The 3rd annual Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM) mixer was hands up and hands down the best vibration to get wrapped up in at MJBizCon 2022. It was my first time at the event and a momentous way to mark my first MJBizCon itself. My first time meeting M4MM founder and industry legend Roz McCarthy, my first time in a room of hundreds of minorities in and in support of cannabis.
It was the place where BIPOC in cannabis was elevated. We all elevated each other, we all gave each other flowers, we all looked into each other's eyes and expressed gratitude, we hugged, we danced, we took pictures… we were the definition of grace.
It was an honor to be invited by Nicole Buffong, the Western Regional Director of M4MM, it was magical seeing, meeting, and chatting with the leaders of M4MM, and it was so much fun meeting Reggie Noble - also known as Redman!
Among this year’s honorees and special guests were singer Maxine Jones, a founding member of the iconic R&B group En Vogue; former NFL player and cannabis advocate Eugene Monroe, CEO of Collective 60; Jessica Velazquez, Managing Partner of Indiva Advisors; and Naomi Granger, founder of the National Association of Cannabis Accounting and Tax Professionals (NACAT Pros). M4MM Board Chair Erik Range and National Director of Veteran Outreach Leo Bridgewater were in attendance, as well as LOWD founder Jesce Horton, Students for Sensible Drug Policy Executive Director Jason Ortiz, and many other innovators.
I wanted to learn more about the legacy and impact of M4MM Diversity in Cannabis Experience (DICE) Mixers at MJBizCon and so, I requested a chat with the founder of M4MM, Roz McCarthy.
3rd Annual M4MM Mixer Q & A with Roz McCarthy, Founder of Minorities for Medical Marijuana
VERONICA CASTILLO: Can you share the birth story of the M4MM DICE Mixers at MJBizCon?
ROZ MCCARTHY: In 2018 I attended MJBizCon for the first time. I was two years in as the leader, founder, and CEO of Minorities for Medical Marijuana, the largest community based nonprofit organization serving communities of color. I decided it was time for me to go to the largest cannabis conference and expo in order to meet and expand partnerships and relationships.
Once there it was so overwhelming. The number of attendees, booths, and conference content blew my mind; however, it was very clear early that there was a diversity issue. Out of the 20,000 + people there, I only saw a handful who looked like me. Really… you could count the people of color in attendance on one hand, possibly two.
Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit but nevertheless… it was very obvious there was a lack of diversity in the room. Not only in the room but the after hour events were even worse. After receiving a couple of invitations to premier after-hour events, I was really taken aback with the lack of people of color in the room.
I felt like a fish out of water. When I walked around, literally no one would talk or look my way. It felt like I wasn't even in the room. I felt like an alien and it was at that moment when I said, “This is bullshit." The world's largest cannabis conference and expo had a color problem. It felt like a good old boys club and if you didn't have the correct password or know the right person you were not welcomed or invited.
I walked away at that moment knowing that if I were to attend MJBizCon again, I want to make sure that I created some sort of mixer/networking after hours event that focused on bringing diverse individuals together in an intentional way. I wanted to create an environment where individuals of color could network, enjoy, and meet others who come from similar backgrounds or communities.
The Diversity in Cannabis Experience mixer (DICE) is all about celebrating people and their diverse perspectives and experiences in this beautiful industry.
Who is the team that organizes and holds up the space at/for the DICE Mixer?
The first initial mixer that we held in 2019 was my plan and creation. I brought in folks from the M4MM team to help me support and execute the vision, specifically: Nicole Buffong who at the time was our Nevada State Director. She was very hands-on in making sure we created an experience that supported diversity in Cannabis. Nicole tapped into her local relationships to help us provide not only swag bags with awesome goodies but live music, DJ, catered food, and more.
How has the mixer grown since the first one?
Our first mixer was held in 2019 and the location was at the Palms Place condos on the 52nd floor. It was a beautiful penthouse overlooking the Las Vegas Valley including the Strip. It was absolutely beautiful. The first mixer had about 200 people in attendance.
