Come Together: The Value of Trade Associations

The biggest problem facing cannabis today is unquestionably the fact that it is federally classified as a Schedule 1 drug.

Many other problems–banking, anonymity, and marketing, to list a few–would be solved with the legalization and normalization of the plant.

So how can someone contribute to helping this problem? The most readily available solution right now is to join a trade association.

But why? SD6 hosted President John Laub and Vice President Jim Lamb of the Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association to talk about the industry, the regulatory state in Nevada, and what they are doing as an organization to legalize.

So why join a trade organization? How does it help?

John said, “When an organization is speaking for the industry versus an owner, it does not look self serving. Organizations usually have the leadership that works with governmental agencies better and are better spokespeople. Organizations have to be clear on their mission, vision and goals to be effective.”

Jim added, “It’s also a point of being out in the community talking to other community leaders.”

Generally in a trade organization, the membership fees go towards lobbying, so business owners can directly be a part of helping change legislation by finding strength in numbers.

John and Jim were also both in favor of legalizing recreational, partly because it “has really opened it up for medical,” John said. “[Patients]¬†felt that once it was recreational, the stigma was removed. Some of the executives at Shango talked about patients that are using it for cancer but would not get their medical marijuana cards because they did not want to be in the system.”

Added Jim, “Most of the people in the industry here I know got in because they believed in the benefits of medical marijuana.”

And next on their legislative agenda? Consumption lounges.

Consumption lounges can be a safe, secure and legal place to consume for tourists. Consumption lounges will get people out of cars, back alleys and parking garages. It will put them into a location that will have security and will make sure that there is no illegal drug dealing occurring,” John said.

And Jim said that they “will also provide a legal place where educational workshops can be held for patients and prospective patients to learn about new products, try new strains and even learn how to cook with infused oils. It can also provide a place for vendors, growers, and edible companies to introduce their products to industry representatives and patient/consumer groups.”

In addition, Nevada has some of the best testing regulations, according to Jim.

He’s most proud of “without a doubt, the regulations on laboratory testing of marijuana at all levels. Nevada testing should be the standard for the safety of patients, consumers and the industry. Also so patients know the makeup of strains so they can find the best one for their illness.

The biggest lesson they’ve learned in the industry? “It might be the same lesson that everybody in the industry has learned,” John said.

“It’s not as easy as it looks or fast. You have to have passion and persistence to be successful. As with any business or organization, you have to come to the value-proposition, how are you creating value for your members.”