Backing every strong industry, there are individuals and organizations working behind the scenes to advocate for better rules and regulations and ensuring a business environment that allows its participants to thrive. These trade groups and nonprofit organizations are particularly critical in a business like cannabis, in which the laws are constantly changing, and industry participants are often at odds with lawmakers, opposing activists and their competitors.
Marijuana Venture reached out to dozens of cannabis industry nonprofits, trade groups and advocacy organizations, asking each about its mission, membership, goals and cost to join. The following list represents the organizations that responded.
AlaskaClick Here to see Alaska Trade Organizations
Alaska Marijuana Industry Association
Mission: “We promote and advocate for a vibrant and reasonably regulated Alaska-based cannabis industry. The Alaska Marijuana Industry Association serves to strengthen and enhance a network of connected, independent, informed, regionally and community-directed Alaska cannabis organizations.
“We are really all about cannabis advocacy, and we support our members by helping out the chapters however we can, working on campaigns when we get push back at the ballot box and supporting the communities where our chapters are located. Benefits range from advocacy when members can’t get to locations where they need to have a voice (we will actually go to meetings and voice their concerns) to position papers for the industry to educational assistance.”
Who is eligible? The AMIA membership includes all license types, including retailers, cultivators, product and concentrate manufacturers and testing labs. There are also membership tiers for ancillary businesses and industry employees.
Members: The organization expects to have 100-plus companies as members once it completes its current membership drive.
Price range: Annual dues range from $300 for Executive memberships down to $20 for employees of cannabis businesses.
Goals: President Lacy Wilcox says the organization has numerous goals to help Alaska’s cannabis businesses, including: working closely with national associations to further the conversation around the federal SAFE Banking Act, as well as sending letters and meeting with state and federal lawmakers; working with state regulators to remove or reform onerous regulations as the industry matures; and conducting a comprehensive state cannabis tax analysis.
“Last fall we completed a survey of the industry on the state’s $50-per-ounce cannabis flower tax,” she says. “The most obvious thing we noticed is that there is virtually no support for a ‘proof’ tax, or one that is based on the potency of the cannabis product. There is split support for either a tax at retail or a tax based on the wholesale value of the cannabis product. For sole retailers, the added burden of holding cash for state taxes without banking is unappealing. For sole cultivators, the (current) tax on flower is $800 per pound no matter the market value.”
The organization has also supported state legislation to remove marijuana possession records from online public view.
ArizonaClick Here to see Arizona Trade Organizations
Arizona Dispensaries Association
Mission: “The Arizona Dispensaries Association protects and advances the ecosystem of regulated cannabis across the Grand Canyon State. Through political advocacy, continuing education and other member services, the ADA is working toward a future where the cannabis industry is well-regarded, well-protected and well-regulated.”
Who is eligible? Membership in the Arizona Dispensaries Association is available for licensed, plant-touching operations of all shapes, sizes and configurations in Arizona. Limited sponsorship opportunities are available for companies that support the vertically integrated marketplace.
Members: The association’s 35 members represent nearly 75% of the 130 operational licenses in the state, and through the wholesale market ADA members’ products are available at every licensed retailer across the state.
Price range: Membership dues for licensed operators are $12,500 for 2020.
Goals: Executive director Samuel Richard says the organization’s immediate goal is the successful passage and subsequent implementation of the Smart & Safe Arizona Act, an initiative to legalize adult-use cannabis in Arizona.
ArkansasClick Here to see Arkansas Trade Organizations
Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association
Mission: “The Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association is a 501(c)(6) cannabis industry trade association advocating for laws, regulations and public policies that foster a healthy, professional and accountable medical cannabis industry in our state. Our mission has four main components: advocating for the industry; education; bringing the industry together; and protecting patients.
“ACIA is committed to becoming a recognized and trusted voice before policymakers, regulators and the community at large. We are charged with protecting the industry from overly burdensome regulations and laws that would impede industry growth and infringe on the rights of patients to access medical cannabis. Simply, we serve as the eyes and ears for the industry.”
Who is eligible? Cultivation and dispensary business licensees, vendor partners and medical cannabis-prescribing physicians.
Members: Chairman Robert deBin says he expects the majority of the state’s 48 cannabis business licensees (eight cultivators and 40 dispensaries) will be members, once the program is fully operational.
Price range: Annual memberships: $7,800 for dispensaries, $15,000 for cultivators and $2,000 vendors and doctors.
Goals: DeBin says the association’s goal is “to help shape a regulatory and legislative environment that allows the industry to grow and prosper.”
“Many policymakers in Arkansas view the industry as a political lighting rod,” he says. “The mission of ACIA will be to show policymakers and the public that the industry is professional and accountable. We will work to build trust and earn respect, which, in turn, will help us shape public policy that will benefit the industry. Beyond the advocacy arena, ACIA will focus on educating our members on industry best practices and serve as a bridge to bring all the different industry players together through networking events. ACIA will create opportunities to educate the public and help those seeking a patient card navigate the system.”
CaliforniaClick Here to see California Trade Organizations
California Cannabis Industry Association
Mission: “The California Cannabis Industry Association’s mission is to promote the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and work for a favorable social, economic and legal environment for our industry in the state of California.
“The CCIA was founded on the principle of strength in numbers. The thousands of California businesses involved in our state-legal cannabis industry represent a significant economic force. As the industry’s most influential state trade association, CCIA works every day to ensure our burgeoning business sector is represented in a professional and coordinated way at the state level.”
Who is eligible? All business types, supply chain and ancillary service providers.
Members: About 400 businesses and 650 brands.
