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Breakfast Discussion 2

Seizing the Opportunity to Serve: The Rol​​e of AIHA’s Grassroots Government Relations in the Rapidly Evolving Marijuana Industry​

Management and Leadership Track

Tuesday, October 31

7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

AIHA’s vision of eliminating workplace illnesses unites all members and calls for bold action. This is no less true in the marijuana industry, which is projected to grow from approximately $7 billion to over $21 billion in three short years. The rapid expansion of the industry is largely fueled by recent State actions, a majority of which have now legalized the use of marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes, with more expected in the near future. At the same time, new cannabis-containing products are entering the market, as are synthetic cannabinoids. All of these developments are posing challenges to worker ​​health and safety, yet few within government are currently focusing on th​​ese important industry aspects. This presents an opportunity for AIHA’s members to use their position as both constituents and professionals with unique expertise to help protect workers in this industry by engaging with policymakers.

Come hear about AIHA’s new strategic approach to grassroots government relations, how we are channeling and magnifying the power of AIHA’s members to affect positive change in the dynamic marijuana industry, be inspired, and learn what you can do right now to engage with policymakers in pursuit of our common goals.​​​​​​​​​​​​​



Name and Bio

Mark Ames, MA, Director, Government Relations, AIHA, Falls Church, VA.

Mark Ames joined AIHA in November 2016 from ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers). At ASHRAE, he co-led their D.C.-based Government Affairs Office, providing strategic direction in the development of their public policy priorities and representing the organization's membership to Congress, the White House, and multiple Federal Agencies. Mark was responsible for the development of policy recommendations in all issue areas at ASHRAE, and provided direction to ASHRAE's State, local, and non-U.S. government affairs activities. Working with their Board and leaders from 182 Chapters and over 100 technical and other committees, he has played a central role in streamlining ASHRAE's government affairs activities, improving coordination, messaging, and effectiveness, and producing consistent results.

Prior to ASHRAE, Mark worked at the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), and the Native American Contractors Association (NACA) on a wide variety of diverse issues.

Mark holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Politics and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from The American University and is a graduate of the university's Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute.​