Q&A with Rosie Mattio: Founder and CEO of MATTIO Communications
Conversations with the Cannabis 50
The Cannabis 50 celebrates the organizations, individuals, and companies who are working to build a responsible, sustainable, and equitable future for the cannabis, hemp, and related industries. In addition to the 2021 Cannabis 50 Impact Review, we are also sharing interviews with our honorees to help spread their messages of positivity and growth.
MATTIO Communications strives to tell the cannabis story—and it does it successfully. The New York-based agency is the largest marketing and communications firm specializing in local and national cannabis clients and it serves industry heavyweights like Trulieve, Curaleaf, Green Thumb Industries, and more. We sat down with one of the founders, Rosie Mattio, to talk about her journey into cannabis, how MATTIO has managed its rapid growth, and what she thinks the industry should turn its focus to in 2022.
MGO: How long have you been involved in the cannabis industry? What inspired you to get involved with cannabis?
Rosie Mattio, Founder and CEO of MATTIO Communications: I first got involved in the industry by doing a PR project on a cannabis cookbook in 2014. From that moment, I was hooked. I’d been working in the public relations field for almost 15 years and had never encountered an industry with so much excitement and potential. Then I started learning about all the lives that have been changed by the power of the plant. When you hear about how cannabis has positively helped so many individuals in their own health and wellness journeys, you can’t help but be an advocate.
MGO: The cannabis industry saw several trends emerge in 2021. What do you think was the biggest one?
Mattio: The East Coast cannabis scene finally came online in 2021. New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut all legalized. Hopefully, this should create a cascading effect in 2022 for other East Coast states to legalize too. We’re excited to see how the market there develops differently from the West Coast market.
MGO: What were some of the biggest obstacles you faced in the industry in 2021? How did you manage and overcome these issues?
Mattio: Like any other founder and entrepreneur, managing growth was one of the largest challenges we faced in 2021. As an organization that has the luxury of remote work, we found that we could cast a wide net to find the right talent. That allowed us to add people to the team who don’t work near our New York or LA office. We hired people in Tennessee and Utah and now have a far-flung staff. We also recognized that as an organization, we had to scale our processes. We began to address those changes last year, but that work will be ongoing into the first quarter of 2022.
MGO: What were the biggest highlights and most positive changes for MATTIO Communications in 2021?
Mattio: We really began to see the stigma of cannabis start to fade in 2021. Particularly, you had these major companies like Amazon and Apple adopt cannabis-friendly policies. It was incredible to have these major public corporations come out in support of legal cannabis use and, hopefully, this will prompt other companies and stakeholders to throw their support behind our industry.
*MGO: What should the cannabis industry be focused on in 2022—and beyond—to keep it moving forward in a positive way? *
Mattio: The industry needs to push the federal government for some sort of reform this year. We came so close in 2021 to getting the SAFE Banking Act passed but never got it across the finish line. The Republicans also introduced their own legalization bill, the States Reform Act. With bipartisan support, we need to push Congress to enact meaningful reform—preferably before the midterms.
MGO: How do you think the cannabis industry will continue to evolve in 2022? What are you personally most excited about?
Mattio: I’m always most excited by the sheer innovation coming out of this industry. We’ve only scratched the surface of how this plant can help and heal us. There’s a vast amount of research being done with minor cannabinoids, especially THCV and CBG. Nanotechnology is another thrilling front, since it solves the problem of bioavailability and water solubility, allowing it to be integrated into several new formats.
MGO: Who else in the cannabis industry inspires you by making a positive impact?
Mattio: Emily Paxhia and her brother Morgan started Poseidon Asset Management almost eight years ago when there were so few funds investing in cannabis. They are both brilliant trailblazers, and Emily is one of the very few female venture capitalists in the space.