Price range: Equity membership starts at $75 a month. The Associate+ membership is $150 a month, specifically curated for nonprofits and small businesses. Regular memberships start at $150 a month and move up to upgraded memberships at $500 and $1,000 a month. Annual memberships save 17% over monthly membership plans across all tiers.
Goals: According to communications director Josh Drayton, the CCIA will continue to prioritize social equity, tax reduction and opening up local jurisdictions throughout the state.
“As an association, we will utilize multiple vehicles to accomplish these goals including legislation and regulation reform,” he says. “Critical to the success of the cannabis industry is ensuring that we engage in democracy and turn out to vote. This November 3, we have an opportunity to support candidates that support our industry, and CCIA will be educating our members through webinars, candidate forums and voter registration partnerships to ensure strong voter turnout.”
Cannabis Distribution Association
Mission: “The Cannabis Distribution Association’s mission is to ensure the economic viability of small businesses in cannabis while maintaining supply chain integrity as well as public and consumer safety. As the leading voice for cannabis distributors, CDA’s government affairs and policy advocacy work has two prongs: 1) legislative focus on tax reform, marketplace expansion (in-state and nationally) and enforcement of the illicit market; and 2) improving regulations to be more business-friendly.”
Who is eligible? The CDA has two member tiers: active and affiliate. Active memberships are for active, licensed cannabis distributors. Affiliate membership is for any other non-distributor business, whether a licensed cannabis operator or an ancillary business.
Members: CDA’s membership comprises more than 20 of the leading cannabis distributors in California and another 10-plus affiliate businesses.
Price range: Active memberships are $500 per month. Affiliate memberships are $250 per month.
Goals: “With the legislative focus on economic recovery and public health in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 crisis, CDA is prioritizing reform on the regulatory front, actively meeting with regulating agencies and discussing some key regulations that have the biggest impact on cannabis businesses, and especially distributors,” says board president Lauren Fraser. “In 2021, we will be re-engaging our legislative strategy to tackle the highest priority initiatives: tax reform, marketplace expansion and enforcement of the illicit market with an emphasis on bringing more operators into compliance to participate in the regulated marketplace.”
Mission: “Origins Council is a nonprofit education, research and policy advocacy organization dedicated to sustainable rural economic development within cannabis-producing regions and establishing nationally and internationally recognized, legally defensible, standards-based, geographic indication systems for cannabis.”
Who is eligible? Origins Council does not accept individual membership, but rather partners with regional trade associations representing legacy cannabis-producing regions of California to comprise its Regional Council. Those partner organizations include the Big Sur Farmers Alliance, Humboldt County Growers Alliance, Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, Sonoma County Growers Alliance and Trinity County Agriculture Alliance.
Members: The organization operates under a reciprocal membership with its regional partners, which comprise the total membership of Origins Council, currently about 500 members.
Price range: Membership dues for individual Regional Partner organizations vary, with most offering a tiered system of membership which can be found on their respective websites.
Goals: Executive director Genine Coleman says the organization is working on several projects in 2020 that will continue into 2021, including:
– Driving a coalition industry effort to support the 2020 passage of Senate Bill 67, which would, among other things, further refine the criteria to qualify for a cannabis appellation of origin designation.
– Supporting three of its Regional Partners in the process of establishing local cannabis equity programs (Mendocino County; Nevada County; Monterey County), funded by the state’s Cannabis Equity Grant Program.
– Awaiting revised regulatory packages from the California Department of Food and Agriculture regarding the CalCannabis Appellations Program and the OCal Program, an organic equivalency certification program. Origins Council conducted a technical analysis of both proposed regulatory packages and submitted comprehensive recommendations to the agency and will do so again once revisions are published.
– Developing a variety of recommendations for both local and state policymakers, including two specific statewide issues: a) the anticipated 2021 restructuring of the state cannabis regulatory agencies, proposed by the governor’s office at the beginning of this year; and b) the challenges of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other state environmental requirements that negatively impact the viability of the tandem state-local licensing/permitting structures currently in place.
United Cannabis Business Association
Mission: United Cannabis Business Association president Jerred Kiloh says the California-based organization’s mission is “to make sure licensed cannabis operators have a voice in Sacramento and local laws, so that we are not adversely affected.”
Who is eligible? Per the organization’s bylaws, two-thirds of the membership must be state-licensed retailers, while the remainder can be of any license type. Ancillary businesses can be members, but don’t have voting rights.
Members: About 160.
Price range: Annual membership costs range from $500 to $2,000.
Goals: The UCBA is working on several bills under consideration by California lawmakers, including efforts to reform the tax structure to allow state-licensed operators to better compete with the illicit market, to regulate hemp-derived CBD products and to step up enforcement against the illicit market.
Kiloh says the organization is also working to make permanent several temporary allowances that were ushered in to keep cannabis retail store customers and employees safer during the coronavirus pandemic, such as curbside delivery, which was implemented as part of the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s emergency response to the outbreak.
ColoradoClick Here to see Colorado Trade Organizations
Colorado Cannabis Manufacturers Association
Mission: “The Colorado Cannabis Manufacturers Association is committed to working with state regulatory bodies to ensure the development of sound policies that promote business efficiency, innovation and consumer safety, thereby ensuring a sustainable supply chain and thriving community. Our group represents licensed Colorado cannabis manufacturers through the advancement of legislation, advocacy and industry collaboration.”
Who is eligible? Licensed cannabis manufacturers in Colorado.
Members: The CCMA represents more than 120 licenses.
Price range: $500 per month.
