Press Releases Archive | The National Cannabis Industry Association
this is the blog archive

Legislation to Improve Marijuana Access for Veterans Introduced in Congress

Legislation to Improve Marijuana Access for Veterans Introduced in Congress

 

Three bills would change how Veterans Affairs deals with medical marijuana, improve training and research

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In observance of Veterans Day, a series of bills to expand access to medical cannabis for veterans were introduced in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a Marine Corps veteran who served four tours in Iraq, would facilitate research into current cannabis use by veterans, establish new policies at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that respect medical cannabis treatments, and provide medical cannabis training to primary care providers in the VA system.

“Our veterans are seeking alternative options to opioids and we should be supporting their desires not to be addicted to painkillers,” said Rep. Moulton.  “Let’s not kid ourselves, people are using marijuana – including our veterans. We have an obligation to regulate it and make it as safe as possible. We also have an obligation to make sure our veterans are getting the best healthcare in the world.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs Survey of Medicinal Cannabis Use Act of 2018 would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to seek to enter into an agreement with a federally funded research and development center to conduct surveys to measure cannabis use by veterans. The surveys would obtain information directly from patients as well as health care providers to determine current cannabis use and attitudes, symptoms or conditions treated, effects, and ingestion practices.

The second bill, the Department of Veterans Affairs Policy for Medicinal Cannabis Use Act of 2018, would encourage veterans to discuss their cannabis use with health care providers in the VA system, and prevent discrimination or denial of treatment from the VA for veterans who consume cannabis or participate in legal state medical cannabis programs.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Medicinal Cannabis Education Act of 2018 would require the VA to train all primary care providers in their system in the use of medical cannabis, as well as to partner with medical schools that include such training in their curriculums.

“For too long, our honored veterans have faced repeated hurdles when trying to access medical cannabis,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “The bills introduced by Rep. Moulton and Rep. Gaetz today will not only help them use the medicine that works for them but will move the VA closer to understanding medical cannabis, which is legal in a vast majority of the country and having a positive impact on the issues facing veterans every day.”

In November of last year, an American Legion poll showed overwhelming support for medical cannabis and increased research among veteran households.

There are now 47 states that allow cannabis to be used in some form. Thirty-three of those states have effective medical cannabis laws, and ten have laws making cannabis legal for adults.

Marijuana Ballot Measures Pass in Three States as Midterm Elections Pave the Way for Progress in 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

CONTACT:
Morgan Fox, Media Relations Director
216-334-9564Media@TheCannabisIndustry.org

Michigan becomes 10th state to make cannabis legal for adults, Missouri and Utah voters approve medical marijuana initiatives, and supporters of marijuana policy reform win races across the country  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The 2018 midterm elections represent a major victory for marijuana policy reform advocates and the legal cannabis industry. Voters in Michigan approved a ballot measure Tuesday that will make cannabis legal and regulated for adults, making it the first Midwest state to legalize cannabis and setting the stage for regulated businesses to replace the illicit market there. Missouri and Utah approved medical cannabis ballot measures as well, providing access to effective medicine for millions of people and firmly solidifying a supermajority of states with robust medical marijuana laws. Voters in Missouri supported their medical cannabis initiative in greater numbers than the winning Republican Senate candidate, Attorney General Josh Hawley.

“This election proves that U.S. voters are ready and eager for comprehensive cannabis policy reform at the state and federal level,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “This is no longer a third-rail issue. Members of Congress need to listen to their constituents, allow states to determine their own cannabis policies, and start treating this burgeoning legal industry fairly. ”

With dozens of supportive congressional candidates winning on Tuesday and Democrats about to take control of key federal committees, advocates are confident that marijuana policy reform legislation will be actively considered in the House in the 2019 session. Bills to allow banks to more easily work with the cannabis industry and to address unfair federal taxation of cannabis are expected to make significant progress next year.

Voters in 12 states elected gubernatorial candidates that publicly support making cannabis legal for adults last night. Governors-elect Gavin Newsom in California, Jared Polis in Colorado, and J.B. Pritzker in Illinois all made marijuana policy reform a central issue in their campaigns.

Cannabis is now legal for adults in ten states and the District of Columbia, and 33 states have effective medical marijuana laws. Cannabis is legal in some form in 47 states.

