I had the pleasure of speaking with Miss Mariah and she is a true trailblazer. Her mission is to inform us about the CBD and Cannabis Industries, which has been kept from us. As more of our people are recognizing its true healing power for daily pain, friends and family members have been incarcerated for the past 60 years as a result.
This same industry is very quickly becoming one of the biggest industries and is turning out to be one of the most profitable industries today. The very same people that have excluded us from it are the very ones that it is being set up by.
With three strikes against her for being; a woman, a woman of color and an aboriginal, she believes that it is imperative that we make sure to break down these barriers, positioning ourselves accordingly, so that the world will hear our roar.
Leslie: Can you tell us a little bit about your upbringing?
Miss Mariah: I definitely accredit a lot of who I am today due to the way in which I was raised. I was raised predominantly by my mother, my grandmother and my dad; who definitely raised me in a structured manner. I always tell people that I had to put my phone up (at the age of 17), at 9 p.m. So there was definitely structure in my home. I was able to see what worked in team building and what didn’t work and from that being a part of my life experience, I really do credit a lot of who I am today because of the way in which my family structured my day to day. It helped me to become successful and in turn, it helped them to become successful; which is an upbringing that I am now instilling in my four-year old.
Leslie: That’s great to hear! Having structure at a young age does help you to become successful. You are a living, walking testimony to that. You are a great example. Growing up and still til this day, who were some of your mentors/inspirations?
Miss Mariah: Well, I know from a very young girl, my inspiration would be India Arie. Music is such a huge part of our culture and the right music is very important to our spirit; so just being able to have her as an inspiration on the musical side; being able to feed myself those positive messages, as a seven-year old and still being able to pull from those positive messages to this day, inspired me on a daily basis.
Oprah, honestly as real as it gets, has been such a huge inspiration and mentor in the simple ways that she has done things; taking the steps that she’s taken but at the same time, she stays in a place of awareness. She is conscious about what she’s eating; taking in and consuming. My grandmother has raised so many people and she has been a rock for her family; was also an entrepreneur at the age of 25. So I owe some of that spirit for sure to her and really, just being able to pull from these people’s life experiences and applying those lessons to my own life; I definitely owe them a lot of credit for being continued inspirations.
Leslie: When did you recognize your passion for entrepreneurship and health?
Miss Mariah: The challenging part about recognizing my passion for health is understanding that it’s not what you say, it’s what you do and knowing that health comes from; mind, body and soul, when you approach it in that manner you really do have to live that passion every day. This is something that is instilled in us as children. So I am still realizing my passion for health on a daily basis. Meeting our patients and hearing their stories, really connecting with them and helping to find solutions not only on the physical side but on other sides as well, is where true healing can take place. Entrepreneurship, listen, at the age of five I had a restaurant where I catered to my family at home. I would put on an apron and it was called, “Star Bright, Star Light” and I made a menu offering my family coffee and crackers, simple things that were on the menu and I would charge them five to ten cents to go and get it for them.
So from a very, very young age, just a little girl, entrepreneurship has been in my blood. Whenever I was asked as a little girl what it was that I wanted to be, it was always a career that reflected business ownership; a daycare center, a store owner or the owner of a restaurant. It always changed but it was always coming from a spirit of leadership. I just pull from all of that and in this ever evolving process of entrepreneurship; being in CBD, being in real estate and cannabis, the passion has been there since I was very young.
Leslie: That’s amazing! A lot of people can say that they’ve learned from others and it was instilled in them. You sound like you were born with it. It’s in you. It’s a part of you and that’s a beautiful thing.
Miss Mariah: It is! It also makes it challenging because now, you are going to be that source. You have to find all the information, answer all the questions because it’s within you.
Leslie: How did you first get into the holistic health industry?
Miss Mariah: Unbeknownst to me, it’s always been there. That is something that’s always very enlightening to realize. It’s always been there. So my grandmother on my other side, my mother is Cuban, my grandmother on her side, she has been a Reiki Master since before I was born; so growing up I never quite understood it and then, what holistic health was, just having a natural approach to healing even from sound baths, not knowing the name of what it was and being surrounded by it, shying away from it; having to go through experiences in life that led you right back to that path.
Holistic health is the right approach. It really was not until I got out of the army and met my business partner, that I could truly see with a new set of eyes that holistic health is the way to approach any type of pain and if you don’t approach it in that way then you will be creating a “bandage” for anything that someone needs to heal from, rather than internally healing from the inside out. Our society has built billions of dollars and built our community off of “bandaging” problems and challenges that we ourselves are facing. So that’s really how I got into it because of my grandma and then it was re-introduced to me through my business partner.
Leslie: I completely agree with you. I feel that if you do not go about it the appropriate way, which is the holistic way, you’re not going to tackle the problem head on and you’re not going to get to the root of the problem, like you said, you’re just going to put a “band-aid” over it and keep it moving. Eventually, you can only put so many “band-aids” over a wound or a problem until it becomes a serious problem.
You’re a veteran of this country, having served in the armed forces, upon your return from service has cannabis/holistic living been a big help for you?