Goals: Executive director Kevin Gallagher says the CCMA has several goals outlined for the remainder of 2020 and the early part of 2021:
– Create a new term, “botanically-derived compounds,” to offer clarity to businesses and consumers when such additives are used in the production of vaporizer delivery devices.
– Allow concentrate potency process validation. Specific concentrate production processes have matured and continue to possess consistent potency results within +/- 15% potency variances. This proposal aligns with other potency process validation rules but adds more stringent ongoing testing requirements to ensure consistent processes.
– Exempt raw material from metals testing if the entire batch is allocated to extractions. The final concentrate product must be tested for metals. This eliminates a redundant metals test upstream in the supply chain.
– Define “micro-dosed” cannabinoid. This creates an additional potency variance for such products. Such potency variance is needed to account for instrument and sample preparation variances at the lab when no physical variability exists. The current +/- 15% potency variance is not operable and prevents many businesses from pursuing low-dose products.
– Allow process validation of medical edible marijuana products over 100 milligrams.
– Allow labeling remediation when a regulated marijuana product fails potency testing. This prevents an additional potency test from being conducted, while accurately labeling product packaging to ensure consumer transparency.
HawaiiClick Here to see Hawaii Trade Organizations
Hawaiʻi Cannabis Industry Association
Mission: “The Hawaiʻi Cannabis Industry Association nurtures the legal cannabis industry’s long-term success by advancing the adoption of sound public policies and promoting awareness and understanding of the regulated cannabis industry’s contributions to Hawaiʻi’s wellbeing. The Hawaiʻi Cannabis Industry Association protects and promotes the legal cannabis industry by providing members a unified voice, effective advocacy, education and strong leadership.”
Who is eligible? Currently, HICIA membership is open to any business or entity that is affiliated with or is looking to work with the legal cannabis industry in Hawaii and aligns with the HICIA’s mission and vision.
Members: Currently, HICIA’s core members consist of seven of the eight legal medical cannabis dispensaries in the state (Aloha Green Apothecary, Cure Oahu, Noa Botanicals, Green Aloha, Maui Grown Therapies, Pono Life Sciences Maui and Hawaiian Ethos) and five associate members (Aeos Labs, MedCan Labs, BridgeWest, Galaxy Insurance and KINE Bottles).
Price range: There are four levels of membership within the HICIA: Green Leaf ($2,000 per year); Gold Leaf ($6,000 per year); Diamond Leaf ($10,000 per year); and Platinum Leaf ($15,000 per year).
Goals: Program director Randy Gonce says 2020 has been a challenging year, with COVID-19 and the uncertainty about the economy forcing the organization to re-evaluate its priorities.
For the remainder of 2020, he says, the HICIA’s primary goals are: 1) ensure that the cannabis industry omnibus bill that passed both the houses of the Hawaii Legislature is signed by the governor; 2) give a presentation to current lawmakers and regulators on the current status of the industry; and 3) continue to discuss and develop how HICIA can assist in expanding the legal cannabis program to include the eventual adoption of an adult/social-use program.
IllinoisClick Here to see Illinois Trade Organizations
Cannabis Business Association of Illinois
Mission: “The Cannabis Business Association of Illinois is the statewide voice of Illinois’ cannabis industry, advocating for patient well-being, consumer safety, greater equity and inclusion, job creation, community investment and the responsible use of cannabis. We provide the links that enable our industry to partner with Illinois legislators and state agencies to solve problems, innovate and capitalize on emerging opportunities. The CBAI serves as an experienced and credible resource on cannabis issues for policymakers and for our members.
“We believe in the medical benefits of cannabis and in its ability to help patients. We also believe that wise cannabis policies can help heal communities in the same way. Our members are committed to realizing the positive potential of Illinois’ historic cannabis law.”
Who is eligible? The CBAI welcomes cannabis license holders, individual advocates and ancillary businesses and organizations.
Members: The CBAI represents 85% of the state’s cannabis industry, including multi-state operators, cultivators and independently owned dispensaries. The organization recently expanded its membership levels to include non-license-holding members. There are also special membership prices and benefits for qualified social equity applicants.
Price range: Full memberships cost $1,240 per license per quarter for dispensaries and $4,000 per license per quarter for cultivators. Associate memberships are $750 annually for individuals, $1,500 for small businesses and $2,500 for Professional level memberships (2020 minority business memberships are free).
Goals: The CBAI is committed to advocating for patient wellbeing, consumer safety, greater equity and inclusion, job creation, community investment and the responsible use of cannabis.
“We’re particularly focused right now on supporting social equity applicants, without whom the industry cannot reach its full potential,” executive director Pamela Althoff says. “License awards have been delayed for several months, and we’re actively developing solutions to support them while advocating on their behalf to the state.”
MarylandClick Here to see Maryland Trade Organizations
Maryland Medical Dispensary Association
Mission: “The Maryland Medical Dispensary Association is a professional trade association advocating for laws, regulations and public policies that foster a healthy, professional and secure cannabis industry in our state. We work on the state and local level to advance the interests of licensed dispensaries as well as to provide a forum for the exchange of information in the cannabis industry.”
Who is eligible? Any licensed dispensary in the state of Maryland can join as a dispensary member. In addition, businesses that service the cannabis industry can join as vendor members. This includes licensed growers, processors and ancillary businesses.
Members: About 50.
Price range: Currently, memberships range from $950 to $1,250 per year.
Goals: President Tracey Lancaster Miller says a major focus for the MDMDA is the implementation of an adult-use program in Maryland.
“We expect to see legislation introduced in the 2021 legislative session and are working to ensure passage of a comprehensive adult-use bill,” she says. “In addition, we are focused on 280E reform at the state level.”
