The spring issue of Cannabis & Tech Today featured no shortage of incredible perspectives from leaders within the cannabis industry. However, one that definitely stood out was Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM) founder Roz McCarthy, who described the origins of her organization and how the group is embracing new technologies. McCarthy discusses the best way to build diversity within the world of cannabis in this exclusive interview.
Cannabis & Tech Today: What do you believe is the best approach for making a more diverse cannabis industry?
Roz McCarthy: I’m currently working with the major companies who actually look at coming on board and helping them develop a diversity officer program. That’s what has to happen. I don’t know if you realize this is that public policy that’s written that we go and get our legislators to put in there and put diversity quality clauses there, those states that to do that, those are the states that we see more companies trying to become diverse, because they want to get a license and they know that in order to get a license. I’ve got to figure out how to diversify what I’m doing. Had we not done that from a public policy standpoint, from an application standpoint, honestly, I would say the commitment and the actions that they’re doing in order to find or to create diversity or to talk about how they’re going to serve diverse populations, it would not be a priority.
Take a state like New Jersey, people were mad scrambling around looking for, meeting with the NAACP, meeting with the urban league, meeting with the African American Chamber, going to the local churches. They want to show, “I’m diverse, I can do this.” And it was only because we got the legislators and we got the department of health, when it came to the point system for your application to get a license, they made a really strong commitment to making sure that folks were going to serve diverse communities.
That’s an area where a public policy can help change it, but also it has to be these leaders in these organizations saying, “Listen, I’m not just going to try to give out money, I want to create the environment internally that is inclusive, and you need someone in a decision-making level that’s sitting there that’s helping you figure out how do I create this inclusion.”
When this becomes illegal and this becomes a commodity product, and now you’re having to fight for consumers, the number one consumer of this plant from a legal standpoint, once it’s legal, it’s going to be the African American and Hispanic American community. And I will tell you now, that if you don’t do right and tell companies, if you want to gain loyal customers, you have to be loyal to them now. You have to reach out to them.
You have to connect the dots. You have to show a commitment to the community because, after a while, when you start seeing dispensaries pop up everywhere, you start seeing the opportunity to cultivate is more open. Then now you’re like, “Okay, well how do I make money? What’s going to be on consumers? How do you get more consumers to want to use your product line?” Right now, the commitment to the outreach to the African American communities and communities of color is not a high priority. I would say out of the top 100 companies, less than two percent make it a priority, a high priority.
For more information, visit the official Minorities for Medical Marijuana website!
And stay tuned to cannatechtoday.com or find our Spring issue for her full interview.
Feature Image: Roz McCarthy (on stage) inspires inclusivity at a number of speaking engagements across the country.