National Cannabis Industry Association's Aaron SmithAaron Smith, co-founder and executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, reminded us that before cannabis was an industry, “we were a social movement, and we still are a social movement.” The legalized states are leading the way for what general use cannabis will look like after prohibition ends. Aaron reminded nearly a thousand attendees how the steps they take now will be the foundation of a Cannabis industry that we can all be proud of.

1. Be A Good Neighbor

Reach out to your neighborhood–from local businesses to local citizens. When the federal government shut down Oaksterdamn, the NCIA got neighborhood businesses to hang green flags in solidarity. It’s a lot easier to move forward with neighborhood organizations on your side.

2. Be Professional

Everything from answering the phone to paying your bills on time affects your own business and the cannabis industry as a whole. Don’t use marketing that you wouldn’t want your mother to see. Create a professional industry that shows the country what they’ve been missing.

3. Engage Politically

Find out who your elected representatives are and get on their email list. Attend their events and give money to their campaigns to support your cause. Be present and make phone calls so that they hear from the Cannabis industry a lot more than they do now.

Make it easy for your customers to engage their officials as well. Reward customers that call their elected representatives or send emails. Make it easy for customers to engage while they wait. Harborside Health Center has a robust Patient Activist Center that rewards customers with product for participating.

4. Join a Trade Organization

If you come from any other industry, you’re no stranger to trade organizations and why they’re important. Join a trade organization (like the NCIA perhaps, I have!) that will lobby for Cannabis businesses. These trade organizations support events and education that push the industry forward.