How minority entrepreneurs could break into the medical cannabis industry – Daytona Times



This comment is provided by the Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative (MMERI) from Florida A&M University.

How does someone get into the medical marijuana business? It’s a booming industry, so the opportunity is there.

According to a report by Leafly and Whitney Economics, cannabis companies in Florida created nearly 15,000 jobs in 2020, and sales for the same year rose to $ 1.2 billion, more than double the amount recorded in 2019. .

Knowing this, one could see why the Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative
(MMERI) at Florida A&M University receives dozens of calls and emails each week from people in the minority community asking for information about starting a business or a career in the industry.

Breaking into cannabis

Roz McCarthy, Erik Range, and Rebecca Colett are good sources of information for entering the cannabis space. Each has made inroads into the billion dollar cannabis industry and are working to help more minorities explore this young industry.

“Florida is the # 1 state when it comes to career opportunities in this industry,” said McCarthy, founder of Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM) Inc., an Orlando-based nonprofit 501 © (3) .

M4MM is an advocacy, awareness and training resource aimed at helping marginalized communities realize the economic benefits of medical marijuana while ensuring them adequate access to care despite their financial situation. The group is present in 28 other states.

McCarthy started M4MM to help people of color enter an industry that lacks diversity and inclusion. Nationally, less than 5% of businesses are owned by black people, according to a survey by Marijuana Biz Daily.

It’s no mystery why minorities are underrepresented in the cannabis industry. Application and license fees for “plant” businesses can be a hindrance, and loans are not an option as banks are regulated by the federal government, which treats all types of marijuana as an illegal substance.

A supporting role

To apply for a license to operate a medical marijuana processing center (MMTC) in Florida,
you must pay a non-refundable application fee of $ 60,830.

That’s why McCarthy and Range, an Orlando cannabis entrepreneur and chairman of the board of M4MM, are encouraging minorities interested in entering the cannabis business to consider playing a supporting role.

For example, Range owns ART 420, a fine art company that supplies cannabis-inspired artwork to marijuana companies across the country.

“Not everyone has to be in a dispensary or in a growth business,” Range said.

“Minority businesses can get involved in cannabis with everything from janitorial services to landscaping to general entrepreneurship. We have minority companies that provide services across the spectrum.

You don’t necessarily need to start a new business or anything, but watch how you start to market your services to that particular industry. “

Skill sets

McCarthy was inspired by her son’s medical marijuana treatment for sickle cell disease to quit his successful healthcare career and start M4MM. She sees an emerging industry that is full of opportunities for minorities.

“Cannabis is at the third or fourth mile, so there are plenty of opportunities from a point of entry,” she said.

“If you’re someone who wants to come in, really look at your skills and see how it transfers into the cannabis industry. And that’s where we, as an organization, can help you figure that out. This is our job. “

Colett, a graduate of Florida A&M University, owns a medical grade herbal business, but not in the Sunshine State.

Do your research

She is the CEO of the first cannabis cultivation brand owned and operated by African American women in the Midwest. The company, Calyxeum, is based in Detroit.

She said she was often asked how to get into the cannabis industry.

“First, do your research. Do your research and see what the opportunities are. If you want a license, find out which licenses are even available and what are the application fees? What is the application process? Said Colett.

“You have to educate yourself on the business and what it will require of you. If you are in a city with dispensaries everywhere, who provides them? Who distributes them? Take a look at the supply chain and see where the gaps are. “

Colett is an advocate for increasing the representation of African American women in the cannabis industry.

“I am very passionate about the idea that more people like us have these business licenses, especially women of color,” she said.

“My goal and my goal is to educate people about this plant and inform them about the sophisticated industry supply chain that we have. We don’t just sell weed in parking lots; we have seed suppliers and tracking systems for sale. We are very sophisticated.

To learn more about business opportunities in the legal cannabis industry, click here to watch MMERI’s conversations on the Virtual Cannabis Forum with Roz McCarthy, Erik Range and Rebecca Colett on YouTube. For more information on medical marijuana, visit the MMERI website at


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