Opening the Door

This week, the National Cannabis Industry Association, a group set up to protect the flourishing pot market, named their second chapter in the United States and this chapter will be based right here in Ohio.  The group is made up of industry bigwigs from other states and local lobbyists and named their first chapter in Colorado. Why Ohio? A popular pro-pot advocacy source has predicted that Ohio will have the fifth largest pot market in the country.

This new group touted the needs of “patients” and the desire for growth of dispensaries and grow sites. However, we must remember that this new group represents one group – the business owners of cannabis.  There are no medical professionals or healthcare practitioners in this group and the sole purpose is to line the pockets of its members. Imagine if there was a National Pharmaceutical Industry Association that touted the needs of patients for opiates, but everyone can see that it is a group set up to protect the profits of the industry.

In Colorado, this group has protected the interests of the pot industry by advocating for high-potency pot edibles (with no limits). It has pushed for more access and availability across the state. It pushed for “looping,” a practice which allows a person to buy the maximum amount of pot allowable per visit, multiple times per day.  It consistently lobbies Congress and Colorado state lobbyists for one reason – to not only protect the industry but to increase it.

We need to make sure that we are advocating to our local decision makers and elected officials about this new pot industry because they will be enticed by promises of community growth, tax revenues and job creation.  However, this is all done at the expense of public health and public safety. Encourage your coalition board or community partners to also make stopping the growth of the pot industry a priority. Ohio has been targeted for tremendous growth by the marijuana industry and we must make sure that we protect our communities from the stories of growth of this self-serving industry group.

Tony Coder
Prevention Action Alliance

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