###

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization broadly representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

Legal Marijuana Sales Begin in Canada – U.S. Industry Org Urges Congress to Follow

Canada Cannabis Legalization Takes Effect Today – National Cannabis Industry Association Urges Congress to End Prohibition or Fall Behind


Nation’s largest marijuana trade organization warns U.S. will be left behind in global market, joins Rep. Lou Correa and other members of Congress in call to end border policy that discriminates against cannabis professionals

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Canadian laws making marijuana legal for adults went into effect and licensed retail stores opened throughout the country on Wednesday, the U.S. cannabis industry is calling on federal lawmakers to do the same to avoid falling behind in the burgeoning global cannabis market. The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), the largest trade association for legal cannabis businesses in the U.S., is urging Congress to pass comprehensive marijuana policy reforms that would allow states to determine their own marijuana laws, provide safe harbor to financial institutions that want to work with cannabis businesses, address unfair taxation, promote social equity in the industry, and permit free trade. NCIA is also asking U.S. officials to follow the Canadian government’s lead in pardoning people with marijuana convictions.

“The evidence is clear that regulating marijuana works in the states that have done so, and we are about to see that on a national scale in our neighbor to the North,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “Congress needs to act now to level the playing field. Every moment they delay hurts American businesses and communities, and unnecessarily steers consumers to the criminal market.”

NCIA is also supporting efforts led by Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) to change current Customs & Border Protection policy which prevents Canadians who are involved in the legal cannabis industry from traveling in the U.S. on business, even to states where cannabis is legal. Rep. Correa announced on Wednesday that he is gaining support from bipartisan members of Congress requesting that the Department of Homeland Security end this policy immediately.

“This sort of discrimination against the cannabis industry is outrageous,” continued Smith. “If people in any other legal industry were treated like this, or if it were Canada denying entry to U.S. citizens based on their professions, there would be national outcry.”

NCIA’s report titled “How the U.S. is Falling Behind in the Regulated Global Cannabis Market,” explains how a lack of federal regulation and the inability to expand beyond state borders means U.S. cannabis companies are constrained in their ability to grow and are at a competitive disadvantage to cannabis companies in other countries, with Canada and Israel being the most prominent examples.

The launch of Canada’s legal marijuana program comes as residents of four states prepare to vote on cannabis ballot initiatives in November, and as the issue plays an increasingly important role in politics. Michigan and North Dakota are poised to become the next states to make marijuana legal and regulated for adults, and medical marijuana initiatives will be on the ballots in Missouri and Utah.

National Cannabis Industry Association Releases Congressional Scorecard Ahead of Midterm Elections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

CONTACT:
Morgan Fox, National Cannabis Industry Association
216-334-9564Media@TheCannabisIndustry.org

National Cannabis Industry Association Releases Congressional Scorecard Ahead of Midterm Elections

Report judges members of Congress by position on marijuana-related appropriations amendments voted on in House since 2014 and current sponsorship of marijuana legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With midterm elections less than a month away, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) released a Congressional Scorecard today to inform voters across the country on how their elected representatives have voted on marijuana issues. The scorecard provides the voting history of members of the House of Representatives on marijuana-related appropriations amendments that were considered between 2014 and 2016 as well as identifying cosponsors of the legal cannabis industry’s priority legislation in both the House and Senate

The six specific pieces of legislation that were considered in the scoring were to prevent expenditure of federal funds to interfere with state laws related to hemp production, medical marijuana, adult use cannabis programs, and cannabidiol (CBD); provide safe harbor to financial institutions to work with the legal cannabis industry; and allow doctors in the Veterans Affairs system to discuss cannabis with their patients and recommend it under applicable state laws.

The full scorecard is available at https://www.thecannabisindustry.org/2018scorecard.

“As more and more states move toward ending cannabis prohibition, it is becoming increasingly important for voters to know if their federal representatives are working to protect and promote their states’ successful medical and adult-use marijuana programs,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “We hope they will take a hard look at this scorecard, back the lawmakers who support common-sense cannabis policy reform, and hold those who are undermining their constituents accountable.”

The Congressional Scorecard follows the release of NCIA’s latest report, “The New Politics of Marijuana: A Winning Opportunity for Either Party,” which highlights the unprecedented voter support for marijuana policy reform and the legal cannabis industry, and how it will impact current and future elections nationwide.

