WACA Annual Meeting Summary

The Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA) held elections for its Board of Directors at its Annual Meeting on December 11, 2015. As President of WACA and one of its founders, I’d like to share the results and welcome our new board members.

When we started WACA almost two years ago, we were passionately committed to exclusively representing the interest of 502-licensed entities in the legislature and with the regulators.  Our mission has always been to represent everyone with a 502 license and the related ecosystem businesses.

In the beginning, the Board was basically made up of the first few members willing to put in the extra time to manage the organization. In our first year, our focus was achieving three major strategic legislative goals in Olympia…and we did. Now that the organization has grown and evolved, we have endeavored to put best practices in place for a world class industry trade association. For example, WACA has adopted staggered board terms, annual elections and WACA members interested in being on the Board stand before the general membership before a vote. We are committed to ensuring that the values of our organization directly reflect its membership and their priorities. In an industry that is being carefully watched by so many, we did not want to be the kind of organization where Board seats could be purchased, or were protected in any kind of gerrymandering way. This year we also increased the WACA Board from six (three retail and three producer/processor, one lab/transport) to seven and instituted annual elections putting four of the seven seats up for election this year.

As a result, a MAJORITY of WACA’s Board seats were up for election going into 2016. We believe that creating a balance between retailers and producer/processors as well as having a tie-breaker seat representing the rest of the 502 ecosystem was the right thing to do. There are additional ways WACA members - and potential members - could be represented but rather than silo our leadership structure too much (e.g. regional representation, outdoor/indoor, small/large, edibles), we have recommitted to continuing to ask for input from our membership, to inviting leadership within our various work groups and to continue to be strong advocates for a safe, quality controlled marketplace for Washington. We depend on a diverse membership to elect a diverse Board and subject ourselves to be accountable to the membership every two years.

I want to extend a sincere thank you to our 2014/2015 Founding WACA Board:

Peter Saladino, BMF WA
Mike Griffith, Green Theory
Greg James, Marijuana Venture Magazine (and applicant for Tier 3)
Ian Eisenberg, Uncle Ikes
Brad Douglas, The Wercshop
Martin Tobias, Patriot Meds

For the 2016/17 Board Term, Greg James resigned (as he is no longer a 502 applicant), and Brad and Peter ran for re-election for their seats. One new Retailer seat was up for election.  For the two Producer/Processor seats that were up for election, every member could vote for two and the top two would get the two seats. I am glad to say that we had a field of 10 candidates for the four open seats with a great variety and passion among the candidates.

I am pleased and proud to announce the winners of the election and the 2016/2017 WACA Board:

Susan Gress, Vashon Velvet (tier 1 producer)
Jerry Derevyanny, Northwest Cannabis Solutions (edibles/oils)
Rob Hendrix, Cannabis Central of Ellensburg (Eastern WA Retail)
Brad Douglas, The Wercshop
Mike Griffith, Green Theory (up for election 2016)
Ian Eisenberg, Uncle Ikes (up for election 2016)
Martin Tobias, Patriot Meds (up for election 2016)

WACA’s Board has diversified with the addition of a Tier 1 producer/processor, an eastern Washington midsize retailer, and an edibles/oil processor. I am really looking forward to having these new and unique perspectives represented on our Board. I encourage you to all reach out to new board members and welcome them! Remember the Board is here to represent all 502 operators and all factions of the 502 ecosystem. Please get involved and feel free to contact any Board member directly with any issue or concern.

We are still in the early stages of expanding the perception of what it means to be a professional in the cannabis business. But with the continued growth of our membership, through tireless dedication to proving our commitment to safety, and by being responsible and accountable members of the communities where we operate, WACA will continue to be the strongest representation of licensed businesses across Washington and we look forward to continued success in the New Year.

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