Miss Mariah: Absolutely. I really have found my regiment with CBD and THC; finding that regiment has definitely assisted with this entrepreneurial journey. On top of that, I am a single mother as well, so none of this is easy. It’s actually very challenging. Some days you cry because it’s so challenging and other days you really do approach it in a holistic manner and just take it step by step and I do believe that is something that can be taught; we can all benefit from that. Being in the army actually gave me the opportunity to see people who were crying out for the knowhow, wanting to know how to approach their lives in a holistic manner. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), can be healed if it is treated in a holistic way.
To see so many people, good people with families who put their lives on the line, suffer because they do not have the knowhow, I do believe that is one of the reasons for me to be in the armed forces, just to get to learn and understand that. I myself have not had to go through any traumatic experiences in the army but I can only imagine what that looks like for the people who have seen it and I’ve heard the stories. But I have gone through a situation that I have PTSD from, seeing that in a new light has created a new understanding now as a trail blazer, really trying to focus on new approaches for the veterans for sure.
Leslie: Should the government consider making Cannabis/CBD available, payable by insurance upon a veteran’s return home?
Miss Mariah: That’s a really great question. The hard part is that if we really had that option, would we even want the government to have anything to do with cannabis? But, because of the way that things are I do believe that the veteran’s should be able to have Tri-Care take care of their Cannabis and CBD, from the moment that they are signing their name on that contract that medication, that organic medication should be free for them. It should be free for us all but especially for those suffering from things in which it could directly help.
Leslie: Exactly, it’s a balanced agreement. I feel like it should be something that should be given to the veterans. It’s my opinion of course but I think it’s only right.
Do you believe cannabis can be an asset serving not only citizens but returned veterans dealing with pain, PTSD and other mental health issues?
Miss Mariah: I’m not too sure yet. But my answer is that it can absolutely it can serve as an asset. I also do think it’s important that with giving veterans Cannabis directly, you know flower that there are multiple realms of education so that we’re not just recreating the addiction habit because that’s what a lot of veterans suffer with now because they are given pills like its candy or skittles and the biggest problem is mental health issues, which from high level psychology, you know sitting down with a psychologist could also help but Cannabis, in that process may also help with opening up so that they are more willing to go into those meetings, so really focusing more so on the whole patient. I think that it would be an okay approach to give veterans access to Cannabis but it would better if each veteran was able to sit down with a Cannabis specialist who could find their regiment and find their ratio and that we are not just saying, yeah you guys can all go and smoke weed now, you know there’s more to it than that. There’s oils, there’s topical.
Leslie: There is something for everyone out there. I saw many different things last night at the meeting; dried fruits and nuts. I put some ointment on my joints, my hands, it felt amazing. The gentlemen mentioned that there was something even stronger and I was like, no we’re good. I had some of the oil under my tongue and the great part and this is why I mentioned it is because you mentioned how we are not just giving it to the veterans for them to have and benefit from it but also instructing them and educating them so that they know what they can take and how they should take it. Like you mentioned to have a regiment so you don’t just pop these things, you know, you have to be able to know how it’s going to affect your body, how it’s going to affect your day to day and how it can help you. Not every dose is for everybody. I learned that yesterday. Being educated about the product about the plant itself and how it helps you is very important, in my opinion.
Miss Mariah: Yes, and you are 100% right Queen.
Leslie: What gave you and your partner the inspiration to fund and create Dust to Diamond Inc.?
Miss Mariah: I love this question. I get it so much and I do believe that by the 100th time answering it, I may be able to articulate it correctly. Truthfully, it came from the exception of the process in which we were going to have to undergo to become the women that we are destined to become. Dust to Diamonds is a transformation of self, of awareness, of being and to know that this is not just something that happens once but that it may be something that is an ever evolving process and a daily decision and diamonds are formed under pressure and it’s an exact correlation to what we as people have to go through every single day, just to survive, that’s not even to thrive; so to really be able to create a very simplified understanding of tips and tools that we can do as a people to better survive in this society and that is how Dust to Diamonds was born, with that as our thought process.
Leslie: Well it makes perfect sense. Once you better educate yourself and take better care of yourself, you go through that process of molding or just creating that diamond, polishing it more so and at the end you are a better you. You are that diamond. It’s a process.
Can you tell us how the name came about for the company and what are some of your goals and expectations for it?
Miss Mariah: The number one goal in which we are executing on a daily basis is being a credible brand in which people that can identify with, a brand in which people can trust, a brand that people can utilize as a resource for knowledge, for understanding and that right there as we are continuing to evolve is a huge mission, it’s a huge mission that will take a lot of time. But like you said the self-realization part, we are in a conscious time, so people are more aware and my business partner says that all the time; Vanessa, so knowing that and being able to apply all of our mission, with the patient in mind we are able accomplish more and with that I do believe that the universe supported us in being able to obtain 11 licenses to cultivate and manufacture Cannabis. So with that, coming back to the economic goals, our goal is to create a multi-million dollar brand that can also be a resource to our communities and we will cultivate and we will manufacture pristine Cannabis products for Cannabinoid therapy.
