded companies should be seeking us out. Meaning talk is cheap put your money where your mouth is and make significant efforts to engage black consumers who in turn will purchase your products. Question, how many of the top 25 cannabis brands in the USA and/or Canada have a Chief Diversity Officer who is a member of their executive leadership team? Bottom line diversity is profitable. Tip of the day, engage black consumers because we have the power to move a brand from obscurity to notoriety. We can successfully put our own flavor, attitude, and culture into a project with little to no experience and make it an overnight success.
As the Founder/CEO of Minorities for Medical Marijuana my #1 priority is to shine a light not only on the injustices but the magnificent opportunities this industry can afford. Being honored by High Times Magazine as one of the top 100 influencers in Cannabis was freaking awesome. I’m very appreciative and grateful. High Times you rocked it! I just hope next year I see more people of color attending, networking, and receiving acknowledgement.
Contributor: Roz McCarthy, M4MM Founder/CEO