The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest national trade organization in the legal cannabis industry with a focus on assisting cannabis businesses. In 2010, marijuana policy reform leaders Aaron Smith and Steve Fox founded the NCIA following the 2009 release of the Ogden Memo.
In the Ogden Memo, the Justice Department directed its prosecutors not to prosecute caregivers or patients who used medical marijuana in states where marijuana is legal under state law, even though marijuana use is still illegal under federal law. The NCIA represents cannabis-based businesses and people who work in the industry.
All industries have trade associations, and marijuana is no different. The NCIA is dedicated to working together with cannabis business owners to improve the industry. All new and growing businesses and industries struggle to gain a foothold, but the cannabis industry must battle long-held prejudices against marijuana as well as confusing and often conflicting laws. The NCIA works to ensure a fair environment in which cannabis businesses can thrive.
What Does the National Cannabis Industry Association Do for the Cannabis Industry?
The NCIA serves as an advocate for a professional, responsible cannabis industry. The organization works to protect cannabis businesses and reform laws to be fairer to workers and entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry. With conflicting laws changing daily, the NCIA helps cannabis business owners understand those laws and also works to educate the government officials who create them. The group works to establish fair laws that guide the cannabis businesses opening up in states that have legalized its use.
Cannabis businesses can join the NCIA to learn about best practices in the cannabis industry. The NCIA educates businesses on how to operate a cannabis business legally. Members can speak about their experiences working with marijuana at events or on the association’s blog, which features stories about real people in the industry.
The NCIA works to ensure fairness and responsibility in the budding cannabis industry. Socially, the organization aims to share positive stories about cannabis in an effort to change the negative stigma brought on by years of prohibition and misinformation. They also teach members how to speak about and work with cannabis in a way that helps cement the industry as reputable as it grows.
The NCIA and the Future of Marijuana Laws in the United States
As Americans’ perception of marijuana shifts, the NCIA has been helping to prove the benefits of cannabis and to help shape the laws that will guide this industry in the future. In 2015, the Arcview Group named legal marijuana as the fastest growing industry in the United States. In 2017, the NCIA established the NCIA Policy Council, a cannabis industry think-tank in Washington, D.C., to help ensure the industry will continue to thrive. On their website, NCIA says their mission is “to promote the growth of responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and work for a favorable social, economical, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.”
Because cannabis use is still prohibited federally, the states who have legalized the plant have done so on shaky legal ground. Many states have their own state-specific industry group. In 2018, the NCIA aimed to unite the state groups through the Allied Associations Group. The NCIA suggests the many smaller groups could be more powerful if they worked together and pooled their resources.
Due to the newness of the cannabis industry, many people disagree on the direction it should take. Sometimes smaller organizations want different things, but the NCIA believes if these smaller organizations work together to agree on what they want, they can be more persuasive in Washington, D.C.
The NCIA works hard to disseminate information about the cannabis industry to the public and to inform people who work in the industry of new developments. Association members write blogs and host webinars to share their knowledge with other cannabis professionals. In this way, the organization offers education from the front lines of the industry as well as an opportunity for cannabis professionals to network with their peers.
Your Cannabis Business Expo
Want to meet industry leaders and learn from the best? Join us for a CannaCon expo in your region and network with other cannabis business owners, attend seminars, and purchase cannabis-related products. Register now for CannaCon South, September 27-28, 2019, or CannaCon Northwest, January 10-11, 2020.