On Thursday, the National Association of Cannabis Businesses (NACB) announced its launch, making it the cannabis industry’s first self-regulatory organization. According to the NACB, their mission is to “support the compliance, transparency and growth of legal cannabis businesses in the U.S.” and to “establish voluntary national standards that address critical issues such as advertising and financial integrity.”

The NACB will be led by President Andrew Kline, who brings with him a long career that includes time as an Assistant United States Attorney and senior advisor to Joseph Biden. He’ll work closely with CEO Joshua Laterman, a veteran of global financial and investment institutions, who started developing the NACB three years ago.

One of the goals is that the standards, while voluntary, will do much to improve the overall business reputation of marijuana by working with members to understand laws that are always changing.

According to the NACB’s press release, “NACB will also provide members access to expertise, tools and services they are unlikely to access elsewhere that are intended to help them enhance the value of their business and navigate the complex web of constantly shifting regulations they face every day.”

The NACB will also provide some relief to those who might not be on board with the marijuana movement yet. One example is a reporting hotline for both members and the public to express concerns or violations about member businesses, helping to enforce rules and advance a sense of legitimacy for the industry.

“As we’ve been meeting and talking with businesses, what we’ve found is that they are really excited about being part of a movement to create and establish some voluntary national standards,” said Kline in a phone interview with HIGH TIMES. “[They] are really excited about the notion of having some influence over the process and professionalizing the industry in a way that makes everyone look better about what they’re doing.”

Self-regulatory organizations (SROs) are typically formed by industries to fill gaps left by existing laws and regulations, such as the National Association of Realtors, which doubles as a trade association. NACB is more similar to SROs like the American Medical Association, which sets best practices for an entire industry.

“We’re drawing a lot of models here of groups that have been successful in shaping the future of their industry,” said chief legal officer Douglas Fischer. “A simple one is the Motion Picture Association, which put out standards for rating movies that everyone accepts. Through doing that, they were able to stem off a lot of state and federal regulation [that would have come]. There’s going to be government regulation of this industry, of course, but we look to models like that to show how the industry, if it polices itself and takes its obligations as responsible citizens seriously, [can] really shape what regulation will look like.”

Founding members of the NACB include Buds & Roses, Etain, Green Dot Labs, Local Product of Colorado, Matrix NV, Mesa Organics, and others.

If you’re a licensed owner of a cannabis grower, dispensary, or similar type of business, and want to join the NACB, apply for membership here

You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ marijuana news right here.

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