I was just surprised that so many folks were there. It felt good to do something of excellence that everyone really enjoyed and felt welcomed. It was just one big vibe of great energy, great food, great music, great drinks, and more importantly networking amongst each other.
Our next mixer was held in 2021. We skipped 2020 due to the pandemic. This time we were offsite at a venue in Las Vegas that was absolutely amazing. We ended up having over 400 people attend the Mixer and it was the talk of MJBizCon the next day.
It gives me so much pleasure to create an event for Black and brown people to come together to celebrate and network with one another. Our 2022 mixer was even better if you can imagine that.
We were so excited to have over 500 people in the building at the same venue from 2021. Everyone walked away so excited and jazzed about having a night that was specifically curated to celebrate diversity.
It was my first M4MM Mixer and I have talked about it daily, I loved it so much! There were a lot of special people in the building;, what does it feel like to see a room full of BIPOC in Cannabis and supporters elevated in love and showing up for M4MM?
Every year our DICE mixer during MJBizCon gets even bigger and better and this year did not fail. We have some amazing people of color in attendance with amazing stories who are celebrities in their own right. We had people who attend every single year and it makes us so proud because it just feels like family, it feels like homecoming in a way. Words cannot express how grateful we are to receive so much support from our community.
As you can imagine, we are already planning for 2023. We have some amazing ideas and concepts that are going to make our DICE Mixer the number one after our event during MJBizCon week.
What can we look forward to at future DICE Mixers?
2023 will allow us to celebrate our 4th Annual DICE Mixer during MJBizCon. All I can do is tell you to get your ticket right now.
We have an amazing theme we will execute to perfection. We're going to create this electric energy with the help from some very special guests who will help us to make sure that everyone's night is one that they won't forget. I guarantee those who attend next year will be talking about our DICE Mixer for many days afterwards.
In addition, we want to see more partnerships and collaborations with mainstream Cannabis. We need the cannabis community to come out and support what we're doing. We want to pack the house out and go from 500 people to 800 or 1000 possibly. Always making sure we provide the best entertainment, food, drinks, Entertainment, energy, and networking you can imagine.
Any special shoutouts relating to the 3rd annual mixer?
We want to give a special special shoutout first and foremost to our M4MM family, friends, and leadership team who made the trip to Vegas to support us. Also special shoutout to Nicole Buffong and her team who really helped to take my vision for the DICE Mixer and bring it to fruition.
Last but not least, I want to thank the cannabis community for just stepping up and stepping out and supporting us to make sure that this is a best in class event. Our 2022 sponsors included UFCW, Trulieve, Ayr Wellness, TILT Holdings, and Leaflink. To you all, we say: thank you, thank you, thank you.
Special Thanks to Cannabis Business Sponsors
I’d like to thank my sponsors for supporting my journey out to Las Vegas to experience my first ever MJBizCon, my first ever M4MM DICE Mixer, and the creation of this article. It takes a village and I am so grateful for mine.
Cannabis business accounting/financial services
Cannabis friendly lodging/experiences around the world
Learn about having an online Cannabis business
Sun-grown Florida hemp flower and tinctures
Florida-grown hemp and Delta 8 products
A vegan, 420 friendly catering company
Premium Delta 8 and Delta 10 products
Accessories designed to eliminate the harshness of smoke.
Veronica Castillo is the Traveling Cannabis Writer from Miami, with a pre-cannabis and psychedelics background in insurance and human resources. Currently, she is a resident of the road covering cannabis, psychedelics, and plant-based lifestyles all over the U.S and soon abroad. Follow her journey on IG at @vee_travelingvegcannawriter and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vee-traveling-veg-canna-writer/
Find Out More On Social
Featured image: Minorities for Medical Marijuana founder Roz McCarthy (C) M4MM / Black Buddha Cannabis