Maryland Wholesale Medical Cannabis Association
Mission: “The Maryland Wholesale Medical Cannabis Association (CANMD) promotes the responsible advancement of the medical cannabis industry in Maryland by fostering a favorable social, economic and legal climate. The catalysts for our work are improved public health, patient advocacy and the advancement of science.
“Providing a unified voice for medical cannabis growers and processors in Maryland, we support efforts to create transparency, accountability and consistency in the state’s medical cannabis industry and strive to educate and act as a resource to lawmakers, medical providers and patients.”
Who is eligible? Growers, processors and ancillary businesses.
Members: 13 company members, including ancillary businesses.
Price range: “We are happy to discuss our membership levels with potential members directly,” says executive director Bridget Hill-Zayat.
Goals: “We want to continue our mission to protect patients’ access to safe medicine and the development of the medical market in Maryland,” Hill-Zayat says.
MassachusettsClick Here to see Massachusetts Trade Organizations
Commonwealth Dispensary Association
Mission: “The Commonwealth Dispensary Association is committed to building a diverse, thriving marketplace and serves to provide state-licensed marijuana operators with critical insight and best practices to help them navigate the complex, highly regulated Massachusetts cannabis industry. The organization also serves as the primary voice for the cannabis business community in front of the Cannabis Control Commission and at the State House.”
Who is eligible? CDA membership is open to virtually all provisionally licensed cannabis establishments in Massachusetts. Cultivators, product manufacturers, retailers, micro-businesses, delivery services and medical treatment centers are eligible.
Members: Formed in 2015, the CDA comprises 42 members holding operating licenses in more than 70 cities and towns across the commonwealth.
Price range: Membership is $500 to $1,000 per month depending on category.
Goals: The Cannabis Control Commission recently released draft regulatory changes and a public comment period will follow. The CDA plans to be active in these discussions, advocating for revisions that help to grow the Massachusetts cannabis ecosystem and make it successful.
“Likewise, we will be analyzing how changes could potentially affect members and communicating these impacts to them,” says CDA president David Torrisi. “On the legislative side, a bill that would grant the CCC authority to review host community agreements and ensure they are not overly burdensome for applicants passed the Massachusetts House of Representatives and is currently before the state Senate. Additionally, in an effort to increase representation in the industry and to live up to the equity objectives of legalization, the CDA and its members will be working closely with CultivatED, a first-of-its-kind jail-to-jobs program, to commence the initial class’ industry curriculum and to place participants into employment opportunities.”
Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association
Mission: “The Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association is your trusted advocate for the responsible and equitable growth of the cannabis economy in Massachusetts. As the premier organization for cannabis-related businesses, MassCBA is working to create a vibrant industry that serves as a positive economic engine for the region and acts responsibly toward our partners, neighbors, customers and government stakeholders.”
Who is eligible? Licensed operators, companies seeking a cannabis license and ancillary businesses that serve the industry.
Price range: $75 for social equity and economic empowerment applicants; $75 per month for small businesses; rates for licensed operators start at $5,000 and go up to $15,000 for larger businesses with multiple licenses. Dues can be paid monthly.
Goals: President and CEO David O’Brien says the organization’s goal is to “provide technical assistance and best practices to companies in the licensing pipeline, especially companies owned and operated by women, minorities, veterans and LGBTQ applicants.”
MontanaClick Here to see Montana Trade Organizations
Montana Cannabis Industry Association
Mission: “The Montana Cannabis Industry Association wants Montana to be competitive. We want Montana providers of cannabis to be able to continue to provide a quality product and service. We aim at creating a market of excellence with empowered customers. We want to be good employers and community members as we all participate in the ongoing process of creating a pleasant and workable world for each of us. The MTCIA is member-driven and mission-based. We aim at functional regulations and do so with the customer in mind.
“To that end, the MTCIA shapes and analyzes public policy based on principles: Safety, quality, accessibility, affordability. By shaping policy around the needs of the customer, we create an industry that fits comfortably into our Montana communities.”
Who is eligible? Members of the MTCIA are primarily licensed medical marijuana providers in Montana, but the organization also has a cannabis medical clinic operator and a testing lab as members.
Members: The MTCIA has about 20 members among the state’s registered cannabis providers.
Price range: $200 per month. When special projects or needs emerge, members provide additional support.
Goals: If Montana’s legalization initiative on the 2020 ballot succeeds, there are modifications the MTCIA will pursue when the Legislature meets in 2021, says lobbyist Kate Cholewa.
“Primarily, the MTCIA will seek provisions to assure medical patients do not get lost with the implementation of adult-use access,” she says. “As is, within a year, we do not think it will be practical or sustainable to serve medical users without changes to the law. One change in particular will be to merge regulation under a single state agency and assure it is not more onerous to serve the medical-use customer than the rec customer. Other proposals are under consideration.”
MichiganClick Here to see Michigan Trade Organizations
Michigan Cannabis Industry Association
Mission: “The MICIA is the leading voice for Michigan’s legal cannabis businesses. The MICIA advocates for a responsible and successful medical and adult-use cannabis industry by promoting sensible laws and regulations and industry best practices among members.”
Who is eligible? Any state-licensed cannabis company or legally operating ancillary company that provides services to state-licensed cannabis businesses may join the association.
Price range: Membership levels range from $100 per month to $50,000 per year. Membership levels are dependent on the level of support each individual company is comfortable with contributing.
