Marijuana Business Magazine April 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine | April 2020 68 be possible solely with staff. It provides an opportunity for competitors who usually are fighting “for the same spot on the shelf,” Berryessa said, to cooper- ate on issues related to Metrc, the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system, for exam- ple, or to figure out compliant ways to transport samples to dispensaries. Associations also provide a centralized repository of key industry information, such as policy developments and changes to regulations. A designated individual gathers the information on a regular basis and shares it with members. “Because the cannabis industry is so hyper-regulated, and it’s done on a state-by-state basis so differently, it’s really hard to keep up to date on some of the rule changes that are being talked about. A well-resourced trade group … with somebody that’s keeping an eye on that and sending good updates for their members, is another really helpful aspect … rather than every single owner monitoring that independently,” Berryessa said. CHOOSING THE RIGHT GROUP Regardless of how effective and comprehensive an association’s benefits might be, selecting an association to best meet your individual business needs requires due diligence. Cannabis companies, for example, should make sure the association is accurately representing its legal status and is aligned with their legislative priorities and objectives. “There are a lot of groups that present themselves in how they brand and market and communicate as being not-for-profit, when in fact they are for-profit entities,” said Ben Gelt, board chair and co-founder of the Cannabis Certification Council. “There’s a lot of that. There are still other groups that have an entity that is a nonprofit, but they are also oper- ating for-profit entities that are either identically or similarly branded,” he added. “So they leverage their nonprofit traction into for-profit consulting and other business.” Gelt noted that he’s unaware of any trade associations that are directly misrepresenting their status and points instead to a handful of third-party industry affiliates he said are doing so. However, he said, “I think groups like that still negatively impact the credibility of all true nonprofits and trades, as they muddy the waters.” Subcommittees offer members the opportunity to network with professionals doing the same job at other companies. Courtesy Photo Tools of the Trade