Editors Note: The Northeast Cannabis Business Conference is an advertiser on GMR.
One of the largest problems facing the cannabis industry is the illicit market. Next week at the NCIA Northeast Cannabis Business Conference, the industry association plans to tackle the issue head-on.
The illicit market has steered away important tax revenues and endangered consumers through unregulated products like vape pens. Most of the deaths in the vape crisis were attributed to illicit market vape pens that were adding fillers to the cartridges. Had these pens been sold by reputable dealers this wouldn’t have been allowed.
Low cannabis prices and high taxes have also been blamed for cannabis producers that take the chance at selling in the illicit market. Many of these companies say they can’t make a profit when the taxation is reaching levels of 50%. Plus, the costs to operate remain the same while the prices for the product have been falling. Some in the industry are sympathetic, while others chafe at being financially penalized for following the rules.
Counterfeit products have also flooded the market making it difficult for consumers to discern what is real and what isn’t. This has created an opportunity for software companies to develop quality codes for products, but once again adds more to the cost of doing business.
Covering this important topic is NCIA’s Director of Public Policy Andrew Kline. Kline has a background in public policy, law enforcement, and coalition creation/management. Prior to joining the NACB, Kline served as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor for Intellectual Property Enforcement in the Executive Office of the President [Obama] where he led public-private partnership and public policy efforts to address online trademark theft, copyright infringement, consumer safety, national security, and the protection of domestic business interests globally.
He is joined by Britte McBride who is a Commissioner of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commissioner and former Police Commissioner of the Boston Police Department from 2006 through 2013 Edward Davis. Also on the panel is Ean Seeb is the Special Advisor on Cannabis to Governor Jared Polis. He previously co-owned one of Colorado’s oldest and most successful medical cannabis businesses, Denver Relief, which was sold to Willie Nelson’s team in 2016.
The illicit cannabis market continues to divert precious law enforcement resources away from other law enforcement priorities. It harms the profitability of state-legal cannabis businesses and it diverts anticipated tax revenue from cash strapped states and municipalities.
Although the actual summit will be closed to the public, leaders from the Illicit Market Summit will present a report recapping and highlighting a path forward that encompasses best practices for sharing information through a public-private partnership and alternatives to arrest and incarceration.