Goals: According to executive director Robin Schneider, the MICIA’s primary goals for 2020-2021 are to: support the clean slate expungement package currently moving through the Michigan Legislature; defend and protect the state’s voter-enacted laws, the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (adult-use legalization) and the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, from unnecessary legislative amendments; ensure fair and equitable licensing and regulatory practices that foster a healthy free market; and continue finding ancillary service providers including banking, insurance, security and more to transparently service our licensed members.
MissouriClick Here to see Missouri Trade Organizations
Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association
Mission: “MoCannTrade is a membership-based association of business owners and professionals proactively working together to build a successful, safe and compliant medical cannabis industry. MoCannTrade is governed by a 15-member board of directors and a 45-member advisory board with backgrounds in medical marijuana and licensed facility operations, as well as health care, law, science, agriculture, law enforcement, security, commercial real estate, finance, government and public affairs. We are the largest, most influential cannabis trade association in Missouri, speaking with a unified voice to ensure a sensibly regulated and robust state medical marijuana program.”
Who is eligible? Licensed facilities (cultivation, manufacturing and dispensaries), testing labs and ancillary service providers.
Price range: Starting at $1,000.
Goals: According to spokesman Alan Zagier, “MoCannTrade is squarely focused on supporting the start of retail medical cannabis sales in Missouri in 2020, as well as the industry’s continued growth and success as the state continues to fully implement a program enshrined in the state’s constitution following a victorious November 2018 ballot measure.”
NevadaClick Here to see Nevada Trade Organizations
Nevada Dispensary Association
Mission: Nevada Dispensary Association executive director Riana Durrett says the organization’s mission is to “develop and promote best practices and to voice the interests and concerns of Nevada’s medical and adult-use dispensaries. We have developed an education program and are considered the primary voice for the cannabis industry with regards to government affairs.”
Who is eligible? NDA membership consists of licensed adult-use and medical dispensaries. Many of the members are vertically integrated so they also have cultivation and production licenses. Although membership is limited to dispensaries, there are multiple ways for other licensees and non-licensees to get involved in NDA activities.
Members: Most of Nevada’s 70-plus dispensaries are members.
Price range: Prospective members can contact the association directly to learn about dues (info@nvdispense).
Goals: While the NDA has many regularly occurring activities, such as providing educational webinars and classes and community outreach and relations, government affairs continues to be one of the main areas of focus for the group’s members.
“NDA worked with many licensees to address concerns as a new regulatory body (the Cannabis Compliance Board) recently assumed authority and adopted regulations,” Durrett says. “In addition, the NDA will be preparing for Nevada’s biennial legislative session that begins in 2021.”
OregonClick Here to see Oregon Trade Organizations
Oregon Cannabis Association
Mission: “The Oregon Cannabis Association’s mission is to help one another thrive through networking events, educational workshops and political representation.”
Who is eligible? The OCA is a diverse group of cultivators, processors, retailers, entrepreneurs and allied businesses.
Members: The organization has 200-plus members, ranging from multi-state operators with several licenses to family farms and individuals passionate about Oregon’s cannabis industry.
Price range: Individual memberships are available for as little as $7 per month. The standard business membership is $500. The highest level of membership is the Leadership Circle, which ranges from $2,500 to $7,500, based on annual revenue.
Goals: Executive director Kim Lundin says the group is working toward consistent and predictable outcomes in the regulated market.
“This means working with our state regulatory agency (the Oregon Liquor Control Commission) on increased response times, licensee education and significant enforcement reforms that support industry growth,” Lundin says. “Additionally, we are focusing on social justice reform, lobbying for cannabis tax allocations that directly support the Black and brown communities who were most impacted by the drug war.”
Oregon Cannabis Retailers Association
Mission: “The Oregon Cannabis Retailers Association’s mission is to help cultivate a robust, vibrant and successful retail cannabis marketplace for both consumers and business owners here in Oregon. We’re dedicated to acting as a conduit between Oregon’s cannabis industry and policymakers, with the goal of improving communications between the two and creating a pathway for the cannabis industry to provide meaningful input into the policymaking process. We also work hard to bring folks together and to get our industry organized on a range of issues.”
Who is eligible? ORCA welcomes anyone who is supportive of the organization’s legislative and policy agenda, as well as its broader goal of creating a vibrant and successful retail cannabis marketplace in Oregon.
“We’re proud to include folks who are cannabis policy advocates, cannabis business owners, ancillary business owners within the cannabis industry, business consultants, lawyers, doctors and so much more,” says executive director Casey Houlihan.
Members: ORCA currently has more than 500 members, including businesses across the state from every part of the cannabis supply chain, from production to distribution to sale. Members represent a broad range of viewpoints and perspectives, from small mom-and-pop businesses all the way up to the larger, vertically integrated businesses.
Price range: ORCA’s membership fees have been designed to be as flexible and affordable as possible, starting with its grassroots level membership at $35 a month.
Goals: ORCA is currently working with members of the Oregon Legislature to begin preparing the bills it plans to introduce in the 2021 legislative session.
“We are also working with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission on its latest round of administrative rulemaking in an effort to ensure that what we see from the agency as it relates to enforcement is more transparent and less varied than we’ve seen in recent years, where penalties have often been wildly inconsistent and the process has been opaque,” Houlihan says. “Ultimately what we’re seeking is more fairness and consistency for licensees.”
Oregon SunGrowers Guild
Mission: “We advocate and promote sustainable, sungrown cannabis, family farms and conscientious consumers to help create a healthier world. Our focus, primarily through the education of legislators, is promoting responsible and reasonable regulations around the cannabis industry as a whole, primarily in Oregon, but around the country too.”
Who is eligible? Any business that wants to support the organization is welcome.
Members: The OSGG currently has 150 to 175 active members, primarily labs, processing facilities and farms.
