For the past few days we've been following the stunning reporting by Rob Meagher over at Cannabis Business Executive about the colossal sh*tshow happening at the National Cannabis Industry Association, better known as NCIA. This story has potentially major national ramifications and Meagher has shown real leadership in bringing it into the light.
The story has three parts that have evolved over the past 8 weeks or so. In December, Meagher was intrigued by a short mention of NCIA troubles in Marijuana Business Daily, which focused on the December resignation letter of cannabis pioneer Kayvan Khalatbari, an NCIA Board Member.
That article briefly mentioned Murray and included a rather ominous quote: “As far as NCIA turmoil, I’m under (a nondisclosure agreement) with regard to things we’re dealing with internally... but there are certainly things that are out there that I have no doubt are going to be coming to the surface pretty soon. How bad they are, whether they’re true or not, I think is still up for debate.”
That's enough to whet a good newsman's whistle (among whose number we clearly cannot be counted!) Meagher posted a piece in CBE ("Why did Khalatbari Really Resign from the NCIA board?") which included Khalatbari's resignation letter from the board.
A taste: "Unfortunately, I believe those things are about to come to a head very publicly and that the association will suffer irreparable damage, especially if we handle these upcoming controversies as we have others recently."
Meagher stuck with the story and posted this week: "Why was Genifer Murray Fired from her Chief of Staff Position at NCIA?". It includes the entire text of Murray's resignation letter to the board, in which she outlines in raw detail the deep-rooted calamity in NCIA management (or mismanagement...? Read the letter also re-printed here)
Two more developments this week:
Khalatbari, who is running for Mayor of Denver, has now stepped down from the NCIA board effective on Monday, January 15 (months earlier than the April date he'd announced upon resigning in December). On his way out the door, Khalatbari expressed his deep concerns over the professionalism of NCIA leadership, specifically CEO Aaron Smith, and went to far as to attribute his early departure to "the NCIA board’s inaction toward Rob Kampia" including serious allegations of sexual harrassment.
Joining Khalatbari in the rush to the door is former Board member Neal Levine, Senior VP of Government Affairs at LivWell Enlightened Health, who has stepped down.
Our Take: Cannabi, we are witnessing a pivotal moment in the movement to heal people and end cannabis prohibition. Our country and our industry are in desperate need of strong principled leadership and high quality national organizations filled with passionate professionals.
NCIA, right your ship and lead.