Activist Roz McCathy and actor Malik Yoba team up on cannabis brand Black Buddha
As part of Black History Month, we present to you Roz McCarthy, founder of Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM) and now Black Buddha Cannabis (BBC), his entry into the legal industry. PrePacks™ glass gummies and chillums are the first products to roll out in four states, from California to Ohio “to brand partnerships with Fair Trade makers, growers and operators,” according to the press release.
“I am a proud black woman raised by a mother who encouraged me to think big and dream bigger,” McCarthy says. “The creation of M4MM and the BBC is a testament to hard work, tenacity and perseverance.”
McCarthy recruited the actor Malik Yoba (Cool races, New York undercover) to serve as Chief Strategy Officer. Both have had recent medical issues which they treated with cannabis.
We sent the following questions for McCarthy to answer:
1. Why did you choose the chillum/pre-pack pipe rather than the potted flower? How it works?
I chose the PrePacks™ design because it made things easier for people on the go who might not have the ability or know-how to roll a joint or maybe just want to have something different from the pre-rolls. Additionally, the chillum pipe is a unique design that comes pre-packaged with 0.35g of flower that you light on one end and pull on the other.
“It was time for me to launch my own brand.”
2. What is the difference between the four flower mixes?
All four blends were created to support the experiences ordinary people can have. One of the experiences is creativity, where it’s the first thing you take in the morning to give you some energy and help you tap into the creative side of your brain. Our second is Wellness/Pain Relief, which literally speaks for itself and is specially designed for people struggling with issues associated with pain. The third, Zen/Relaxation, also speaks for itself and is aimed at those seeking rest and relaxation to unwind and prepare for a good night’s sleep. And the fourth blend is called Illumination. Consider using this blend when you are looking to tap into your inner spirit and want to consume a flower that promotes self-healing and awareness.
“The Black Buddha is about being enlightened, rather than hovering.”
3. How did you get injured?
At the end of last summer, I was turning in my office building when someone came from behind at a fairly high speed and crashed into the left side of my car. The left side of my body was the side that absorbed the energy from this blow. As you can imagine, the pain I endured as a result of the accident and the traumatic brain injury I suffered caused a lot of stress and anxiety.
4. The press release reads, “She has recovered 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 of this work out for you? No pharmaceutical drugs?
I was given medication a few times, I think Percocet and a few different opioids to take home after I left the hospital, and chose not to use them. I ended up having a caregiver move in with me for about four weeks. She stripped my fridge and pantry of all processed foods and immediately put me on a 1500mg CBD tincture which I consumed around the clock every four to five hours. Also, through the da Vinci vaporizer, we incorporated flowers whenever I was experiencing concussion symptoms or when my brain felt like it was swelling.
“It was amazing the difference I felt after using compared to when I didn’t.”
5. How did Malik Yoba get involved with M4MM and the BBC?
I’ve known Malik for over 20 years, and we just reconnected. We hadn’t spoken in a while and he contacted me via social media after seeing a message about news about M4MM. After we caught up, I explained to him what I was doing and the launch of Black Buddha, and he wanted to come on board and support what I was doing and lend his resources and knowledge. Additionally, he was recently hospitalized and had quadruple heart bypass surgery and has been using CBD gummies to help with pain, anxiety, and lack of sleep. He is a patient, so he can personally talk about the benefits of this plant and how it helped him and his recovery. So it was natural to have him in this team.
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6. Why are the four states – California, Michigan, Nevada and Ohio – compared to the others?
We chose these first four – and I will say that Massachusetts is right behind them – because we have strong relationships with operators in these states who believe in our vision and mission. We have other states lined up and we are looking to Canada, where we have had inquiries. However. We don’t want to over-promise and under-deliver, and we’ll take our time deciding what state we’re in next.
7. You also have erasers. What other products are in the pipeline?
Yes, we have gummies, and that was precisely because Ohio doesn’t allow combustible cannabis, so you can’t sell pre-rolls or pre-filled pipes to consumers. We are excited to seek out products in the fitness and wellness category, products that would support training and people who train. We’re thinking of wellness products like pain patches or roll-ons for pain relief and possibly a concentrated product that would look like something you could pour into your water or drink, so heaven is the limit. We have a team of researchers and product developers reviewing our options.
“We just have to think outside the box and get creative.”
8. Do you have any investors or partners at the BBC?
No. I have self-funded everything so far with funds from my personal savings, friends and family. We actually hold investor meetings with potential investors to share the brand vision and opportunity. Access to capital is difficult for brands as well as operators, so we welcome conversation with those who want to fund an environmentally conscious business with a focus on social equity.
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 the door to help others come behind me. With M4MM, we’ve been working for six years to create space for black-owned brands and black businesses in cannabis, and it was time for me to launch mine. I hope I can create space for myself and bring others behind me. Through M4MM and my experience with Black Buddha Cannabis, I intend to outline some of the lessons I learned to pay it forward and mentor other brands for success.
10. What does the future of POC in cannabis look like?
It sounds brilliant, but we also have to be pragmatic. We need to understand that some of the programs that have been created don’t work and be honest about that as we identify ways to get into this industry and be successful. It may not be the path we envisioned all along, but it’s definitely worth it. I am optimistic for ancillary businesses that support the industry. I am optimistic about supplier diversity. I think we should also consider entering into joint venture agreements with existing operators and social equity enterprises that are looking to establish themselves in some of our communities. Creating franchise models in cannabis is something unique and different that we haven’t considered, 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.
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