Price range: Grower memberships range from $250 annually to $2,000 annually, depending on the size of the farm. Business memberships range from $1,500 annually to $3,000 annually, depending on gross revenue. Individual and family memberships are $100 and $150, respectively.
Goals: OSGG vice president Rob Pendell says Oregon’s hemp industry needs the most attention right now from a regulatory standpoint, as the guild aims to prevent a repeat of what happened a couple years ago, when the floodgates were opened for licensing, leading to massive oversupply.
On the recreational cannabis side of the industry, the OSGG’s main focus right now is trying to establish legal export of Oregon cannabis to other legal states, something Pendell says would be a “huge boon” for state-licensed growers.
“Of course, that’s a federal battle (that would require) a rescheduling of cannabis or a stamp of approval that makes it legal to move cannabis across state lines from one legal state to another legal state,” he adds.
And the organization continues to support the state’s medical marijuana program, which has fallen by the wayside in recent years. Pendell says it’s important to continue to push research and education “so patients who need cannabis can have access to clean, legal and affordable medicine.”
WashingtonClick Here to see Washington Trade Organizations
The Cannabis Alliance
Mission: “The Cannabis Alliance is dedicated to the advancement of a vital, ethical and sustainable cannabis industry. The Cannabis Alliance’s mission as a nonprofit is to tell the real story about cannabis through education, advocacy and setting the highest possible industry standards. We want people to learn the positive impact the industry has in providing new businesses, jobs and tax income, as well as many other social benefits.”
Who is eligible? The Cannabis Alliance is an all-inclusive organization that welcomes licensees, ancillary businesses, patients and consumers in the cannabis space.
Members: 230 businesses and individuals.
Price range: Memberships start at $10 a month for some individuals and can be expanded all the way to specialized, foundational memberships for larger businesses.
Goals: As a membership-driven organization, The Cannabis Alliance derives its agenda from the needs and concerns of its members.
“In this new era, we are focused on utilizing relationships with regulators to keep our essential businesses updated and in compliance with an ever-changing landscape,” says interim executive director Caitlein Ryan. “The Cannabis Alliance is also committed to workforce development through webinars, partnerships with educational institutions and human resource firms, as well as a job fair and work preparation training. We are also continuing to further initiatives on sustainable packaging and waste, patient rights, criminal justice reform, tax reform and community outreach.”
Ryan says social equity in cannabis continues to be a top priority. The organization is involved in multiple efforts to seek justice for Black and brown people who contributed to the legacy market and were punished by the War on Drugs or shut out of the regulated market.
Craft Cannabis Coalition
Mission: “The Craft Cannabis Coalition is a community of industry stakeholders composed of licensed producers, processors and retailers working together to promote and protect the unique craft nature of Washington state legal cannabis. We want to preserve the breadth, scope and diversity of the products available to consumers by ensuring all license holders, regardless of size, can participate.”
Who is eligible? “While we seek to protect and promote all of the industry, membership is limited to producer, processor and retail license holders,” says executive director Joanna Monroe.
Members: About 40.
Price range: Annual dues are $600 to $10,000, depending on revenue.
Goals: Monroe says the organization’s primary goals are to build strong relationships with key legislators and protect Washington’s cannabis businesses against legislative threats such as forced unionization, expansion of licenses and vertical integration.
“We also believe deeply in diversification of the industry and support a social equity agenda to right the wrongs arising out of the War on Drugs,” Monroe says. “In addition, we have launched a political action committee and will use our shared financial resources to support politicians who embrace our vision for the industry. Our full legislative agenda can be found on our website.”
Washington CannaBusiness Association
Mission: The Washington CannaBusiness Association “believes strongly that raising awareness and addressing misconceptions about the regulated cannabis market is fundamental to the ongoing success of the legal system. WACA’s advocacy extends to cannabis policy on the national level. It is a founding member of the Western Region Cannabis Business Alliance (WRCBA), including cannabis industry associations from states such as Alaska, Montana and Oregon (among others), and is a member of ATACH, the leading national advocacy organization for the cannabis industry in our nation’s capital. WACA’s coordinated advocacy on the federal level with members of Congress has helped advance critical policies such as the SAFE Banking Act.”
Who is eligible? Full membership is available to cannabis and hemp producers, processors and retailers who conduct business in Washington state. Associate and limited memberships are available to businesses providing support services to the industry.
Members: WACA represents 75 licensed producers, processors, retailers, labs and associates to advocate “on behalf of a safe, quality-controlled and regulated legal cannabis marketplace that keeps products out of the hands of minors.”
Price range: Membership dues are on a sliding scale based on gross business income and range from $500 a year to $5,000 a year. WACA is also one of the only cannabis associations in the country to offer a health-care plan for member companies.
Goals: In 2020 and for the foreseeable future, WACA and its members are focused on supporting policies that protect public health and economic security during the coronavirus pandemic.
“In representing an ‘essential’ industry, WACA’s focus on safety and quality control is critically important for registered medical patients, to ward off resurgence in the illicit marketplace and to generate tax revenues for local, county and state government as long as lawmakers are facing unprecedented challenges in sustaining critical public services,” says executive director Vicki Christophersen. “We are in the midst of determining specific advocacy priorities in the regulatory and legislative arenas through our annual democratic process with members, but we are conscious of the significant disruptions caused by COVID-19 that will and should dominate any policymaking conversations.”
Washington Sungrowers Industry Association
Mission: “Our mission is to support sustainably farmed sungrown cannabis by encouraging positive environmental and economic policy through advocacy, education and research.”
