The Craft Cannabis Coalition, a community of industry licensed producers, processors, and retailers that work together to promote and protect the unique craft nature of legal cannabis in Washington state, has hired Joanna Monroe as its executive director. Monroe will lead the organization’s advocacy for common sense policy to safeguard the industry against changes that may threaten the viability of the cannabis market in Washington State.
“Since the passage of I-502 in 2012, Washington cannabis businesses have struggled to persevere because, unlike other industries, they face unique but enormous obstacles to success. By and large our regulations have fostered an environment that has discouraged consolidation and dominance by just a few large companies,” Monroe said. “As executive director of the Craft Cannabis Coalition, my number one goal is to maintain an environment where many small producers and processors can thrive, by educating stakeholders about the positive impact we make and the need to pass laws to strengthen, not damage our industry.”
Monroe, a licensed attorney, previously served as an executive at True Blue – an international temporary staffing agency – where she ran the company’s government relations function for 20 years. For the last year, Monroe served as an executive with Evergreen Market, a five-store cannabis retailer, and is an investor in Viridian Staffing which provides talent exclusively to the cannabis industry.
Monroe became involved in the industry after learning about the many challenges cannabis businesses face.
“Throughout my career, I have seen policymakers push legislation that, although well intended, results in unintended consequences that harm the very industry and people they are seeking to protect,” she said.
In 2019, the cannabis industry contributed over $400 million in tax revenue and employed thousands of people in Washington.