The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is pleased to announce that it has retained Steve Fox and his firm VS Strategies to play an expanded role in the organization’s federal lobbying efforts. Steve will be joining forces with NCIA’s three-person, full-time government relations staff and the association’s other retained lobbying firm, Federal Advocates.
Over the past 16 years, Steve has played a prominent role in reforming marijuana laws across the country. In addition to co-founding NCIA in 2010, he launched the SAFER campaign in Colorado in 2005 which changed perceptions of cannabis in that state by educating voters about the relatively low health risks associated with cannabis in comparison to alcohol, setting the stage for the historic success of the 2012 Amendment 64 campaign, which he managed.
“This is a pivotal time for our movement and for the cannabis industry,” said Aaron Smith, NCIA’s executive director. “NCIA has significantly added resources to our government affairs efforts year after year, and adding Steve to our team will be a tremendous asset as we continue that expansion. It is important that we replace the failed policies of marijuana prohibition with laws and regulations that set the foundation for a vibrant, equitable, and responsible cannabis industry with opportunities available to all American entrepreneurs. Steve has demonstrated a commitment to these kinds of policies at the state and federal level and we look forward to working with him to usher in comprehensive federal laws that facilitate these goals.”
Steve started his cannabis reform work in 2002 when he joined the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) as director of federal policies. In that role, while serving as the only full-time marijuana lobbyist on the Hill from 2002 through 2005, he successfully lobbied U.S. Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) to call for the first-ever pro-marijuana vote on the floor of the U.S. House on what is now known as the Rohrabacher Amendment.
In late 2016, Fox helped NCIA launch its Policy Council and became director of the Council, which produces materials to educate policymakers about cannabis industry-related matters and proposes legislative and/or regulatory solutions. Members of the VS Strategies team will continue to advance the work of the Policy Council, while Steve spends more of his time on direct lobbying in Washington, D.C.
“When I started lobbying to reform marijuana laws in 2002, it was hard to imagine we would eventually be where we are today,” said Steve Fox. “We are at the cusp of finally bringing an end to marijuana prohibition at the federal level and I am excited to re-engage with my full energy. Over the course of 16 years of advocacy on behalf of cannabis patients, consumers, and entrepreneurs, I have developed many valuable relationships. Through this new role with NCIA, my hope is to tap into these relationships and work with a broad range of companies and organizations as we collectively help shape the future of cannabis.”
NCIA is also announcing today the addition of Morgan Fox (no relation to Steve) to its staff in Washington, D.C. Morgan has spent close to 10 years as a communications professional with the Marijuana Policy Project, rising to the position of communications director. Starting in mid-May and leading into the association’s 8th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days, Morgan will serve as NCIA’s media relations director, ensuring that the issues facing the legal cannabis industry are discussed rationally in the press.