Denver has been at the forefront of cannabis politics since the early 2000s.
On Thursday, July 13, cannabis professionals ascended on Denver’s Cultivated Synergy for a quarterly meeting held by the National Cannabis Industry Association. But this wasn’t any ordinary meeting; it was a caucus – a cannabis caucus.
The ethos of the marijuana community is not what it used to be. At the caucus, everyone was professional and reserved. There wasn’t a dreadlock or a hint of tie-dye to be seen.
The NCIA has always been one of the more buttoned-up cannabis business groups, hailing itself as “the only national trade association advancing the interests of the legitimate and responsible cannabis industry.” In non-corporate speak, that means lobbying.
The lobbying takes place in Washington, D.C., but Denver is where many of the results are seen. The Denver caucus is essentially a networking event, where players in the country’s largest retail cannabis market get together and see if there are any intersecting business needs they can help meet for each other.
Everyone was very tidy and reserved, with a smorgasbord of suits, trim haircuts, heels and power outfits. It was kind of funny, actually, how rarely anyone actually mentioned the product that brought all of us here – as if they were looking over their shoulders, expecting Grandpa Jeff Sessions to walk in at any moment.
But like a baby bird leaving the nest, attendees began to feel more comfortable as the evening passed and the speakers took the stage.
NCIA Executive Director Aaron Smith led the program with a motivating announcement, proclaiming they were all part of a “growing movement to end marijuana prohibition once and for all.”
Some of the main sponsors and NCIA boardmembers also gave short speeches, but the