The last few years the cannabis industry has exploded. The cannabis industry had existed for some time, but with legal adult-use sales beginning in Colorado in January 2014 things accelerated quite a bit. Now Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska allow adult-use sales with California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine on the way. The medical cannabis industry is operating in many more states. Ancillary companies that serve businesses that ‘touch the plant’ are booming right now. But much of that can come to an abrupt halt the second the federal government decides to step up prohibition enforcement.
Cannabis has been illegal at the federal level since 1937. Just because states have reformed their cannabis laws does not mean that states are protected. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment provides protection for the medical cannabis industry from federal intervention, but expires in April. This is going to be a tough Congress to get reform pushed through, and with a White House that recently claimed it would escalate the War on Drugs, it is a very uncertain time. We cannot let recent gains in reform be pushed backwards. We also need to keep pushing forward for banking reform, 280e reform, and other reforms.
That is why I am encouraging everyone to consider joining the National Cannabis Industry Association and attending their 2017 Lobby Day event. Every year NCIA members converge in Washington D.C. and lobby their respective members of Congress. It’s a very vital part of reform. Reform needs to be pushed for due to social justice reasons. No one should be arrested and/or jailed because of a plant that is safer than alcohol. But for better or worse, some politicians need to be hit up with more reasons for legalizing cannabis, and a booming industry is something that resonates for them.
Every Congressional district in America needs more jobs. Every Congressional district in America could use more tax revenue. Every Congressional district in America needs their local law enforcement agencies focusing on capturing real criminals instead of being tied up arresting someone for a gram of cannabis. These are things that members of Congress can easily wrap their heads around, but they need to hear it from their constituents.
I am fortunate enough to live in Oregon where we have some of the most cannabis-friendly Representatives and Senators in America. But even then, they need to hear from members of the cannabis industry often in order to know what parts of legalization are working and what needs improving so that they can use that information when drafting legislation, and educating Representatives and Senators from less friendly states. This is going to be the most important Lobby Days to date, and will be taking place on May 16-17. Your voice is more important now than ever before. If you are serious about the industry, and want to make an impact, Lobby Days is for you. You can find out more at this link.