National Cannabis Industry Association
The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is an American non-profit organization based in the District of Columbia, with an additional office in Denver, Colorado. NCIA is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization representing state-sanctioned cannabis-related businesses at the federal level. Its mission is "to promote the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and work for a favorable social, economic and legal environment for that industry in the United States." The organization was founded in late 2010 and has been described as the "first national trade group for the cannabis industry" in the United States.
As the cannabis industry has grown and matured dramatically in recent years, NCIA has grown with it. In January 2013, NCIA had 118 member businesses. In January 2014, NCIA had "nearly 400" member businesses. As of November 2014, NCIA had nearly 800 member businesses.
The NCIA has been negatively compared to the lobbying arms of the alcohol and tobacco industries, with activists worried that it could harm legalization efforts.
The NCIA promotes a multitude of virtues it sees in the cannabis plant and its trade, including how the plant may help heal the sick, how legalization adds much-needed tax dollars to government coffers on the local, state, and national levels, and how these and other benefits radiate out into communities.
The NCIA lobbies Congress to tax cannabis fairly and to allow cannabis businesses easier access to the banking industry.
NCIA also hosts educational and training events for members and others interested in learning about the cannabis industry. In June 2014, NCIA hosted the first national Cannabis Business Summit, a two-day event featuring more than 1,000 attendees and numerous discussions of regulations, banking, product lines, insurance, energy efficiency, human resources and other issues related to the burgeoning marijuana industry. In August, NCIA launched the first-ever food safety training program designed for cannabis-infused edibles producers, as well as a training designed to teach responsible practices for cannabis retailers.
As of November 2014, the National Cannabis Industry Association has nearly 800 member businesses.
In a Huffington Post interview, Mark Kleiman, the "Pot Czar" of Washington state, said he was concerned that the NCIA would favor profits over public health. He also said that it could become a predatory body like the lobbying arms of the tobacco and alcohol industries. Kleiman said: "The fact that the National Cannabis Industry Association has hired itself a K Street suit [lobbyist] is not a good sign."