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A self-regulatory organization (SRO) is an organization that exercises some degree of regulatory authority over an industry or profession. SROs are proven to be a highly effective means of helping grow industries and protecting the public. Among other roles, SROs create rules, standards, and guidance to ensure that members act responsibly. SROs are not government agencies, although they play a fundamental role in shaping public policy.

Governments often look to an industry’s SRO when deciding what types and level of government regulation are necessary. Examples of effective SROs include the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), American Medical Association (AMA), Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS), Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

As of June 2017, the first Self-Regulatory Organization for the United States Cannabis Industry officially launched. The National Association of Cannabis Business is the premier cannabis industry self-regulatory organization in the United States. Their mission is to support the compliance, transparency, and growth of legal cannabis businesses in the United States. Its’ membership includes cannabis cultivators, distributors, testing laboratories, retailers, ancillary cannabis businesses, and businesses seeking a license to work in the industry.

Who is involved with the National Association of Cannabis Business?

The National Association of Cannabis Business knows the importance of developing a strong team of experts from the cannabis industry along with leaders who have a thorough understanding and experience in finance, government, regulatory policy, data and analytics, law enforcement and communications to help lead this organization. The team brings decades of experience and a comprehensive understanding of how to move the industry forward through self-regulation and responsible corporate citizenship.

Joshua Laterman, CEO of NACB began developing the organization over three years ago after a nearly 20-year career as general counsel at Global Financial and investment institutions, including Texas Pacific Group and Natixis. Andrew Kline who is President and leads the NACB, served as an Assistant US Attorney driving federal enforcement and as a senior advisor to Vice President and then-Senator Joseph Biden.

Other members of the NACB leadership team include:

  •         Chief Legal Officer Douglas Fischer, who joins NACB after nine years focusing on cannabis law and financial regulation, compliance, and enforcement at law firm Cadwalader Wickersham and Taft
  •         Chief of Staff Sarah Zimmerman, a Marquette University School of Law adjunct professor and former federal appellate clerk
  •         Membership Director Ross Robinson, whose 30-year career includes senior executive positions at the YMCA and the World Federation of Hemophilia
  •         Chief Marketing Officer Ken Hanson, an award-winning brand strategist and co-founder of national marketing agency Hanson Dodge
  •         Chief Technology Officer Navin Narayanan, who draws on an extensive background building electronic data interchanges in healthcare and finance
  •         Chief Communications Officer Howard Schacter, a former Adweek Marketer of the Year

The NACB’s Team of Advisors include:

  •         Ean Seeb, a National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) board member and Policy Council Committee member, and co-founder of Denver Relief Consulting and one of Colorado’s earliest medical cannabis operations, who will serve as the NACB’s Colorado state ambassador
  •         Adam Orens, a nationally recognized cannabis economics expert and co-founder of Marijuana Policy Group
  •         Malik Burnett, M.D., public health, and cannabis policy expert, who co-chaired the successful campaign to legalize cannabis in Washington, D.C.
  •         Kristen Yoder, a California-based cannabis insider who has worked across every facet of the industry
  •         Parthib Srivathsan, a business consultant who has helped grow over 100 early stage businesses.

The vision of NACB supports a robust, well-regulated, transparent, compliant, diverse and ethical cannabis industry.

The NACB and its members achieve these goals by creating and enforcing regulations for its members, providing expert counsel, facilitating access to professional and financial services, and deploying technology to serve the needs of members and other stakeholders. The NACB’s members are national leaders that are responsibly growing the cannabis industry while remaining committed to core principles that reflect public expectations and model corporate citizenship.

NACB members distinguish themselves in the industry by:

  • Operating ethically and safely
  • Developing and adhering to consistent regulations that are responsive to the demands of a changing industry and the public’s concerns, regardless of jurisdiction
  • Complying with state and local laws, as well as federal guidance
  • Maintaining complete and accurate financial records
  • Structuring business activities to be transparent
  • Listening to and addressing the public’s concerns about the cannabis industry
  • Improving diversity in industry ownership and employment
  • Educating the consumer, public, and media about cannabis

Why should you become a member? After researching this organization, there are many key benefits to why you should join such as:

  • Elevated Legitimacy – As part of an SRO, NACB members hold themselves to rigorous national operating standards on par with the country’s most regulated industries, placing you in a particular class of cannabis businesses
  • National Representation – We are an exclusive self-regulatory organization with the right people to start a dialogue with federal regulators.
  • Expert Insights – Be connected with the leaders and advisors who have in-depth experience in highly regulated industries, with the knowledge that would help with your business success.
  • Financial & Business Services – Members will gain access to professional and financial services that are out of reach for other cannabis businesses.
  • Business Recognition – Your business would have the opportunity to be featured on the NACB website, along with being able to display the NACB logo on your site, distinguishing your company among the industry’s best operators.
  • Exclusive Events – Members can join small roundtable discussions and webinars featuring analysis and guidance from experts and former policymakers experienced in highly regulated industries.
  • Member Impact – Members define the NACB agenda, and you will be able to help create standards and identify priorities. 

In addition to helping establish national standards, among the benefits of NACB membership will be access to a technology platform the NACB is developing that will contribute to making real-time compliance easier for members and demonstrate the transparency banks and investors require in order to conduct business with the cannabis industry.

The proprietary, best-in-class and ultra-secure technology platform, powered by an IBM infrastructure and expected to be introduced later this year, will enable members to build a record that confirms their compliance and financial integrity. Additionally, it will deliver data analytics that members will be able to tap into insights to help them to grow.

Key features of technology platform:

  • Provides security for storing critical financial and operating information.
  • Facilitates proper record-keeping, making regulatory compliance easier.
  • Documents and preserves ongoing business records, helping you get full value if you ever want to sell.
  • Reduces the burden on financial institutions of conducting costly, time-consuming due diligence checks, opening the door to banking services.
  • Secured by IBM technology.

“The cannabis industry is on a historical growth trajectory that is expected to continue for years to come, but even the most established, well-run businesses recognize that the future favors the prepared,” said Laterman. “As other industries have experienced with their SROs, developing and committing to voluntary national standards will enable cannabis business owners to demonstrate impeccable business and compliance practices to consumers, regulators, banks, and investors. Andrew and the team we’ve assembled are uniquely qualified to succeed in helping our members do just that.”

And we agree with Laterman; the NACB is the next step needed for our industry so that we as an industry and community can begin preparing and building towards national standards.

The NACB is a division of First American Holdings, technology and business services company with headquarters in Milwaukee, WI. For more information, please check out the links below.