Who is eligible? Membership is open to any businesses or individual passionate about supporting Washington’s sungrowers, however, voting rights are reserved for state-licensed cannabis businesses to ensure the organization always prioritizes farmers.
Members: The Washington Sungrowers Industry Association currently represents 53 businesses, holding more than 90 state-issued cannabis business licenses. The WSIA’s membership includes retailers, ancillary businesses and producers and processors.
Price range: Membership dues can be paid on an annual basis ranging from $500 to $5,000 each year or on a monthly basis ranging from $45 up to $416 each month.
Goals: “Our primary goal is to promote policy that prioritizes Washington’s independent cannabis farmers, who serve as the literal roots and foundation of the industry,” says executive director Crystal Oliver. “We are continuing to engage with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board to make the allowance for children and grandchildren of licensees on site to be made permanent. We are also pushing for a more reasonable approach to quality control testing reforms, as well as pushing for changes to the rules requiring every plant be physically tagged.
“We are still in the process of finalizing our legislative agenda for the 2021 session; however, it looks like issues of greatest importance to farmers this year include allowing limited farm direct consumer sales, getting the Washington State Department of Agriculture Organic Program’s certified cannabis project implemented, as well as protecting farmers from hemp cross-pollination, disease and pests and ending public disclosure of proprietary sales and address information.”
NationalClick Here to see National Trade Organizations
Cannabinoid Industry Association
Mission: The Cannabinoid Industry Association empowers professionals in the cannabinoid industry through the following:
– Informing the industry and the public by serving as the premier expert resource on trends, technologies, legalities, limitations, developments and other issues that affect business, and demonstrating industry contributions to the economy and public welfare;
– Promoting common interests, insights and innovations that affect our industry. By nourishing a community of shared knowledge and resources to benefit everyone, CBDIA elevates awareness and expands knowledge; and
– Protecting its members and the public. Advocating for legal and regulatory environments that benefit our entire industry, the CBDIA safeguards industry development and widespread acceptance for its members.
Who is eligible? Any individual that offers support, products or services related to cannabinoids.
Members: Approximately 250.
Price range: Individual memberships are $75 a month or $685 a year. Corporate memberships are based on the number of employees a company has, ranging from $350 a month and $3,125 a year up to $625 a month and $5,625 a year.
Goals: Executive director Graciela Moreno says the organization’s goal for the near future is to “continue to empower and unify professionals in the cannabinoid industry with education, advocacy and community.”
International Cannabis Farmers Association
Mission: The International Cannabis Farmers Association’s mission is “To empower traditional [sungrown] farmers through research, education and advocacy.”
Who is eligible? Anyone can be a member.
Members: There are currently 4,096 people subscribed to ICFA’s email list, of which 155 are supporting and/or sustaining members. The ICFA is not organized as a trade group. It is a California public benefit corporation in the process of filing for federal C3 status.
“We chose ‘association’ because we are a group of farmers, scientists, activists and sungrown cannabis enthusiasts” who work together to further the organization’s mission, ICFA executive director Kristin Nevedal says.
Price range: Memberships start at $10 per month.
Goals: The ICFA’s primary goals for the remainder of 2020 are related to establishing cannabis appellations of origin and reducing barriers to entry, the cost of compliance and state taxation.
“As California moves forward with the consolidation of the three licensing authorities into one agency, the ICFA is working diligently to help ensure that regulators, the administration and legislators have the information necessary to establish a new program that addresses barriers to entry and the overwhelming cost with licensure, ongoing compliance and state taxes in a meaningful way,” Nevedal says.
The ICFA has received funding to launch a study of Humboldt County cannabis appellations and hopes to place weather stations this fall. The organization is also working on the development of a terroir-based cannabis appellation program in California, which has so far resulted in the current iteration of Senate Bill 67. The organization supports postponing California’s implementation of the appellation program for another year to allow legacy farmers time to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic and establish qualifying petitions for appellation development.
Minority Cannabis Business Association
Mission: “The Minority Cannabis Business Association’s mission is to create equal access for cannabis businesses and promote economic empowerment for communities of color by creating policy considerations, social programming and outreach initiatives to achieve equity for the communities most affected by the War on Drugs.”
Who is eligible? The MCBA has both individual and corporate memberships. Individual memberships are for anyone interested in advancing the cause of cannabis equity in their community. Corporate memberships are for business entities that would like to partner with the organization on programming or events, or would like to be stakeholders in developing state and federal policy agendas.
Members: Roughly 20 corporate members, including Cresco Labs, Parallel and Weedmaps, and 300-plus individual members.
Price range: Individual memberships are $100 to $1,000, and corporate memberships are $2,500 to $100,000.
Goals: Board president Jason Ortiz says the organization is in the process of rewriting its state model legalization bill, which will outline the MCBA’s methodology for creating equity programs at the state level.
“We will also be hosting the National Drug Policy Reform Seminar in the lead-up to the Democratic National Convention and a Latin American cannabis industry focused event called the Asamblea Internacional Cannabica,” he says. “For 2021 our primary advocacy focus will be the campaign for New York State recreational cannabis legalization. We were poised to do this in 2020 but COVID derailed our ability to mobilize on the ground.”
National Association of Cannabis Businesses
Mission: “To advance the industry by building consensus around best practices, promoting business responsibility and demonstrating to regulators what transparent and responsible regulations should look like.”
Who is eligible? The NACB serves all sectors of the industry: licensed cannabis businesses, suppliers, industry professionals, hemp businesses and allies.
Members: About 600.
Price range: The NACB offers three tiers of membership: individual membership ($1,000), company/business membership ($5,000) and advocacy membership ($10,000).
