by Michelle Rutter, NCIA Government Relations Manager
Last week, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) met in Los Angeles for their annual Legislative Summit. NCSL was created in 1975 with the goal of establishing a single national organization to support, defend and strengthen state legislatures. NCSL prides itself on being bipartisan and seeks to improve the quality and effectiveness of state legislatures, promote policy innovation and communication among state legislatures, and ensure that state legislatures have a strong, cohesive voice at the federal level.
At the Legislative Summit last week, NCSL hosted two separate panels on cannabis policy. The first was titled “Crossroads: States, the Federal Government and Marijuana,” while the second was titled “Changing Federal Landscape: Financial Services for Marijuana Businesses.” NCIA’s own Director of Government Relations, Michael Correia, spoke eloquently on the banking panel and educated attendees and legislators about the importance of cannabis business’ access to financial services.
NCSL isn’t the only policy related group to show interest in cannabis policy: both the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties have recently adopted similar positions. In June, a group of 12 governors, both Republican and Democrat, signed a letter to congressional leadership asking that they pass the STATES Act.
Following the summit, NCSL issued two new policy directives related to cannabis: the first stated that NCSL “maintains that the federal government should respect state decisions to regulate cannabis, including hemp in non-FDA approved cannabis products,” while the second said “NCSL acknowledges that due to the expansion of legal cannabis, legitimate business enterprises need access to financial institutions that provide capital, security, efficiency, and record keeping.”
We couldn’t agree more.