As “4/20” Ends, Advocacy Ramps Up
By Bethany Moore
April 24, 2019
/ Community

As “4/20” Ends, Advocacy Ramps Up

This last weekend, cannabis advocates and supporters gathered in cities across the country to celebrate what is known as “4/20,” a cultural celebration of cannabis.

Michigan’s Hash Bash

In several states like Michigan, the celebration was particularly exciting because of recently passed adult-use laws. Earlier this month, NCIA’s Business Development Manager, Clarissa Kriek, attended the 48th annual festival in Ann Arbor called “Hash Bash.” Since 1972, activists have gathered on these grounds to rally and demand policy reforms. Considering this was the first Hash Bash since legalization, it was a particularly memorable occasion

Clarissa gave an inspirational speech on stage about the long, hard battle to legalize cannabis in Michigan, which culminated in the passing of Prop 1 in November 2018. Approximately 15,000 people gathered to celebrate this historic event at the University of Michiganʻs Diag, including Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who spoke about her late husband and how she believed he could have benefitted from cannabis to help treat his prostate cancer but that federal prohibition has stifled research.

National Cannabis Policy Summit

In the nation’s capital, advocacy was as prominent as celebration at the 4th annual National Cannabis Festival, which was preceded by its sister event, the National Cannabis Policy Summit. These events brought thousands of people from around the country to the District of Columbia to bring attention to the harms caused by prohibition but also to celebrate the victories of the movement in an atmosphere of cooperation, innovation, and culture. Dozens of lawmakers, industry leaders, and policy experts – including NCIA’s Michelle Rutter – shared opinions and advice about how we can make cannabis legal in a way that incorporates fairness and justice.

Advancing the reform of outdated cannabis laws is building in momentum, and public support for medical and adult-use cannabis is at its highest levels ever. In the halls of Congress, we’re seeing the reform measures that are important to our industry gain co-signers on both sides of the aisle. It’s an exciting time for ending the war on drugs.

Whether the date is April 20 or September 20, every day is an opportunity to be an advocate of the legal, regulated cannabis industry. From access to banking and tax reform, to social equity and veterans access, now is the time to speak up and tell your stories about how these key pieces of legislation will help your business thrive.

NCIA’s 9th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days

While NCIA’s government relations team works year-round on the industry’s behalf to advocate for access to banking, fair tax policy, and states’ abilities to determine their own cannabis policies, for example, NCIA’s Annual Lobby Days is the most impactful opportunity to participate in democracy. As we prepare for hundreds of meetings on Capitol Hill on May 21-23, it’s crucial that cannabis industry professionals come together to send a powerful message to lawmakers. The industry is here to stay, and it is our industry’s responsibility to keep it that way.


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