Cannabis Business Leaders to Advocate for Federal Reform

Hundreds of industry leaders will meet with lawmakers to discuss access to banking, social equity and fair taxation.

Group photo from Cannabis Industry Lobby Days in 2018.
Group photo from Cannabis Industry Lobby Days in 2018.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Next week, nearly 300 cannabis industry leaders from across the country will travel to Washington, D.C. for the National Cannabis Industry Association’s 9th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days.

Over the course of the three-day event, citizen lobby meetings will be held with Congressional offices to discuss the positive economic and social impact that regulation has already had on states with modern cannabis laws and advocate for the fair treatment of the legal businesses created by those laws. 

“We are extremely proud to be bringing so many of our members to the nation’s capital to advocate for cannabis policy reform for the ninth year in a row,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “Now more than ever, it is important for lawmakers to see that our outdated federal policies are having a negative impact on real people, many of whom are carefully and conscientiously trying to replace the illicit market with regulated, responsible businesses.” 

On Tuesday, May 21, NCIA will host a breakfast and legislative briefing on H.R. 1595: The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act.

This legislation, which currently has 180 cosponsors in the House and was approved in a bipartisan vote in the House Financial Services Committee earlier this year, would protect financial institutions which want to work with cannabis businesses that are in compliance with state laws.

Speakers include: bill sponsors Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO); Michelle Rutter, government relations manager for NCIA; Tanner Daniel, vice president of the American Banking Association; Becky Dansky, executive director of the Safe and Responsible Banking Alliance; and Gail Rand, chief financial officer for ForwardGro, the first of 15 companies licensed to cultivate cannabis in Maryland. 

The SAFE Banking Act briefing will take place in Room 1539 of the Longworth House Office Building at 10:00 a.m. EST on Tuesday. 

On Thursday, May 23, NCIA will be joined by representatives of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) for a breakfast and briefing on the rollout of NCIA’s new report, “Increasing Equity in the Cannabis Industry: Six Achievable Goals for Policy Makers,” and MCBA’s Model Municipal Social Equity Ordinance.

Speakers include: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA); Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ); Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA); Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA); Shanita Penny, president of MCBA; and Khurshid Khoja, principal of Greenbridge Corporate Counsel, board vice-chair of NCIA, and co-chair of MCBA’s Policy Committee. 

The industry equity briefing will take place in Room 2060 of the Rayburn House Office Building at 8:30 a.m. EST on Thursday. 

Meetings between cannabis business leaders and congressional offices will take place throughout the day on both Wednesday, May 22 and Thursday, May 23.

Cannabis is legal for adults in ten states, Guam, CNMI, and the District of Columbia, and 33 states as well as several territories have comprehensive medical cannabis laws. The substance is legal in some form in 47 states.

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