Co-founder & CEO
National Cannabis Industry Association
Aaron Smith is Co-founder and CEO of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the largest trade association representing legal cannabis businesses in the U.S and the only one focusing on ensuring that the interests of small and independent businesses are represented in the national dialogue surrounding marijuana policy reform. Aaron has been a central figure throughout the modern history of the cannabis reform movement. Prior to launching NCIA, Aaron distinguished himself as a public advocate for marijuana policy reform — first under the auspices of a California-based medical cannabis advocacy group, Safe Access Now in 2005, and then as the California state policy director for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project until founding NCIA in 2010. Aaron has successfully built coalitions with elected officials on both sides of the aisle in order to advance marijuana law reform legislation. He has also been a keynote speaker or participated in panel discussions on cannabis policy and the role of the industry in driving reform at countless national events. Aaron's opinion pieces have appeared in major newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times, and he has been a frequent commentator on national television news networks. Originally from California, Aaron is currently based in Denver.