Organized by the US Cannabis Council (USCC), the Buy Legal campaign is partnering with elected officials, cannabis companies, individuals and organizations to promote a safe, legal and well-regulated industry.
The campaign kicks off on Thursday, Nov. 3 in New Orleans at the Black CannaBiz Expo to prioritize campaign participation from minority operators of legal cannabis businesses who are disproportionately harmed by the prevailing unregulated market. Lawrence Hudson, Government Affairs Associate of Cronos Group CRON, will moderate a Buy Legal panel on Friday, November 4 featuring speakers Anacostia Organics owner & CEO Linda Mercado Greene; Josephine & Billies CEO Whitney Beatty and Harvest of Ohio director of marketing & procurement Keya Kellum.
With legal adult-use cannabis available in 19 states and DC, and five others on the ballot for 2022, the lack of meaningful and comprehensive national cannabis legislation has created an environment where untested, untaxed and potentially unsafe products are increasingly available to the American consumer. At the same time, the unregulated market is threatening the viability of the legal, regulated cannabis industry and imposing barriers to legacy players, including social equity program applicants, who want to participate in the regulated legal market.
First Elected Official To Join In
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said it was an honor to be the first elected official to partner with the USCC for the Buy Legal campaign. Since adult-use cannabis was legalized in New Jersey in 2021, they’ve established a well-regulated market that has catalyzed economic growth in local communities and established minimum standards for safe products, Gov. Murphy said.
“But like many other products, cannabis is not immune to the persistent illegal market, which poses a serious risk to consumers. As states like New Jersey continue to refine a regulatory framework for adult use of cannabis, our local businesses and consumers would greatly benefit from the resources that the Buy Legal campaign provides,” Murphy said. “This campaign will help protect the ability of local, regulated cannabis enterprises to continue to do business in a way that is safe and accountable, and protect the safety of consumers while reinvesting in communities.”
To Murphy’s point about safety and accountability, USCC’s CEO Khadijah Tribble added, "Cannabis consumers need to understand where they can buy high-quality, safe, and tested cannabis products, and minority cannabis businesses owners deserve the resources that a national campaign like this can provide in order to encourage customers to shop at their businesses."
Linda Mercado Greene, owner and CEO of DC-based Anacostia Organics and one of the first Black women to own a licensed dispensary, expressed concern about the unregulated market.
“I am concerned about the proliferation of unregulated cannabis enterprises that are not required to meet the same testing and safety standards as businesses like mine. A customer can’t possibly know what’s in an unregulated supply, and if someone is harmed by an unregulated product, that sows distrust in our industry and ultimately hurts licensed regulated cannabis businesses,” said Mercado Greene, who added that the Buy Legal campaign will provide customers with the peace of mind.
Al Harrington, CEO of Viola and former NBA star said the campaign is launching at just the right moment.
“This campaign comes at such an important time in the cannabis industry. To truly create equitable opportunities for generational wealth in our community, things like this must be done. Now more than ever it’s imperative to educate consumers on the importance of buying regulated, safe products.”
Founding members of USCC’s Buy Legal campaign include Anacostia Organics, American Trade Association of Cannabis and Hemp, Canopy Growth CGC, Columbia Care CCHWF, Cresco Labs CRLBF, Cronos Group, Curaleaf CURLF, DC Cannabis Trade Association, Holistic Industries, Jushi JUSHF, Native Roots, PAX, TrueGreen, Viola and Wana Brands.
For more information on Buy Legal, check out their website.
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