New Trade Association Launches for Legal Marijuana Industry

Nov 23, 2010

Aaron Smith, National Cannabis Industry Association, NCIA

In the latest sign of the growing legitimacy and political clout of America’s emerging marijuana industry, medical marijuana business leaders and others have announced the creation of the National Cannabis Industry Association, an organization founded with the express purpose of improving business conditions for the burgeoning marijuana industry. From today’s New York Times:

Based in Washington, the group, the National Cannabis Industry Association, will focus primarily on lobbying, but will also help medical marijuana businesses navigate a patchwork of laws that differ depending on location.

“This is an industry that is emerging — from the dispensaries to the ancillary businesses that are now coming out of the shadows,” said Aaron Smith, a medical marijuana advocate in Phoenix and the group’s executive director. “While there is good work being done, there isn’t anyone out there representing the industry’s interests directly.”

The group’s board members, which include some of the more prominent names in the medical marijuana industry, say the need for a national association has become increasingly apparent with the explosion of the legal marijuana business. Such businesses include dispensaries, growing facilities and equipment suppliers.

According to a press release the group sent out this morning, "In addition to working to repeal the federal prohibition of marijuana, NCIA is already focusing on more immediate policy goals for the industry such as ensuring that the nation’s revenue and banking policies are not out of step with state laws allowing medical cannabis sales."

Readers may remember Aaron Smith from his past work as MPP’s California state policy director, where he helped advance marijuana law reform legislation in the California state legislature by working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle (and was also a frequent contributor to this blog!). We wish him all the best in his new role at NCIA.

You can learn more about the group at