Here’s the introduction to the MJ biz piece
A rivalry has emerged between the two largest trade associations in the cannabis industry.
On one side, the legacy group, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), counts more than 1,000 members since its 2010 founding.
The NCIA calls itself the “oldest” and “most inclusive” cannabis trade association. Its members include small and medium-sized businesses.
“We’re able to tell Congress that we represent tens of thousands of employees from across the country, not just the top 50 businesses that make up groups like USCC, or these others that come and go and rebrand,” said Aaron Smith, the NCIA’s executive director.
On the other side, the U.S. Cannabis Council (USCC) has a roster of around 50 members, including some of the biggest marijuana multistate operators in the country as well as large Canadian producers.
Launched in 2021, the USCC says it “combines the collective resources of many of the largest cannabis companies, prominent advocacy organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals.”
Both groups are focused on federal marijuana reform, targeting the same familiar sticking points that have existed for years: access to banking for marijuana companies as well as reforming Section 280E of the federal tax code, which prevents cannabis companies from getting the same tax breaks and exemptions as mainstream businesses.
But a comparison of their membership, MJBizDaily’s Bart Schaneman writes, appears to reflect the growing stratification of the nationwide cannabis industry.
There’s a “massive galvanization” among those big companies because they share the same self-interests in the event of federal legalization, Nic Easley, the CEO of Colorado-based 3C Cannabis Consulting, told Bart.
“USCC is catering a lot more to the MSOs that have that mentality of, once free trade opens up, where’s mass production going to be?” he added.
“NCIA has a lot of the same goals but not based on any larger interests.”