Leslie: That’s wonderful. You said that it would take some time but to me, you have your head on straight, you and your partner and you are really just looking at it from a perspective of helping others. So it’s not just the business that you walk into and that you’re wanting to profit from, you really care about others and that is important, not just in this industry but also in any business. I mean as long as you care about the people, that will definitely take you there and you will thrive, I know that for a fact. There’s not a lot of people out there that are business owners that actually really care about the clients or the patients, so it is important.
How many different products does the company currently make and sell?
Miss Mariah: We are strictly CBD right now. We have 10 CBD products in which we manufacture and sell in our CBD store which is located right next door to a medical clinic and right next door to a pharmacy; we are located right in between them. So all of our products have been tailored, researched and clinically proven out for our patients. Our patients focus on anxiety, insomnia and physical pain. Our products that we have are 10 products that truly and collectively together can heal and assist in healing with those ailments so we have knocked that down to 10.
Leslie: That’s great, that’s really great! The fact that you have tailored their to the client’s needs, that’s grand…that’s beautiful.
Miss Mariah: Thank you.
Leslie: You don’t have to thank me. You are doing all the work and I just appreciate it and it’s something that more people should get in tuned to. They being addicted to a drug when really it’s not doing anything for them when they can use something that helps them and will not get you addicted.
In the vastly expanding Cannabis industry do you feel the importance of being a minority and female in the industry?
Miss Mariah: Listen, I am a very passion filed person but this question “hit me different”, because the revolution is here and the revolution will NOT be televised (laughs).
Leslie: (Laughing) Oh I hear you “Common”.
Miss Mariah: We must take action on the opportunity in expanding in this Cannabis industry as a brown and as a black, as a aboriginal community, we MUST! It just becomes frustrating because it’s like why do we have to say it so many times (laughs), we have to, it has to be so important to us, that we’re willing to sit with politicians and talk about why these policies are important why we are not going to give up on this and why we are not going to lay down on this! Billions of dollars has been created off of tearing apart our families, so because of something that a certain group of people felt we’re and we don’t even have to get into….cuz girl, you already know.
Leslie: Girl I already know (laughs)
Miss Mariah: It is so important that for one, the minority community accepts the challenge and says yes, we are going to invest in ourselves to thrive in this economic expansion opportunity and as women being the dynamic and self-aware creatures that we are, if you want to and you’re a woman; then do it!, because you will thrive you have every creative capability to see the challenges, to see the problems and be the solution. We as women, like walking in “bout it, bout it”, yeah! I do believe that lions gate is here so Feminine Energy is already creating more balance in the world with the opportunities that Cannabis provides, more women step into these leadership roles, more women will thrive being in this industry.
Leslie: I believe it. (Laughs), yeah I felt that question, I felt that answer (both laugh). I didn’t just hear it, I felt it.
Miss Mariah: Yes, I felt that too. I love it…everyone needs to!
Leslie: More and more people really need to be in tune to what’s really going on and not just women but as a brown Latina, we’re power! We are doing someone to help heal our people and help people period, that’s powerful right there! We are already nurturing as it is so it just brings more to who we are.
Miss Mariah: We do not have to become anything, we just have to be!
Leslie: Do you believe you’ve faced some harder struggles than your counter parts in this male majority industry?
Miss Mariah: I do believe so. I’ve also had this question before, I do enjoy this question because we are not victims and so I’m not putting myself in that mentality. Yet, we face a lot of challenges but it’s not anything that’s harder than what we’ve had to go through in our upbringing. It’s nothing harder than what we’ve had to go through from the time that we were born up until now. So it is, yeah it’s harder and the “good ole boys” have it easier, yes that’s the truth but it’s always been that way so they have positioned themselves to make it easier and we in these real times have that opportunity to position ourselves to make it easier as well, so that’s where I really think that our focus should be. Yes they have it easier. They locked our people away for 60 years for something that they now have a head start on. It is what it is, so now what we gonna do?
Leslie: We are not just going to sit there and pout, there’s no excuse and you can make your own path.
Miss Mariah: We have to, because we were brought to this country, well, however or whatever…..
Leslie: Migrated, right. I agree and one way or another it’s called oppression and like you said there’s no excuse and there’s no limit. So if you really want to get it you can go out there and make your own path and go get it! No excuses.
Miss Mariah: Absolutely, you can, with determination you WILL succeed.
Leslie: What great words of wisdom and advice can you offer our readers, young women and future entrepreneurs?
Miss Mariah: I have been raised with this quote that really has just stuck out to me and I tell it to as many people as I can, “Our deepest fear is not that you are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure and it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us”. So, once we can accept that, like you said, we are limitless, we can choose to be limitless. That doesn’t mean that things are going to be easy it just means that when have chosen to do right and to love right and to be right….to keep being right, living right.
Leslie: Thank you so much! Thank you for your time. If you’re ever in Atlanta, let’s get together.