ATACH – Lobbying for LegalizationIn this week’s episode of Cultivate, Genifer Murray speaks with Michael Bronstein, Co-Founder, and Lead Consultant for the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (ATACH).
Michael Bronstein is well-known as a political consultant in regional, national, and even international politics. As President and Co-Founder of Bronstein & Weaver, Inc. a leading political consulting firm, he acquired numerous accolades and developed many influential relationships across the globe, even working with the British Labour Party to assist with Prime Minister Tony Blair’s re-election campaign. Today, after working for the cannabis industry over the last four years, Bronstein is leading the industry to a new level of professionalism. By promoting standards and regulations, public and consumer safety, as well as, market expansion, Bronstein and the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (ATACH) hope to help these industries gain the respect they deserve.
As a 501(c)(6) trade organization registered in Washington, DC, ATACH promotes the expansion, protection, and preservation of legal cannabis and hemp-based businesses and their products.
The Changing Landscape
“Four years in the cannabis industry is the equivalent of 20 years in any other industry,” Bronstein laughed, as he spoke about how quickly the environment in the industry changes. With large mainstream companies starting to eye the cannabis industry, the industry is gaining legitimacy as it matures. However, Bronstein reminds this effort didn’t happen overnight, this increase in momentum is the result of years of work. “It took personal and professional risks, that people who are getting into the industry right now will not ever really know because of the work that was done before they entered,” Bronstein reflected.
On the Verge of Legalization
Bronstein speaks confidently from a place of experience when he states, “We are at the verge of federal legalization.” Further explaining his stance, he says, “It’s very clear to me from meeting with lawmakers and regulators, large mainstream businesses and trade associations from other industries – the momentum and the conversation is different. It’s more like ‘How are we going to make this legal?’ it’s not if or will or when.”
When discussing the history of cannabis legalization, Bronstein says it would be impossible not to talk about what is happening in Canada, where there is more normalcy around the business. In fact, with big, bold names taking an interest in the industry, many people in the United States are feeling a sense of urgency and missed opportunity as Canadian entities, like Constellation Brands and Tilray, take advantage of national legalization.
The conflicting federal status of cannabis between the United States and Canada creates a brand new border problem which is making headlines as Canadian business leaders linked to the cannabis industry are receiving lifetime bans from traveling to the United States. “This is very discouraging news, and we should not take the situation lightly,” Bronstein replied. “We need to create a dialog and monitor the situation. The industry needs to be defended.”
Investing in Canadian Cannabis
Bronstein describes the Canadian Securities Exchange, or CSE, as “a good place to publicly place private capital,” and the CSE is proving to be a favorable place for American cannabis companies to do reverse take-overs and raise public capital. As of today, 44 companies have gone public on the Canadian exchange.
While there is undoubtedly a bubble forming, Bronstein suggests strategic partnerships are likely the key to cannabis industry success. Pharmaceutical companies, tobacco, and alcohol are the most talked about, but nutraceutical companies are also starting to glance towards hemp and cannabis. “Cannabis is not just one vertical in the marketplace, rather it’s a canopy of products, usages, and applications,” Bronstein pointed out.
With an insatiable appetite for cannabidiol, the CBD market is skyrocketing, and without proper regulations in place, many questions are arising about the efficacy and safety of many of these products. Unfortunately, the answer to many of these questions may vary depending on whom you ask according to Bronstein. Much like the cannabis industry evolved over the last few years, the hemp industry and the products within it will evolve, too.
“Companies have an appetite to be regulated in a way that is meaningful, to provide safe, reliable, and effective products and dosage methods,” Bronstein stated. “We all want to work together to make sure these issues are addressed, so there’s a sensible way to get to market.”
With more than a 90% approval rating Bronstein points out “The one thing American’s can agree on is that they want medical cannabis.” As such the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp is creating strategic partnerships with the largest federal lobbying efforts to date in the cannabis industry. “We have a who’s who of leaders in the industry presenting a united front to lobby federally.”
ATACH plans to announce a membership benefits package going into the new year. Bronstein mentions their principal goals are to provide representation for businesses within the marketplace, bring sensible regulations to protect the consumer, and ensure public health and safety standards. As the voice of the industry, ATACH is in a pole position at a national level where credible industry players are pushing for the next stage in cannabis. Whether working at a state level, a national level, or even globally, ATACH and Bronstein believe in a united effort by state-level associations, permit owners, and civic organizations will continue to advance the professionalism and integrity of the industry. These relationships and officially organized fronts are critical to the future of the legal cannabis and hemp industries.
To learn more about ATACH, becoming a member, or contributing to the lobbying efforts visit their website at ATACH.org.