Two of Oregon’s cannabis industry associations – the Oregon Cannabis Association and the Cannabis Industry Alliance of Oregon – voted unanimously to merge, effective immediately.
“This merger makes a clear statement that the industry can, must, and will stand as one,” Mike Getlin, CIAO’s board chair, said in a statement. “We are proud to stand beside our colleagues from the OCA and look forward to working for a better future for all Oregon cannabis businesses and employees.”
CIAO Executive Director Jesse Bontecou was named to lead the combined organization, which will continue under the CIAO banner.
All existing memberships will transfer to the new CIAO and “continue uninterrupted,” the announcement said.
It’s not the first merger for Oregon cannabis associations. CIAO was created in 2022 through the merger of the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association, the Oregon Industry Progress Association, and FARMS Inc.
It’s also representative of what’s occurring in the broader state industry.
“If I look through my phone of all of my close friends and colleagues from 2017, very few are still in business,” Getlin told Portland television station KOIN. “It is more important now than it’s ever been to speak with one unified voice and to work as one unified body with regulators and legislators to try and figure out a way to carve out a better future for our businesses.”
“With this merger, we embark on a journey that strengthens our ability to advocate for a thriving, safe, and respected legal cannabis industry,” OCA President Hunter Neubauer said.