The cannabis industry is directly tied to cannabis politics. Anyone who thinks otherwise isn't in the industry. Local politics, state politics, and national politics decide the parameters in which the cannabis industry is allowed to operate. Those parameters are constantly changing, and at a pace that is often difficult to keep up with. That's one of the reasons why I always point people to the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). NCIA is the best organization when it comes to educating members (and the public) about what is going on in the cannabis industry, and advocating for the emerging cannabis industry.
I live in Oregon, where things are very much in flux. The medical marijuana industry started getting regulated a couple of years ago, and now the State of Oregon is in the process of bringing the recreational marijuana industry online. It's a very exciting, historic time, but it's also a scary and confusing time for many. Add to that what is going on at the federal level, and it's enough to make a person's head spin. There's a lot going on, and a lot to learn, which is why I attended the last NCIA Quarterly Cannabis Caucus in Portland, Oregon.
The event is part of an ongoing series of events put on by NCIA in various 'active' geographical areas around the United States. NCIA felt that it was good to get people together in a room on a seasonal basis, and talk about what members should know and look out for, as well as hear from members as to what needs and concerns they have from a regional standpoint. I have to say, the event was FANTASTIC. There were dozens of members in attendance, with some very quality speakers that covered a range of topics. I met a lot of people that I had wanted to meet for a long time, and made some new friends.
The event started with a networking session, which provided time to talk to NCIA members about what projects they have going on. It's always exciting to talk to someone about something that they have poured their souls into, and that they enjoy. People that are pursuing their dream in the cannabis industry are taking a risk, but they are also participating in something that only comes around once. Unless prohibition comes back, which I sure as hell hope it never does, then there will never be another 'birth of the regulated Oregon marijuana industry.' History books generations from now will be looking back on this time in history, and it gives me goosebumps to meet and talk to people that will no doubt someday be in those history book chapters.
After the networking session, it was time for the speakers. NCIA did an amazing job of putting together speakers which included federal updates and an Oregon update, which involved a lot of information. I can't say the same about every region's marijuana industry and political scene, but Oregon's is in a very complicated phase. The information provided at the Oregon Quarterly Cannabis Caucus was very useful, and very timely. That's why I think the quarterly format is so effective. So much has changed in Oregon in the last three months. Doing the quarterly 'check-in' will help industry members stay up to date and let them know when/where action is needed.
Once the presenters wrapped up, there was an opportunity to hear from prospective NCIA Board candidates. Considering how much advocacy work NCIA does at all levels of government, especially the federal level, leadership positions with NCIA are important for everyone in the entire cannabis industry. Find out more about the process, and how to nominate a candidate, at this link here. Following the short candidate presentations, another networking session commenced.
My first NCIA Oregon Quarterly Cannabis Caucus was a lot of fun, I learned a lot, and I did a lot of networking. Former NBA All Star Cliff Robinson and fellow members of Uncle Spliffy were in attendance. If that doesn't say how cool the event was, I don't really know what else to say! I'm already looking forward to attending the next Oregon Quarterly Cannabis Caucus. There are similar events occurring in Chicago and New York (April 19), Denver and Phoenix (April 21), Newport Beach and (CA) and Las Vegas (April 26), and San Francisco and Seattle (April 28). There's a lot going on in all of those areas, and if you are serious about your cannabis industry aspirations, I strongly suggest you check one of them out. The Quarterly Cannabis Caucus events are free to NCIA members, and you can register at this link here.
NCIA also has their national event coming up June 20-22 in Oakland. It's the most important cannabis industry event of the year in my opinion, and I'm going to do every thing I can to get there! You can get tickets to that event at this link here. The only thing that I think would have improved my experience at the NCIA Oregon Quarterly Cannabis Caucus was if I saw the smiling faces of Bethany, Aaron, and the Gilbert freedom fighting power couple. They are all doing big things via NCIA, have done a lot to advocate for cannabis reform, and they do a good job of putting up with my sass. I finally got to meet Taylor West, which was very cool! I hope to see all of their smiling faces in June, along with yours if you are reading this!