VIDEO: The Benefits Of Legalization

In this third installment of NCIA’s animated educational video series, we explore the benefits of legalizing cannabis nationwide and beyond. Learn how ending federal prohibition can improve public safety and add economic opportunities to our communities, and how you can help.

Join NCIA today help us push cannabis reform past the tipping point!

VIDEO: The Benefits of Legalizing Cannabis

In this third installment of NCIA’s animated educational video series, we explore the benefits of legalizing cannabis nationwide and beyond. Learn how ending federal prohibition can improve public safety and add economic opportunities to our communities, and how you can help.

Watch our other two animated videos to learn more about the cannabis industry banking crisis and the burdens of Section 280E of the IRS Tax Code.

Committee Blog: “Cannabis Reform” Stops Short

by Lisa Jordan, VP of Marketing, Canna Advisors
NCIA’s Marketing and Advertising Committee, Social Justice Subcommittee

As support for legalization continues to climb and speculation of “cannabis reform” at the federal level continues to swirl, one critical opportunity stands to be lost in the fray of voices and messages: Social Justice.

Cannabis reform, alone, stops short. The deeper work is addressing convictions, providing opportunities, and reinvesting in poor and minority communities that have been battered for decades by the “war on drugs.”

With focused attention, we can shape policies and legislation that expunge records, provide employment opportunities, and further offset the disproportionate effects on people and communities of color. Expungement of misdemeanor charges, alone, can mean the difference in getting a job or housing for residents of poor and minority communities across the country.

The objective of the Social Justice Subcommittee of NCIA’s Marketing and Advertising Committee is to make sure this opportunity maintains visibility and action and that cannabis reform doesn’t stop short.


This level of policy change starts at the polls.

The November 6 elections are pivotal to voting in candidates who are not only in favor of cannabis reform, overall, but will also push forward with social justice initiatives.

3 Actions for Everyone

In these final days before the election, each person can take a few, mindful actions to make sure that social justice doesn’t get lost:

1. Register to Vote:

Some states allow voter registration until election day. Check your state’s deadlines here:

If you missed your state’s deadline for this year, go ahead and register now so you’ll be ready next time.

2. Know Your Candidates

Do your research to know where your state and federal level candidates stand on cannabis reform, overall, and on social justice issues.

NCIA put together these two great resources: Key Races to Watch and Congressional Scorecard. And, the Cannabis Voter Project also has a handy resource.

3. V-O-T-E, and Make Sure Your Friends and Family Vote

Voter turnout in the 2016 was at a 20-year low, with only 55% of eligible voters casting ballots. Cast your vote, and remind others to do the same.

If you’re lucky enough to live in a state with mailed ballots, get yours in early.

If you vote at your local polling location, add an appointment to your calendar – and don’t miss it!

Offer rides or carpool with your friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

Check out free rides to the polls from Lyft.

It’s up to us to make sure this opportunity maintains visibility and action and that cannabis reform doesn’t stop short.


Lisa Jordan leads the brand development and marketing strategy for Canna Advisors and provides expert guidance in these areas to clients. With proven success in emerging industries, Lisa’s work has won numerous awards including a Bronze Lion at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, national awards for predictive analytics, and local ADDYs. Lisa has spoken at cannabis industry conferences and was selected to serve on the NCIA’s Marketing and Advertising Committee and serves as Chair of the Social Justice Subcommittee.

Over time, Lisa hopes to make cannabis brands as mainstream and iconic as familiar, big brands. In her downtime, you will find Lisa on a hiking trail with her husband and four big mutts or finding any excuse to spend time at Red Rocks.


New Bill: The Clean Slate Act

In the 115th Congress, there are more cannabis reform bills than ever before — dozens, as a matter of fact! Let’s take a closer look at one of the newest reform bills that was just introduced last week.

Bill: The Clean Slate Act

Introduced by: Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE)

Original Cosponsors: Reps. Dwight Evans (D-PA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Danny Davis (D-IL), Lacy Clay (D-MO), David Scott (D-GA), Al Green (D-TX), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Eddie Bernice Jackson (D-TX), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Yvette Clark (D-NY), Anthony Brown (D-MD), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Andre Carson (D-IN), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Donald Payne Jr (D-NJ)

What It Does: This bill gives an order to the court to be carried out at the time of sentencing. At that time, the court will enter an order that each criminal record that either relates to Section 404 of the Controlled Substances Act or any Federal, non-violent offense involving marijuana shall be sealed automatically one year after the individual fulfills their sentence. That means that exactly one year after someone has “done their time” or fulfilled the expectations laid out in their sentencing, that their record is automatically expunged of the crime. According to the ACLU, 52% of all drug arrests are for marijuana. Not only that, but of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88% were for simply having marijuana. Combine that with the fact that despite roughly equal usage rates, African-Americans are 3.73 times more likely than their white counterparts to be arrested for marijuana and you have a recipe for disaster. For all of those reasons, the Clean Slate Act is long overdue and should be enacted.

What To Expect: Now that the bill has been introduced, NCIA will continue to gather cosponsors for the legislation, as well as advocate for a hearing. With the House of Representatives currently away for August recess and midterm elections in November (register to vote here), timing will be of the essence.


The Push for Equity in the Cannabis Industry

by NCIA Editorial Staff

It’s no secret that the cannabis industry still has much work to do in terms of building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce. But what barriers stand in the way, and how can we overcome them?

According to the ACLU, cannabis use is roughly equal among African-Americans and whites, yet African-Americans are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for possession of the substance. Higher arrest and incarceration rates for these communities are not reflective of increased prevalence of drug use, but rather of law enforcement’s disparate focus on urban areas, lower income communities, and communities of color.

