California is home to the largest legal cannabis market in the world, but it is also home to an illegal market three times its size. Illegal operators have not only severely stunted the success and stability of the legal industry, they also put Californians at risk as untested, unregulated and untaxed vaping products flooded the market and in 2019 began causing mysterious lung illnesses and deaths.
The United Cannabis Business Association (UCBA) partnered with FHA to shrink the illegal market through legislation and advocacy, shutting down bad actors, expanding pathways to licensure, supporting the industry amid COVID-19 and protecting the health of Californians during the vaping crisis. After a comprehensive communications approach was created, leveraging earned, owned and social media, UCBA became the go to source on cannabis issues in the state and nationwide, securing coverage in the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Politico and more. Ultimately, the team successfully advocated for solutions around taxation, enforcement and licensure that would bolster the legal market.