The Block mixer draws cannabis professionals (photos) –


SPRINGFIELD — The Block — a new member-driven organization that aims to support emerging Black and Latino cannabis professionals — held the last of three invitation-only networking mixers Thursday evening.

On hand for the event at the White Lion Brewery in Tower Square was The Block’s president, Marcus Williams of Rebelle dispensary in Great Barrington.

“The Block specifically is a trade association,” Williams said. “We’re registering as a 501c(6), nonprofit and our main areas of focus for our members are in business development, access to capital, policy engagement, and thought leadership. We want to be a positive and visible presence for black and brown folks that are seriously thinking about growing in this business.”

According to Payton Shubrick, chief of staff for the organization, the mixer was to build community and equity in space for professionals in the industry.

“This is the third and final event of the year,” Shubrick said. “Our first one was held in Boston then Framingham and now Springfield. We are moving around the state and the whole idea here is to create a space and place for people of color to figure out ways to network as allies. A space where we can come up with ways to support each other. Its a really great opportunity.”

Coalition aims to positivity represent and capitalize on the new found need for diversity in the business space with leadership and is looking forward to bringing its nonprofit nationwide.

According to Reginald Stanfield, cultivation expert and The Block’s vice president, there are currently about 20 members. The coalition is working on business development, resource guidance, connections and evaluation for their members.

“We are experienced. We have retail experts, the first courier delivery. We have almost every kind of licensed owner a part of The Block. So were talking about working together business to business in some sort of capacity and on the other end just giving advice,” Stanfield said. “Why not get behind that as a more centralized idea? We have a chamber of commerce where these things can be monetized, where we can provide group economics, were trying to funnel that and use it.”

People thinking about joining the cannabis industry and just don’t know where to start, the coalition has many options for members to gain capital such as black and brown investment firms, crowd sourcing and institutional backing.

The Block is looking for other Black and Latino businesses to get involved.

“We are looking for everything. Event planners, social media experts, website builders and construction companies,” Williams said.

Attendance at the last mixer was upwards of 60 people at this event more than 80 registered guests. Shubrick is expecting the guest list to grow monthly as they are planning to hold bigger events, conferences, mixers and panels in emerging markets such as craft and commercial products.

The coalition is excited about progress what is to come next year, to growing as a group and is looking for suggestions and ideas. More details can be found online at


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