People of color are unequivocally and disproportionately affected by the prohibition of cannabis — so, what happens when a state decides to end prohibition?

Many states that have chosen to tax and regulate cannabis have included provisions in those laws that prohibit individuals with any prior convictions from working in a licensed cannabis company. Not only that, according to the Minority Cannabis Business Association, “heavy regulation, the high cost of entry, and information gaps hinder minorities from entering the industry as owners, employees, and patients & consumers”.

Not all states have taken that route, however. Massachusetts state law requires the Cannabis Control Commission to promote full participation in the industry by people disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement. The goals of Massachusetts’ social equity program include reducing barriers to entry to the adult-use cannabis industry and providing technical services and mentoring to individuals facing barriers.

Action is also being taken at the local level. In January, the District Attorney’s office in San Francisco announced that they would be retroactively applying Proposition 64, which legalized the possession and recreational use of cannabis for adults ages 21 years or older, to misdemeanor and felony convictions dating back to 1975.

The important message of social equity, diversity, and inclusion in the cannabis industry has also reached the halls of Congress. A year ago, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced S. 1689: The Marijuana Justice Act, which was the first piece of federal legislation to ever order federal courts to expunge cannabis convictions and actually punish states that have racially disproportionate arrest rates or disproportionate incarceration rates for marijuana offenses.

Just last week, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, which creates a dedicated funding stream for women and minority-owned cannabis businesses that will be funded by revenue generated by the industry and directly linked to the industry’s growth. Not only that, the bill provides $100 million in grant funding to encourage state and local governments to develop, enhance or expand expungement or sealing programs for individuals convicted of marijuana possession.

In addition to these pieces of legislation, there have also been resolutions filed that address these disparities. In June, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the Realizing Equitable & Sustainable Participation in Emerging Cannabis Trades (RESPECT) Resolution, which encourages equity in the cannabis industry. The resolution urges state and local leaders to implement a series of practices when granting licenses for legal cannabis businesses to improve access for communities of color to the nascent industry, such as minimal application and license fees, no caps on the number of licenses, increased local control of the licensing process, and removing broad felony and cannabis convictions as automatic disqualifiers for participation. NCIA was proud to endorse this resolution and looks forward to advocating for its passage.

There’s still an incredibly long way to go before we have a cannabis industry that’s as diverse and rich as the cannabis community as a whole. Here at NCIA, we know the task of representing the legal and legitimate cannabis industry is more than just advocating for the biggest or richest companies — we’re also here to advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in this industry that we are all building together.


Member Spotlight: EstroHaze

This month, we reached out to Sirita Wright, a co-founder of the multimedia company EstroHaze. Sirita, along with her co-founders Kali Wilder, and Safon Floyd, focus their company’s mission on highlighting the businesses and lifestyles of multicultural women in the cannabis industry.

Cannabis Industry Sector:

NCIA Member Since:
January 2018

Tell us about your background and why you launched your company?

Storytelling is the heart of what we do. We found a void in mainstream media’s coverage of minorities building brands within the industry and we decided to start EstroHaze for the purposes of uplifiting those voices. Having worked together for years at another media company, we saw a great opportunity to build a bridge for others looking for opportunities in the cannabis industry.

What unique value does your company offer to the cannabis industry?

Photo by Rich February

Our value lies in our ability to represent and truly connect with our community via ‘edutainment’. From our original video series EstroHaze Escapades, where we explore the inner workings of the legal cannabis industry in states like Colorado and take in cannabis experiences like ganja yoga; to our podcast where we talk startup life and brand-building, as well as interviews with cannabis thoughtleaders and influencers. If that isn’t enough, head to our website where we feature dynamic profiles, blueprints for building your own cannabusiness, cannabis recipes, information on lobbying and more! Bottom line, EstroHaze provides a connection to cannabis and culture that resonates with the people.

Cannabis companies have a unique responsibility to shape this growing industry to be socially responsible and advocate for it to be treated fairly. How does your company help work toward that goal for the greater good of the cannabis industry?

This is the reason why we started EstroHaze – to be a space that amplifies voices that are shaping this industry, voices that, far too often, have been ignored. With ever-expanding cultural influence and increasing buying power it’s reckless to ignore one of the fastest-growing, most educated, and entrepreneurial demographics in the world. In telling stories – the good, bad and ugly of the cannabis industry – we ensure that people are aware of bias and held accountable. The cannabis industry is bigger than any of us and has the power to save lives and improve well-being. Recognizing this, EstroHaze serves a higher purpose and we create content and partner with brands that are intentional about that higher purpose.

What kind of challenges do you face in the industry and what solutions would you like to see?

The challenges we face are typical of any startup, to be honest. Add being women and a woman of color led brand and those issues just compound! Access to capital, government support as a small business, social stigma towards the use of cannabis, etc. We are a startup like any other with opportunity to grow to unlimited heights and that takes capital. The solution is simple–-show us the money and access to opportunities to produce content on a larger scale. For instance, Netflix, VICE, and HBO are just a few networks that have cannabis themed content that is not led or hosted by women of color, specifically black women. Enough already! EstroHaze as content creators can help with that.

Why did you join NCIA? What’s the best part about being a member?

Our NCIA membership was actually gifted to us by a member who was impressed with us and our Demo Day pitch at Canopy Boulder. This membership has given us an opportunity to build more bridges with other like-minded brands, get industry data that is not available to the public, which is priceless, and access to informative conferences and trade-shows.

Learn more about EstroHaze

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