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Texas Cannabis Industry Association launches five city tour

Texas Cannabis Industry AssociationCannabis is an industry unlike any other. Capable of providing life-saving medicine, sustainable fuel alternatives, safer pain management, cannabis is more than just a commodity, or “drug” it is a way of life for some and a saving grace for others. For these reasons, a group of law students along with a business owner in Fort Worth Texas founded the Texas Cannabis Industry Association (TCIA).

Plagued with the question: “how can you have an industry association without an industry” this organization carried on determined to lay a foundation of advocacy and education. Contrary to popular belief, a poll conducted by Texas Public Policy shows that 79 percent of Texans support drug law reform. Even more surprising, another poll from Texas Public Policy shows that 58 percent of Texans are in favor of regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol. This is the same percentage Florida had when their bill failed in 2014.

Not only is there public support according to the polls, the efforts of activist groups are nothing to be ignored. Shaun McAlister, the Executive Director of DFW NORML has grown his chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) to be one of the largest in the nation with over 1100 members. They express their support in every way possible, whether it’s standing on bridges holding signs encouraging drivers to honk their support, or by holding one of their several concerts, marches, or annual conferences. The only law school chapter, Legally NORML, was also founded in Texas in addition to countless NORML and Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapters.

What started as the desire to unite all of these organizations quickly developed into the Texas Cannabis Industry Association (TCIA). TCIA serves to bring together all of the organizations and provide one united platform so that the message of responsible use can be echoed. TCIA also serves to provide mentor-ship and education to those interested in being involved in the cannabis industry.

While only ancillary businesses are legally allowed to form and build right now, those waiting to open dispensaries and farms are given the tools they need to be successful when the day finally does come. According to Marijuana Policy Project’s Texas representative Heather Fazio, she says that will hopefully be in “2017 for medicinal and 2019 for full on recreational.”

Marijuana Policy Project is the largest nonprofit organization in the country devoted to ending the war on drugs. They have been successful in every state they have sunk their claws into through lobby training, speaking, and fundraising to help enact some form of legalized use. Recently they have launched a full on project Texas and plan to go full force until the legalization bills are passed. Based on their 2017 and 2019 projections, TCIA saw the need to give Texans the education they needed in order for them to feel comfortable establishing a cannabis industry.

To provide the necessary education to get Texas ready for legalized cannabis, TCIA partnered up with a cannabusiness consulting firm called ComfyTree. ComfyTree specializes in putting on an event called Cannabis Academy which gives attendees an inside look into life in the legalized industry. This includes a virtual tour of a hemp farm, advice from investment company executives, and access to meet major producers in the industry.

Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018
Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

Through this partnership, TCIA is bringing the Cannabis Academy to Fort Worth on March 28.

True to the saying “everything’s bigger in Texas,” the education continues with additional events in Houston, Austin, College Station, and a location of the people’s choice to bring the total to a five city education series.

While the first event is intended to give someone a 360 degree glimpse into the world of cannabis, the following four stops are specific to each major aspect of the cannabis industry. This includes an investor/entrepreneur themed event intended to provide insight into how to get involved in the industry before you have the opportunity in Texas, followed by a cultivation and growing specific event intended to provide more detail and insight for those who want to be growers potentially following legalization. The fourth stop will encompass the manufacturing and retail products. This is intended to highlight the alternative consumption aspect of the industry, specifically, the edibles, topicals, and patches. The final stop on the tour will give attendees the basic checklist of what is necessary to apply for a license to own and operate a medicinal dispensary.

The purpose of this tour is not civil disobedience nor is it intended to be a protest, but instead a responsible approach to a developing need. The process in Colorado, incredible as it may be, is still being revised constantly and their population is a fifth of that in Texas. The reality is that the industry that is so much more than just an industry deserves to be founded on advocacy and education, both of which are necessary to create a community the legislature can trust with the job of taking on this industry in the Lone Star state.

By: Kayla Brown

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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