A coalition of six organizations on the East and West Coasts joined forces this week to create the National Craft Cannabis Coalition.
The coalition, which announced its formation on Sept. 20., intends to lobby for cannabis regulations at both the state and federal level that will support small cannabis businesses.
The first major campaign of the new organization is to support a bill U.S. Representative Jared Huffman (no relation to this reporter) recently filed H.R. 8825 in the U.S. House that would allow cannabis growers and product manufacturers to ship their products directly to consumers within their own state, or to another state where adult use cannabis has been legalized.
“We are grateful to be bringing Vermont’s small cannabis farmers and producers into the federal conversation in D.C.,” wrote Geoffrey Pizzutillo of the Vermont Growers Association on social media. “As a small state, we have immense cannabis talent, and our interests must be included.”
Membership in the coalition includes the Vermont Growers Association, Maine Craft Cannabis Association, the Farm Bug Co-op in Massachusetts, California’s Origins Council, F.A.R.M.S. Inc. from Oregon and the Washington Sun & Craft Grow Association.
“Federal legalization will inevitably bring with it policy pushes heavily influenced by MSO lobbyists that favor corporate interests,” said medical patient and Connecticut-based activist Lou Rinaldi. “We need a representative voice at the table for Connecticut’s eventual craft tier of the market. We need to get out in front of this thing.”
Rinaldi is currently serving as an advisor to the NCCC.
Proponents of craft cannabis often compare their product to craft beer or artisanal wine, though the wine is the only one of the two that can legally be shipped through the mail to consumers.
H.R. 8825, which is called the Small and Homestead Independent Producers Act of 2022, was submitted to the House on Sept. 14 and was then referred to the House’s Committees on Energy and Commerce and Agriculture.
The bill applies to cultivators with less than 22,000 square feet of outdoor grow space or 5,000 square feet of indoor grow space.
The act could be a boon for small producers, but the catch is that even if it were signed into law, it would only take effect after the federal schedule rescheduled cannabis.
“An equitable federal cannabis legalization framework must prioritize a diverse marketplace, consumer and patient access, and low barriers to entry into the legal market from day one,” said Mark Barnett, Policy Director at the Maine Craft Cannabis Association, a statement announcing the coalition’s formation.
“Legally recognizing cannabis farming as agriculture, and allowing craft cannabis producers to sell directly to consumers, are essential to build a framework that can meet the needs of small operators, consumers, and patients across the U.S. as cannabis becomes federally legal.”