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What are some associations that dispensary owners need to join

published on April 13, 2021
by James Hammer

Chances are you are planning to open up a dispensary or at least considering entering the cannabis industry. However, it can take some leg work and money to start a dispensary. You need to look through your budget and see no room for non-compulsory spending. It a bright idea to be budget-conscious when you are starting up a business and once you are established.

However, there is one area you should never consider overlooking, and that’s joining an industry association. As a dispensary business owner, connections, visibility, and voice are crucial. But these are just a couple of the reasons why it is vital to join an industry association. Local industry associations usually offer a wide assortment of opportunities that can improve business relationships and lead to better overall success.

Here are several reasons why it’s crucial to participate in your industry associations.

Insurance discounts: When insurance carriers notice that you are part of an association, they understand that you are invested in your business and are doing everything it takes to run a proper operation and maintain exposure to a minimum.

Legislative Advocacy: They support efforts to change outdated laws that hamper the cannabis industry’s potential growth. It could also provide better access to financial institutions and help with problems that are crucial to the cannabis industry.

Member discounts: You are offered tons of B2B discounts on products and services, which at times will cover the cost of a complete membership.

Social and Networking: Having your name out there is a significant part of being successful, especially during the early stages of your business. Becoming a part of an association allows you to have an opportunity to meet with other business owners all across the cannabis industry and network your brand.

Give back to the community: As a member of an association, you can share your knowledge with other business members and promote a sense of community. Plenty of associations also donate to charity events and give back to the local community.

If your state has more than one cannabis business association, find the best one that suits your needs and join it. Trade associations tend to be the most valuable for any business that wishes to protect its livelihood and collaborate with colleagues.

Not only are these associations an excellent way for you to learn the business and meet others in your field, but they often have group buying power, local legislative power and can even offer up an impressive insurance discount.

Here are some associations that dispensary owners need to join.


American Trade Association for Cannabis & Hemp

The American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (ATACH) is a trade organization registered in Washington, DC. It was founded to promote the expansion, protection, and preservation of businesses dealing in the legal trade of industrial, medical, and recreational cannabis and hemp-based products.

The American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp is an organization for hemp and marijuana industry leaders and well-known and established businesses who are entering the industry to promote marketplace expansion, create regulation and adopt industry standards.

ATACH has made it their mission to pave the way for the next phase in marketplace expansion by providing a connection from the cannabis industry into the mainstream, name brand, business that will be partners in advancing the industry and eliminating prohibition.  The association is taking a leading role in industry representation and facilitating the next stage of the marketplace.


Cannabis Trade Federation

The cannabis Trade Federation (CTF) is a coalition of cannabis-related businesses that represent every aspect of the industry, such as dispensaries, distributors, cultivators, wholesalers, and ancillary businesses. The CTF is concentrated on developing a professional, credible, and unified organization for the industry.

Along with its member businesses, the CTF plans to generate a dynamic network of associations and nonprofits that share a vision of building sensible cannabis policy, promoting social responsibility, and paving the future for professionalization. That is all done in an attempt to deal with the regulated and increasingly organized cannabis industry.

The legal cannabis industry has managed to employ over 100,000 Americans, with plenty of them in high-tech agriculture jobs, along with manufacturing, distribution, and retail. Around two-thirds of Americans now live in states where some type of cannabis is legal. Studies have revealed that over 70% of Americans are in complete support of allowing the states to create their own cannabis policy and the federal government not interfering when they do.

This association’s primary federal legislation focus is to generate support to pass the STATE ACT, which intends to amend the Controlled Substances Act to exempt state-licensed and regulated cannabis businesses from federal administration in conflict with state law.



National Cannabis Industry Association

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NICA) was established on the principle of empowerment through numbers. The thousands of American businesses involved in the state and the legality of the cannabis industry represent an enormous economic powerhouse in the United States. As the cannabis industry national trade association, NCAI is working tirelessly to make sure our growing business sector is represented in a professional and coordinated manner on the national level.


Americans for Safe Access

American for Safe Access (ASA) and Americans for Safe Access Foundation (ASAF) share a similar mission of making sure safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic uses and research. ASA is working alongside a grassroots base made up of 50,000 members to impact change using public education and direct advocacy on a local, state, and federal level.

ASAF is training and educating its advocates, patients, health care professionals, and any other stakeholder. ASAF is also providing direct legal support and utilizes impact litigation to defend and expand patient’s rights.


Marijuana Industry Group

The Marijuana industry group (MIG) was first founded in 2010 by cannabis owners and supporters who wished to assist with the development of Colorado’s earliest medical marijuana regulatory foundation. MIG is considered one of the oldest and sizable trade associations for licensed cannabis businesses.

Made up of approximately 400 licensed businesses, MIG has accumulated charismatic leadership at the board and staff level. They have contracts with a significant number of consultants that provide leadership in state and local lobbying, government affairs, and strategic communications.

The organization team not only has some deep relationships with the governor’s office and regulatory envy, but they also work on a local level in Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, and Pueblo, to name a few places. And that list is still growing to this day. This association represents the interests and advocates on behalf of the quickly growing needs of the regulated cannabis industry in the state of Colorado. MIG has a reputation for working with both state and local regulators and policymakers to resolve issues facing the cannabis industry.


Minority Cannabis Business Association

The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) was one of the first 501(c)(6) not-for-profit business associations created specifically for the progression of the cannabis industry by increasing diversity. The mission of this organization is to offer access and economic empowerment for cannabis businesses. That also extends to their patients and the local community that is affected by the war on drugs.


Cannabis Certification Council

The Cannabis Certification Council (CCC) has dedicated itself to developing and implementing strict organic standards for the production of legal cannabis, promoting quality industry professionals, and educating the public.

As a leading association for sustainable agriculture, CCC has spent years working closely with growers to advance social responsibility and environmentally sound business and cultivation practices. What is going into the plants and the consumer products, no matter how far removed from the plant, requires the same thoughtfulness and careful consideration of what goes into our food and water.

CCC’s work is closely reflected by its mission and values to provide farmers with modern sustainable solutions to grow consciously. With more and more states legalizing recreational usage of marijuana, and a good number of states allowing medical cannabis, the time has come for a credible organization to provide professional growers with the right tool they need to produce a high-quality, organic crop worthy of being praised. These high-quality products will be the standards that label their products as such.

The organization is taking lessons from the mistakes created by industrial agriculture and growing something they can be proud of. The CCC is a non-profit organization, and every donation is tax-deductible.



NORML is a country-wide organization dedicated to altering the image of cannabis. They want to assist with the legalization of cannabis for adults everywhere and make sure they have access to marijuana safely and affordably.

Founded during the 1970s, NORML offers a voice for the interest of marijuana users. They are a non-profit organization working to halt the criminalization of marijuana smokers. The organization is working on the state and federal level to support the interest of individuals who want to smoke weed responsibility.



Every single one of these associations is excellent for any budding dispensary owner. Check them out and see which of them managed to suit your needs the best.  Joining these associations will offer you opportunities you were previously unaware of or lacking. It will also open doors that would usually be difficult for new dispensary owners.