Just two short weeks ago, NCIA hosted our 9th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days. This impactful event brought over 250 NCIA members to our nation’s capital to advocate and lobby on important issues facing our industry like access to financial services, amending IRC Section 280E, and addressing social equity.
Over the course of 48 hours, attendees met with nearly 300 congressional offices to share their stories and experiences, and dropped off informational materials to 200 offices that we did not schedule meetings with. In addition to these meetings, we had two briefings, held a PAC fundraiser, and hosted our first-ever VIP Day for members of our Leadership Circle. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from this important event:
To kick off our first-ever VIP Day, we held a briefing at the House of Representatives entitled “SAFE Banking: Where We Are, and Where We’re Going,” where Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), the lead sponsor of HR 1595, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, kicked off the day. On the panel was Tanner Daniel of the American Bankers Association, Becky Dansky of SARBA, and Gail Rand of ForwardGro, while attendees included NCIA members, congressional staff, and members of the press.
Following the briefing on banking, VIP Day attendees were shuttled to a luncheon featuring Reps. Joe Neguse (D-CO), Katie Porter (D-CA), Gil Cisneros (D-CA), and Steven Horsford (D-NV). All of these members of Congress are freshman who support cannabis reform, and talked about the importance of advocacy and the use of political action committees like the NCIA-PAC that they rely on.
After lunch, VIP Day attendees were shuttled back to Capitol Hill, where teams met personally with members of Congress, committees of jurisdiction, and congressional leadership.
Our first ever VIP Day was a huge success, and we thank the members of NCIA’s PAC Leadership Circle for their dedication to advocacy.
Lobby Days then officially started with a Welcome Reception attended by other advocates in Washington, D.C., NCIA members, and even congressional staff!
The following day, the work really began at our breakfast training. There, attendees met with the groups that they would be in for the day, were taught talking points on various bills and issues, and learned about how to use the app that housed all of their meeting information.
Washington, D.C. is full of great photo ops, so after our breakfast training, all of our attendees shuttled over to the Capitol… and snapped a few selfies, of course!
Meetings on Capitol Hill went from 12pm to 4pm. Each of NCIA’s 54 lobbying teams had at least four meetings over that course of time. Some groups were even lucky enough to sit down with members of Congress to talk about the issues that affect them and their businesses the most.
The day concluded with a fundraiser for the NCIA-PAC. This year’s event was wildly successful, as we had 15 members of the House of Representatives (Reps. Porter (D-CA), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Josh Harder (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Jason Crow (D-CO), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Denny Heck (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Susie Lee (D-NV), Matt Gaetz (R-FL)) attend and speak, as well as Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
The final day of Lobby Days began with a standing-room-only briefing that focused on NCIA’s new white paper titled “Increasing Equity in the Cannabis Industry” that our Policy Council worked on with the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA). Opening remarks were given by MCBA’s President, Shanita Penny along with the Principal of Greenbridge Corporate Counsel, Board Vice-Chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association, and Co-Chair of the Minority Cannabis Business Association Policy Committee, Khurshid Khoja. We were also joined by two members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA), and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).
Lobby Days wrapped up with small groups dropping off folders with informational materials to congressional offices that we were unable to schedule meetings with. While some may think these drop-ins are ineffective, they actually prove to be incredibly helpful long after our attendees go home.
The dates for NCIA’s 10th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days have already been chosen, so mark your calendars for our biggest year yet, happening May 19-21, 2020!
Be sure to check out the full photo album from this year’s Lobby Days!