Thank you for your email on Dec. 7th, 2017, and the explanation with regard to your registering the Montana Cannabis Industry Association.
The MTCIA has recently been exploring a change to our name as the result of the political atmosphere at the federal level, with the United States Attorney General clearly exhibiting a desire to see the medical and recreational cannabis industry in the United States either shut down or severely limited. A recent consequence of the federal government’s newly stated enmity toward cannabis was the closing of all bank accounts held by the Marijuana Policy Project, a national organization, in June of this year.
The MTCIA saw this development as a clear shot across the bow to all organizations in the cannabis space and not just businesses that engage in cultivation and production. As a result of these sentiments and actions, the MTCIA began exploring alternative names that would appear slightly more benign. We certainly did not expect to be “forced” into acting on this matter, but one administrative miscommunication, coupled with the initiative of a zealous citizen, and we find ourselves moved to speed up our deliberation and make the change.
We are encouraged by your advocacy but must admit that the usurpation of our previous name is a bit odd. It would seem there could be only one of two purposes: 1) To misrepresent the MTCIA’s history of achievements as your own, or 2) Simply to sit on the name to make it unavailable to those who have been using it. Either way, it certainly does not represent clean motives in regards to your stated goals of bringing more voices to the forefront. This could have been done under any name. While we are flattered that you recognize our name as respected, professional, and effective, you certainly have the opportunity to build your own reputation under an original name.
We have always welcomed the participation of all interested parties in the cannabis space, and most recently we were very heartened by a conference call with members of the Patients Voice, as we found considerable common ground and were excited to move forward on the matters that were discussed, especially the overly burdensome rules being proposed by the DPHHS.
We very much agree with you that the cannabis industry is filled with “doctors, law makers, attorneys, scientists, large and small providers, from rural and urban communities, and thousands of patients.” It is our hope here at the MTCIA that more people will participate in finding solutions to continue the work that the MTCIA, and many others, fought so hard to achieve, and that your new organization will also provide financial support in helping the MTCIA pay down the debt that allowed a marijuana program in Montana to even exist. We look forward to working with you and your organization.
I must also add that we would appreciate it if your organization refrain from using “MTCIA” in any professional or promotional material, as it is the registered DBA of the Montana Cannabis Information Association (a name we have used for several years before changing back in 2016).
Gregory C Zuckert
Vice Chair, MTCIA Montana Cannabis Information Association