Federal Policy

Above all else, the National Cannabis Industry Association exists to represent the interests of legitimate and responsible cannabis-related businesses in our nation’s capital. Our core mission is to ensure that our members are treated like businesses in any other American industry.

State-legal cannabis businesses should not pay higher effective tax rates than other businesses or struggle to find bank accounts. And business owners certainly should not face the possibility of arrest and prosecution by federal authorities when they are acting in compliance with state and local laws.

In addition to direct lobbying for changes in the law, NCIA promotes the economic benefits of the cannabis industry to an audience largely unfamiliar with the incredible progress being seen across the country. We make sure that the industry is given the credit it deserves for creating good jobs, generating tax revenue and operating in a manner that best serves its customers, while respecting societal concerns.

Current Federal Policy Objectives

Other Industry Objectives

Fair Tax Policy

NCIA believes that state-sanctioned cannabis businesses should be able to take the same tax deductions as any other legitimate business, and we are working on Capitol Hill to make this a reality. Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits businesses involved in “drug trafficking” from deducting normal business expenses from their net income. This policy is being unfairly applied to medical and adult-use cannabis dispensaries operating legally under state law, resulting in their federal tax burden being significantly higher than that imposed on any other business. In fact, some medical cannabis operations could be driven out of business on account of this provision. As a result of NCIA’s advocacy on behalf of the cannabis industry, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced the “Small Business Tax Equity Act” (H.R. 2240) on June 6, 2013. If approved, H.R. 2240 will exempt state-legal medical and adult-use cannabis businesses from Section 280E. NCIA is working with members of Congress to build support for H.R. 2240 and other strategies for a permanent fix to 280E.

Equal Access to Banking

Nobody benefits when legal cannabis businesses are unable to work with financial institutions. A large number of banks in this country are reluctant or simply not willing to work with entities involved in the sale of cannabis, even when those sales are legal under state law. This is causing major difficulties for thousands of business owners and state tax collection agencies forced to operate on a cash-basis. NCIA is dedicated to finding a solution to this problem by working to give all banks the confidence they need to work with cannabis-related businesses. In order to do so, we are talking to Treasury Department officials and members of Congress to develop either an administrative or legislative remedy. NCIA advocated for the introduction of H.R. 2652, the “Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act of 2013,” which provides a safe harbor to financial institutions doing business with state-legal cannabis providers. We are building support for H.R. 2652 in Congress as well as working with a variety of interested parties to push for an administrative solution to this problem.

Ending Prohibition

NCIA is working to allow states to establish their own systems for regulating cannabis without federal interference. While we are likely a number of years away from the end of federal marijuana prohibition, now is the time to push the conversation forward. By promoting the benefits of the cannabis industry, both for consumers and the economy, NCIA is gradually undermining institutional support for prohibition. In order to begin the process of organizing, NCIA is supporting a number of current bills in Congress, including the “Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013” (H.R. 499), introduced by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), which would regulate marijuana like alcohol under federal law.

Security For Existing Medical Cannabis Businesses

The Obama administration took an important step forward in August 2013, when the Department of Justice issued a memo directing U.S. Attorneys not to direct resources toward prosecuting individuals and businesses acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. But some U.S. Attorneys are openly defying this policy by continuing to threaten state-legal cannabis businesses with criminal action and civil asset forfeiture. NCIA is ensuring that members of Congress and top administration officials appreciate the importance of the industry through direct lobbying and education efforts leading toward the day when state-legal businesses will be treated justly under federal law.

Legal Cultivation of Industrial Hemp

NCIA supports the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013 (H.R. 525 in the U.S. House of Representatives and S. 359 in the Senate) and will encourage members of Congress to co-sponsor these two bills. It is long past time to end the nonsensical ban on hemp cultivation in this country.

Protection For Cannabis Accessory Businesses

NCIA supports the repeal of the federal Drug Paraphernalia statutes and U.S. Customs policies that harm businesses providing safe cannabis consumption accessories. Massive federal actions like 2003’s Operation Pipe Dreams must become a relic of the past.

Improving Public Perception

NCIA is working to improve the American public’s perception of cannabis, cannabis consumers, and the industry that serves them. By seizing upon media opportunities in a timely fashion and elevating the voices of our members, we are changing the way the public views cannabis businesses. Educating the public on the value the legal cannabis industry brings to the U.S. economy and society as well as its relative safety and efficacy as a medicine and wellness product is key in our efforts to reform federal law.

Promoting Industry Best Practices

NCIA strongly encourages responsible and socially conscious business practices for the cannabis industry. This includes general guidelines for effective and responsible marketing practices and promoting a culture of community engagement within the industry.