With Black History Month in mind, we present Roz McCarthy, founder of Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM) and now Black Buddha Cannabis (BBC), her entry into the legal industry. PrePacks™ glass chillums and gummies are the first products to roll out in four states, from California to Ohio "via brand partnerships with equitable manufacturers, cultivators, and operators," according to the press release.
“I’m a proud Black woman raised by a mother who encouraged me to think big and dream bigger,” McCarthy declares. “The creation of M4MM and BBC is a testament to hard work, tenacity, and perseverance.”
McCarthy recuited actor Malik Yoba (Cool Runings, New York Undercover) to serve as Chief Strategy Officer. Both have had recent medical issues that they've treated with cannabis.
We sent the following questions for McCarthy to answer:
1. Why did you choose the chillum/pre-pack pipe as opposed to flower in jars? How does it work?
I chose the PrePacks™ design because it made it simple for individuals who are on the go and may not have the ability or know-how to roll a joint or possibly just want to have something different than pre-rolls. In addition, the chillum pipe is a unique design that comes pre-packed with .35 g of flower that you light on one end and pull from the other.
"It was time for me to launch my own brand."
2. What's the difference between the four flower blends?
The four blends were created to support experiences that everyday people may have. One of the experiences is Creativity, where it's that first thing you take in the morning to provide a little lift of energy and help you to tap into the creative side of your brain. Our second one is Wellness/Pain Relief, which literally speaks for itself and is specially made for individuals dealing with issues associated with pain. The third one, Zen/Relaxation, also speaks for itself and is geared towards those who are seeking rest and relaxation to kick back and prepare before a good night's sleep. And the fourth blend is called Enlightenment. Think of using this blend when you're looking to tap into your inner spirit and want to consume flower that promotes self-healing and awareness.
"Black Buddha is all about being enlightened, versus getting high."
3. How did you get injured?
Late last summer, I was turning into my office building when someone came from behind at a pretty high rate of speed and crashed into the left side of my car. The left side of my body was the side that absorbed the energy from that hit. As you can imagine, the pain I endured from the accident and the Traumatic Brain Injury I suffered has caused lots of stress and anxiety.
4. The press release says, "She reclaimed her life and health through the use of cannabis and hemp, combined with daily therapy and Buddhist practices and healing modalities including mantras and meditation." How did all this work for you? No pharmaceutical drugs?
I was given medicine a couple of times, I think Percocet and a couple of different opioids to take home with me after leaving the hospital, and I chose not to use it. I ended up having a caregiver move in with me for about four weeks. She stripped down my refrigerator and pantry of all processed foods and immediately put me on a 1500 mg CBD tincture that I consumed around the clock for every four to five hours. In addition, through the da Vinci vaporizer, we would incorporate flower whenever I felt concussion symptoms or when my brain felt like it was swelling.
"It was amazing the difference I felt after consuming versus when I didn't."
5. How did Malik Yoba get involved with M4MM and BBC?
I’ve known Malik for over 20 years, and we just reconnected. We hadn't spoken in a while, and he reached out to me via social media after seeing a post on some information about M4MM. After we got caught up, I explained to him what I was doing and the launching of Black Buddha, and he wanted to come on board and support what I was doing and lend his resources and knowledge. In addition, he was recently hospitalized and had a quadruple heart bypass and used CBD gummies to help him with pain, anxiety and lack of sleep. He's a patient, so he can speak personally about the benefits of this plant and how it helped him and his healing. So it was a natural fit to have him a part of this team.
6. Why the four states - California, Michigan Nevada and Ohio - versus others?
We chose those four first - and I will say that Massachusetts is right behind them - because we have solid relationships with operators in those states who believe in our vision and mission. We have additional states lined up and are looking towards Canada, where we’ve had some inquiries. However. We don't want to overpromise and underdeliver, and we will take our time in deciding which states we go to after next.
7. You also have gummies. What other products are in the works?
Yes, we have gummies, and that was specifically because Ohio does not allow for combustible cannabis, so you cannot sell pre-rolls or prefilled pipes to consumers. We're excited about pursuing products in the fitness and wellness category, products that would support training and individuals who work out. We're thinking about wellness products such as pain patches or roll-on's for pain relief and possibly a concentrated product that would be similar to something that you could pour into your water or a beverage, so the sky is the limit. We have a team of product researchers and developers looking at our options.
8. Do you have investors or partners in BBC?
No. I've self-funded everything so far with funds from personal savings, friends and family. We're actually hosting investor meetings with potential investors to share the brand vision and the opportunity. Access to capital is challenging for brands as well as operators, so we welcome the conversation with those who are interested in funding an environmentally conscious, social equity-driven company.
"We just have to think outside the box and get creative."
9. It's so important to have brands owned by POC. You are among the few. Are you trying to lead the way?
I want to open up the gate to help others come behind me. With M4MM, we've been working on creating space for Black-owned brands and Black businesses in cannabis for six years now, and it was time for me to launch my own. Hopefully, I can create space for myself and bring others behind me. Through M4MM and my experience with Black Buddha Cannabis, I intend to lend insight on some of the lessons I've learned to pay it forward and mentor other brands to have success.
10. What does the future for POC in cannabis look like?
It looks bright, but also we have to be pragmatic. We have to understand that some of the programs that have been created are not working and be honest about it as we identify ways that one can enter into this industry and be successful. It may not be the way that we envision from the start but it’s definitely worth the effort. I am bullish on ancillary businesses that support the industry. I'm bullish on supplier diversity. I think we should also look at doing joint venture deals with current operators and social-equity businesses looking to come into some of our communities. Creating franchise models in cannabis is something unique and different that we haven't looked at, and I think there are brands and companies that could benefit from creating a franchise program. We just have to think outside the box and get creative.