A new interstate organization to coordinate efforts to implement marijuana reform in the US has been established, comprising the cannabis regulatory bodies of 19 states.

Established legal marijuana states often help other jurisdictions to set up new legal cannabis markets, but this typically happens on an ad hoc, informal basis. In a press release to announce the Cannabis Regulators Association’s (CANNRA) formation, the inaugural president, Norman Birenbaum, said the new organization would be a forum to more effectively share and discuss regulatory best practices in burgeoning marijuana industries across the country.

“The Cannabis Regulators Association will provide a much needed forum for regulators to engage with each other to identify and develop best practices, create model policies that safeguard public health and safety, and promote regulatory certainty for industry participants,” Birenbaum said.

“[It will] serve as a resource for policy makers, elected officials, researchers, and other stakeholders to engage with regulators from across the country and receive unbiased information and recommendations regarding the impact and implementation of cannabis policies,” he added.

The nineteen states represented as CANNRA members are as follows:

Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington state.

Birenbaum, who is also CANNRA’s director of cannabis programs for New York, said the group will reach out to federal officials to ensure any potential cannabis-related changes to federal law would also benefit from CANNRA’s collective expertise.

CANNRA members will now work together to develop model industry-wide standards, which the organization will help disseminate by providing access to staff training resources. In a non exhaustive list of such model policies, CANNRA’s notes such areas as “packaging, labeling, advertising, testing, licensing, social equity, seed to sale tracking, inspections, enforcement, pesticide use, product approval, tax structures, tax collection, patient qualification and enrolment, product processing and manufacturing, industrial hemp and CBD products, banking [and] payment processing.”

CANNRA will host regular round-table discussions and furnish its members with “legislative analyses, policy tracking data and bulletins on current issues and events in the cannabis industry and regulatory arena.”

And it appears CANNRA will have its work cut out from day one, as five states recently approved ballot measures to legalize cannabis for adult use or medical purposes at the 2020 elections. In its press release, however, CANNRA makes clear it will not take a position of marijuana reform measures, seeking only to provide “unbiased information to help make informed decisions when considering whether or how to legalize or expand regulated cannabis.”

As such, cannabis reform advocates and industry players are not permitted to join the organization.

The establishment of a nationwide marijuana regulatory forum follows similar moves at a regional level by Northeastern governors last year to coordinate cannabis policies in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

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