Goals: “We have two main goals the remainder of this year and next,” says operations manager Meggan Hau. “Foremost, we want to offer our expertise to state legislatures on key cannabis reform measures, especially the creation of social equity programs that confer the economic benefits of legalization on individuals who suffered the most during the War on Drugs. Secondly, we want to adapt to the outcome of the elections this November and play a leading role in crafting the best possible cannabis legalization program at the federal level. This will consume our government affairs efforts this fall and throughout 2021.”
National Cannabis Industry Association
Mission: “To promote the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and work for a favorable social, economic and legal environment for that industry in the United States. The National Cannabis Industry Association was founded on the principle of power in numbers. The thousands of businesses involved in the state-legal cannabis industry represent a tremendous economic force in this country and as the industry’s national trade association, NCIA proudly works every day to ensure our growing business sector has a seat at the table on the national stage. NCIA’s core values are advocacy, education and community.”
Who is eligible? Membership includes both direct, plant-touching companies and ancillary businesses that service the industry and spans from small and medium-sized businesses to large, multi-state operators.
Members: Representing nearly 2,000 member-businesses and tens-of-thousands of cannabis professionals, the NCIA is the largest cannabis trade organization in the United States.
Price range: Annual membership dues range from $1,000 to $5,000. Annual and monthly installment payment plans are available.
Goals: As the NCIA closes out its 10th year advocating for the interests of the cannabis industry, all but three U.S. states have some kind of cannabis law on the books, 10 have regulated the commercial production and sale of cannabis for adults, two-thirds of Americans support national legalization and Congress is closer than ever to making that a reality.
“This incredible progress hasn’t happened on its own — it’s a direct result of the forward-thinking cannabis professionals who have invested in reform efforts and joined forces with NCIA as members over the years,” says Tahir Johnson, the diversity, equity and inclusion manager for the organization. “The NCIA works every day to create a stronger, smarter and more prosperous cannabis industry by working together to end prohibition and expand opportunities within the legal cannabis industry.”
National Hemp Association
Mission: “To support the growth and development of all aspects of the industrial hemp industry.
We accomplish this by: educating and informing the public about the health, environmental and economic benefits of reviving an industry that has been prohibited for more than 70 years; building a community of individuals, businesses and organizations to facilitate the growth of the industry; and working collaboratively with industry, government officials and the scientific community to create and implement industrial hemp standards, certifications and regulations.”
Who is eligible? All are welcome to join the National Hemp Association.
Members: Currently around 1,100 paid members and an email distribution list of 15,500.
Price range: $50 to $2500.
Goals: “Our primary short-term goals are to make improvements to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s hemp program and to see the Food and Drug Administration implement reasonable regulation for CBD and other cannabinoid products,” says executive director Erica Stark. “We are also navigating the events we were scheduled to participate in being moved to virtual platforms. We are cultivating 15 acres of fiber hemp with our partners at New Holland Agriculture. And we are also looking for ways to expand the fiber and grain segments of the industry.”
SpecialtyClick Here to see Specialty Trade Organizations
InterNational Cannabis Bar Association
Mission: “The InterNational Cannabis Bar Association strives to make available to the cannabis industry the top-tier legal services that cannabis businesses deserve. We do that by offering the best legal education in cannabis, networking events to expand our attorney networks, resources for lawyers and other benefits that make the practice of law more efficient, more effective, easier to manage and less risky (from an ethics and legal standpoint).”
Who is eligible? Attorneys and law firms are eligible for membership in the bar association. Additionally, the organization has student membership tiers and chapters at about 10 law schools around the country. There is also an Allied Services Network membership tier that gets all the benefits of being members but cannot vote on the organization’s board of directors.
Members: About 700 attorneys.
Price range: Memberships start at $350 and there are discounts available. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Goals: During the month of October, the InterNational Cannabis Bar Association is hosting a month-long Cannabis Law Institute.
“In the past, we have hosted in-person at law schools around the country. This year, we are taking it online and spreading it out over the entire month,” says executive director Christopher Davis. “With over 23 CLE credits available and over 40 hours of programing spread over each Tuesday and Thursday in the month of October, we are convening the best legal minds in the cannabis industry for a deep dive into the intersection of legal practice and 1) the business of cannabis; 2) global policy and implementation; 3) state and federal regulations related to hemp and marijuana; and 4) specialty credits and intellectual property.”
National Cannabis Risk Management Association
Mission: The National Cannabis Risk Management Association’s mission is “making our members better through education, support and expertise.”
Who is eligible? Any business or individual involved directly with or ancillary to cannabis business or commerce.
Members: Chairman Rocco Petrilli says the organization has just over 2,000 members.
Price range: Annual memberships cost $250 for standard individuals, $600 for constituents (policy holder in insurance captive owned by NCRMA constituent members) and $1,200 for companies, groups or associations. There is also a $100 membership for young entrepreneurs and a $130 academic membership.
Goals: Petrilli says the organization’s primary goal is the full launch of the NCRM Academy.
“This virtual educational platform will offer seven curricula with over 30 courses focused specifically on the business risks, as defined by NCRMA membership, and will contain a path to the NCRMA Risk Manager Certification,” he says.
This is not a complete list of nonprofit trade associations operating within the cannabis industry. There are also numerous trade groups that operate at the city, county or regional level that were not included. Marijuana Venture staff also researched and attempted to contact dozens of statewide and national groups that did not respond, and there are likely more that did not turn up in searches. If you are involved with a nonprofit trade group that was not included, email Editor@MarijuanaVenture.com to be included in future publications.