Beginning today, cannabis industry leaders from across the country will fan out across Capitol Hill for the National Cannabis Industry Association‘s seventh annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days. Approximately 250 cannabis business professionals will take part in policy discussions and citizen lobby meetings to advocate for fair treatment of the legal cannabis industry.
On Tuesday, May 16, more than 50 teams of cannabis business owners and employees will hold meetings with more than 300 congressional and committee offices.
On Wednesday, May 17, NCIA leaders, business owners, and members of Congress, including Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), will hold a 9:30am press conference at the House Triangle. Attending members of Congress will discuss cannabis policy issues and highlight the sponsorship of legislation addressing the industry, including the Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2017, which would allow state-compliant marijuana businesses to deduct business expenses from their taxes in the same way any other legitimate business can.
NCIA members will advocate for the respect of state-legal, regulated marijuana programs by federal policy makers and law enforcement. A recent national poll found that 73% of Americans oppose federal interference in state marijuana laws.
“This will be the largest group of cannabis professionals ever to come to the Hill,” said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith. “Support for federal cannabis policy reform is stronger than it’s ever been, with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle lining up. Together, we’re speaking with one voice to say that these responsible businesses deserve fair treatment and state laws deserve respect.”
“Following the 2016 election, it is clear that the federal government is out of touch with the American people. It’s time for Congress to catch up,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “Cannabis business owners coming to Washington, D.C., and telling their personal stories will serve as a wakeup call.”
Top priorities for NCIA’s Lobby Days attendees include
a solution to the banking crisis, which prevents many legitimate cannabis businesses from accessing basic financial services,
reform to Section 280E of the federal tax code, which forces cannabis business to pay double or triple the effective federal tax rates of any other industry, and
descheduling of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, which would give states the authority to make their own decisions about how to handle cannabis legality, much as they currently do with alcohol.
A total of 29 states now have some form of legal, regulated marijuana program, encompassing more than 60% of the U.S. population. Legalization of marijuana for adult use is supported by 61% of Americans.
A legislative package called the “Path to Marijuana Reform” was also recently introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) with bipartisan support.
This package, along with other bills and potential appropriations amendments, has taken on new importance as some members of the Trump Administration have implied that the Justice Department could change its current policy of non-interference in state-regulated programs. Those threats have been met with significant backlash from elected officials and policymakers at the federal and state level, including both Republicans and Democrats.
More details and information about press attendance below:
Tuesday, May 16
Meetings between cannabis business leaders and congressional offices will take place throughout the day on both Tuesday, May 16, and Wednesday, May 17. Meetings are generally closed to members of the media, but for other coverage options or to arrange interviews with attendees or NCIA staff, please contact [email protected]
Wednesday, May 17
9:30am – Press Conference with Members of Congress and cannabis business owners
House Triangle (House side of the Capitol’s East Front)
Media please RSVP to [email protected]
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Representing more than 1,200 member-businesses nationwide, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only one representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.