Three cannabis trade associations in Oregon came together to create the overarching organization called the Cannabis Industry Alliance of Oregon (CIA). They will be represented by Leading Edge Public Affairs.
The new entity was formed by the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association (ORCA), the Oregon Industry Progress Association (OIPA), and FARMS, according to a press release, with the goal of presenting a more unified industry front. This will streamline efforts to effect policy change and make them a stronger, more effective voice for the industry.
The CIA, Not The Feds
Despite the maybe confusing acronym, the CIA is a new movement in a unified cannabis industry in Oregon and not the government agency responsible for the war on drugs (we’re looking at you, Nixon).
This newly formed entity is governed by a nine-member board composed of representatives from each organization. They possess relevant license types and can operate at all levels of the cannabis supply chain. This means that the merger will push these companies into the front and center of the legalized cannabis industry.
“We understand the need, as a community, to work together and speak with a unified voice as we go into the 2023 legislative session and beyond,” Casey Houlihan, the executive director of the ORCA, says.
Amanda Metzler, founder and president of FARMS, adds: “Formally aligning to forward our policy goals is crucial to becoming the strongest voice for our constituency. Coming together under the umbrella of the Alliance just makes sense.”
“We believe what is good for Oregon – strengthening the overall economy and improving economic futures for communities most harmed by cannabis criminalization – is within reach,” says Jeannette Ward Horton of NuProject. “By centering community power and values, the CIA can place Oregon’s cannabis industry as a global model of growth, sustainability, and diverse and equitable outcomes.”
An alliance like this could not have existed ten years ago. Attitudes towards cannabis are changing across the country, and alliances like these present a united industry front to lawmakers so that industry interests can be supported by policy.
Like other interest groups, the CIA will push for policies that support all levels of the cannabis supply chain, including consumers.
How Oregon Won The War On Drugs (And How This CIA Can Help)
Currently, cannabis is fully-legalized in Oregon, and other drugs are decriminalized, meaning possession and usage will not result in jail or prison time.
Discriminatory criminal justice policies and practices at all stages have unjustifiably disadvantaged Black and Latinx people. Seemingly “race-neutral laws” like laws against drugs, have actually resulted in Black and Latinx people being stopped by police, detained, and charged with more serious offenses than their White Oregonian counterparts. African-Americans make up only 2% of Oregon’s general population, but 9% of jailed populations. They are also 2.5x more likely to be arrested on drug charges than White Oregonians.
Decriminalizing drugs and fully legalizing cannabis could potentially reduce sentencing rates and lengths.
The CIA is currently endeavoring to make the cannabis industry more friendly to participants at all levels of the supply chain by educating policymakers at all levels of government in order to effect change from the top-down.
By working together, these cannabis companies are showing lawmakers that there is an industry consensus: and that is that change is coming.
This merger will streamline the efforts of the three trade groups to influence policy in Oregon. The Cannabis Industry Alliance of Oregon is seeking to present a unified industry front to lawmakers both in-state and nationwide. We hope that together, these industry leaders will pave the way for cannabis interests to be regarded and included in policy decisions.
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