by Maddy Grant, NCIA Government Relations Manager
How does NCIA keep the momentum going on Capitol Hill? In the 116th Congress we’ve seen progress and support on cannabis issues unlike any Congress before – this is a historic time for cannabis reform!
The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019, which is now up to 206 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, up from 95 cosponsors in the 115th Congress, is expected to have a House vote at some point in in July.
The McClintock-Blumenauer-Norton amendment, which would protect ALL cannabis businesses from federal interference, passed the House with a vote of 267-165.
Our very own NCIA member, Dana Chaves, testified in front of the Small Business House Committee and expressed the urgency for our cannabis businesses to get access to financial institutions. These are just a few of the monumental successes we have reached this year – and it’s only June. We see the momentum growing and we need to keep the pressure on.
So what does this have to do with the NCIA-PAC?
Through our NCIA-PAC we are able to fiscally aid supporters of the cannabis industry, not only elected officials, but people running for congressional office. For example, leading up to the midterm election, the NCIA Government Relations team made sure we supported close races where cannabis-friendly candidates were running against cannabis opponents. One race I distinctly recall, Nevada’s third congressional district. Susie Lee, who is a supporter of cannabis, was running against incumbent Congressman Danny Tarkanian, an opponent of cannabis. Michael Correia, NCIA’s Director of Government Relations, and I met with Susie Lee in Las Vegas and we began to discuss how close her race had come and how every single PAC dollar would help her win. At that point, we contributed $1,000 of NCIA-PAC dollars to Susie Lee’s campaign and she beat incumbent Danny Tarkarnian. This is just one race where our contributions made a difference.
This wasn’t the only race that was close in 2016. The NCIA-PAC supported and helped elect 45 cannabis champions to Congress, including 15 Democratic challengers who successfully unseated incumbents who opposed reforming our outdated federal marijuana laws. Many of these races were won on razor-thin margins, which proves how far this support goes to enact change on the Hill. The NCIA-PAC aided to grow our support on Capitol Hill while establishing good relationships and educating Members of Congress.
At the 9th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days in May, we had 21 Members of Congress attend our PAC fundraiser. Congressional members showed up and spoke to NCIA members about cannabis issues on Capitol Hill and how supporting their races are crucial to allow them to continue to fight for our issues. Over and over we heard from these members about the importance of getting the right people in office that will fight for what their constituents care about. The NCIA-PAC helps us do just this, and every single dollar helps. It is time to end marijuana prohibition and to hold our congressional leaders accountable to represent the will of their constituents. Help us keep our champions on Capitol Hill and continue to add more! Whether it’s $5 or $5,000, every single dollar counts.
If you want to get involved in the NCIA-PAC, visit this page to learn more.