###

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization broadly representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

New Report Highlights Political Opportunities for Candidates Embracing the New Reality of Marijuana Legalization

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

CONTACT:
Aaron Smith, National Cannabis Industry Association
(303) 223-9727Communications@TheCannabisIndustry.org

 

National Cannabis Industry Association Calls on Candidates to Support Popular Reforms in Advance of Midterm Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Cannabis Industry Association Released a report today describing the growing popularity of marijuana policy reform and the political benefits candidates in either party could reap by embracing the issue.

NCIA’s “The New Politics of Marijuana: A Winning Opportunity for Either Party,” provides an overview of recent polling data and electoral wins for cannabis reforms in the United States. The report highlights the solid majority support for legalization in nearly every state where polling on this issue has been conducted over the last year. 

The industry association’s report also finds that support for cannabis reform crosses nearly all political demographics with a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and independent voters supporting adult-use legalization. Most striking is the support among younger voters for marijuana reforms, citing Pew Research data showing support for legalization among millennials at 70% overall and 63% among Republican millennials.

“The failed experiment of marijuana prohibition is almost over and voters are clearly recognizing the benefits of replacing illegal marijuana markets with well-regulated, responsible businesses,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “Policymakers on both sides of the aisle are beginning to wake up to this reality and candidates who fully embrace the issue this election cycle will reap the political benefits for years to come.”

###

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization broadly representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

Marijuana Research Bill Approved in House Judiciary Committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 13, 2018

CONTACT:
Michael Correia, National Cannabis Industry Association
202-599-9742Media@TheCannabisIndustry.org

 

Marijuana Research Bill Approved in House Judiciary Committee

Markup of the Republican-backed bill represents first time the committee has considered marijuana policy reform legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation designed to facilitate increased federally-approved research into the potential medical benefits of marijuana. The Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018 (H.R. 5634), which was originally introduced by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and currently has 40 cosponsors, passed in a voice vote.

The bill would increase the number of federally-approved research cannabis manufacturers from one to three. It would also create a pathway for state-approved private cannabis cultivators to provide material to researchers, and requires the Attorney General to annually assess whether the approved supply is adequate to meet research requests. In addition, the legislation clarifies that medical professionals in the Dept. of Veterans Affairs are able to inform their patients about cannabis trials, receive information about ongoing research, and may take part in such research.

This vote represents the first time that the House Judiciary Committee has been willing to consider marijuana policy reform legislation.

“The experiences of the states with medical cannabis laws and the millions of patients helped by those programs have proven that cannabis is an effective medicine, but federal research has always lagged behind. This markup represents a big step toward increasing our base of knowledge about cannabis, but more importantly, it shows that Congress is willing to look at the issue fairly and scientifically,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “We commend Rep. Gaetz for introducing this bill and for working so hard to make sure it was seriously considered by the Judiciary Committee.”

Despite the overall benefits provided by the bill, advocates are concerned about several compromise provisions that were added to the original language. A ban on people with marijuana convictions being involved in studies would prevent many of the most skilled and knowledgeable individuals from adding their expertise to research efforts and would disproportionately impact people of color. Legitimate study would be further impeded by requiring production facilities to be pre-approved by law enforcement, who have traditionally opposed efforts to increase research into cannabis.

“The restrictions contained in the Medical Cannabis Research Act are well-meaning but totally unnecessary and do nothing to improve public safety or research efficacy,” Smith continued. “We are hopeful that reasonable debate and Rep. Gaetz’s leadership on this issue will convince lawmakers to remove them before passing this bill.”

###

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization broadly representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

 

 

Bill to Ensure Safe Harbor to Medical Cannabis for Veterans Introduced in Senate

Bill to Ensure Safe Harbor to Medical Cannabis for Veterans Introduced in Senate

Legislation will make it easier for veterans to access cannabis for medical purposes, allow Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical cannabis to patients, and facilitate new study on cannabis and pain in veterans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

CONTACT:
Aaron Smith, National Cannabis Industry Association
303-223-3554Media@TheCannabisIndustry.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bill introduced in the Senate on Wednesday would remove some of the barriers making it difficult for veterans to access medical cannabis programs in their states. The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, introduced by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), would allow veterans to use, possess, or transport cannabis as permitted by state law without fear of federal prosecution, and would allow doctors in the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) system to recommend medical cannabis to their patients. It also calls on the VA to commence a study into the effects of cannabis on pain in veterans within two years of passage, and allocates $15 million for that purpose.

“People who have served their country should have an easier time accessing the medicine that works for them, not harder,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “More ability to participate in state-legal cannabis programs with the help of their own doctors will improve quality of life for many veterans, and hopefully increase their interest in taking part in the rapidly expanding legal cannabis industry. We hope that the rest of Congress will support this legislation and help protect those who protect us.”

