A new development is emerging in the US cannabis sector as regulators from 19 states have formed an independent association to facilitate the implementation of cannabis policy changes.
According to a press release made on Thursday, the regulators have formed the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA) to coordinate legalization implementation. While the association won’t actively participate in the legalization process, it aims to inform regulatory best practices.
Drawing from their experience
According to the regulators, they will use their experience in coordinating marijuana programs to help jurisdictions that are working to establish fresh cannabis markets. They noted that there’s no established organization to formally coordinate the conversations between regulators and upcoming markets so far.
“The Cannabis Regulators Association will provide a much-needed forum for regulators to engage with each other to identify and develop best practices, create model policies that safeguard public health and safety, and promote regulatory certainty for industry participants,” said Norman Birenbaum, CANNRA’s inaugural president.
This development comes at the right time when various jurisdictions are on the verge of establishing new cannabis markets. On the just-concluded US election, five more states passed ballot measures to legalize marijuana for either medical or recreational use.
Additionally, CANNRA emphasized that it will not advocate for or against cannabis reform. Instead, the association will provide “unbiased information to help make informed decisions when considering whether or how to legalize or expand regulated cannabis.”
Regulated framework and market for cannabis
Birenbaum is currently the director of cannabis programs for New York. Regarding this development, he added the association “will also work to ensure federal benefit from the vast experiences of states across the nation to ensure any changes to federal law adequately address states’ needs and priorities.”
The model policies of CANNRA will cover areas like “packaging, labeling, advertising, testing, social equity, licensing, seed to scale tracking, enforcement, inspections, pesticide use, tax structures, product approval, tax collection, patient qualification and enrollment, product processing and manufacturing, industrial hemp and CBD products, banking, and payment processing” according to the association.
Currently, CANNRA draws its members from 19 states, including Colorado, Hawaii, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maryland, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Dakota, Illinois, and Rhode Island.
More states are expected to join the association soon. Jim Burack is a director and founding member of the Marijuana Enforcement Division in Colorado. Regarding this development, he said:
CANNRA provides a forum for Colorado to continue to share our pioneering experience creating an effective and credible regulated framework and a market for cannabis. Colorado also benefits from learning about cannabis policy work in other states across the country.
Other leaders and officials who applauded the move included Erik Gundersen from Maine, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, and Danielle Perry, who is Illinois’ cannabis regulation and oversight officer.