by Rachel Kurtz, Outreach Manager
NCIA had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the recent 5th Annual Washington State Cannabis Summit, presented by The Cannabis Alliance, Washington state’s leading trade association for the cannabis industry and a member of NCIA’s Allied Associations Program. This conference is always extremely well done, with high caliber speakers on informative panels covering topics such as cannabis economy and markets, agronomy, and therapeutic values. Plenty of time left for Q&A allowed further engagement with the audience, sparking deeper conversations throughout the day.
NCIA’s Government Relations manager Michelle Rutter spoke on a policy panel about what’s happening around cannabis at the federal level in the other Washington, D.C. The panel was a holistic view of policy from around the country, including panelists Casey Houlihan, Executive Director of the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association; Cat Packer, the first Executive Director of the Department of Cannabis Regulation for the City of Los Angeles; and Rick Garza, Director of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB).
The attendees were very interested in the social equity work happening around the country, and we learned that the WSLCB is making efforts in that area. It was also heartening to see Rick Garza taking notes when Cat Packer spoke about ways that California is trying to help the industry reach its customers by allowing consumption events without compromising safety or the integrity of the traceability program.
The highlight of the event came early in the day when Governor Jay Inslee, who had just three days prior announced his candidacy for President, told the room he planned to pardon thousands of people convicted of small cannabis possession charges. This would be done by creating an expedited process where people could apply for and receive a pardon in a simple fashion without needing a lawyer. It is expected to affect around 3500 people.