While veterans are not explicitly disallowed from becoming registered medical cannabis patients, doctors in the VA are not able to provide the recommendations or paperwork required to be eligible for medical cannabis programs in states where it is legal. This forces veterans who could find relief from cannabis to find doctors outside of the VA system at their own cost, which can often be prohibitively expensive, particularly for those dealing with disabilities.

“The Veterans Cannabis Coalition supports the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act because it aims to end an absurd catch-22 that veterans who medicate with cannabis find themselves in—where the federal government criminalizes them for possession, hinders them in talking to their VA doctors about cannabis, and blocks nearly all research into cannabis’ medical efficacy,” said Eric Goepel, founder and CEO of the Veterans Cannabis Coalition. “This state of affairs is preventing millions of veterans from accessing a substance that anecdotal, observational, and clinical evidence all indicate possesses incredible medical value in treating some of the most common injuries and conditions veterans must manage. We appreciate Senator Schatz’s leadership on this issue and look forward to building support for veteran access to cannabis in the Senate.”

The vast majority of states with effective medical cannabis laws include chronic or severe pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as qualifying conditions, both of which are common and serious concerns for the veteran community. In addition, growing evidence is showing that cannabis can be an effective and objectively safer alternative to opioids.

An American Legion poll released in October 2017 showed that 82% of veterans think cannabis should be a federally legal treatment, and 92% support increased research into medical cannabis.

###

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization broadly representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

 

National Cannabis Industry Association Responds to Report of Federal Efforts to Discredit State Legalization

National Cannabis Industry Association Responds to Report of Federal Committee Directed to Discredit State Reforms, Ignore Positive Impacts of Legalizing Marijuana

 

Washington, D.C. –  On Wednesday, an article published in Buzzfeed News revealed details of a task force that was ostensibly created to inform the President on marijuana policy issues that are concerning to policy experts, state-licensed businesses, and advocates. The article contains internal memos that direct federal agencies to ignore data that shows positive impacts from regulating marijuana. These memos also ask those agencies to submit data which could be interpreted negatively, as well as instances and anecdotes that could be used to discredit legal cannabis programs.

“The directives given to this committee are biased, unscientific, and fly in the face of statements made by the President during his campaign and up to the present that he supports allowing states to determine their own marijuana policies without federal interference,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “This is an unfortunate example of staff within the administration exaggerating potential negatives associated with legalization while ignoring the clear benefits of regulation, and discounting the harms caused by the outdated policies of prohibition.”

In May, NCIA released a State Progress Report that details the impacts of legalizing and regulating cannabis for adults, and covers topics including public safety, teen use and availability, economic impact, and potential effects on the nation’s opioid crisis.

“We are confident that the available data, when viewed objectively, clearly shows that regulating cannabis works,” continued Smith. “By just about every measure, state programs have been widely successful at replacing prohibition with sound regulations, in spite of federal prohibition. These voter-supported programs will continue to expand, regardless of the outdated opinions some may have within the federal government.”

Last month, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced a bill that would mandate a wide-reaching study on the impacts of legalization and continued prohibition at the state and federal level.

“We look forward to a study conducted by an independent federal agency that isn’t invested in continuing marijuana prohibition,” said Smith.

National Cannabis Industry Association Board of Directors Selects Executive Team

National Cannabis Industry Association Board of Directors Selects Executive Team

 

Newly-elected board members join association Board and appoint officers for 2018-19 term

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), the country’s largest cannabis trade association and industry advocacy organization, officially seated its newly-elected Board of Directors following the association’s member-driven board election.

The election, which concluded in June, brought on three new board members. Mark Passerini is the co-founder of Om of Medicine, a Michigan medical cannabis dispensary that has the distinction of being the only dispensary in the country to partner with a major university via the University of Michigan, and the first board member elected from that state. Michael Steinmetz is the CEO and founder of Flow Kana, one of California’s most innovative companies dedicated to sustainability and empowering small craft cannabis farmers. Taylor West is the former deputy director of NCIA and current senior communications director for COHNNABIS, a full-service brand, marketing, digital, and public relations agency dedicated to the unique needs of the cannabis industry.

A full list of Board members and their bios is available here.

NCIA is also announcing the new Board of Directors Executive Team that will help guide the organization in its continuing federal lobbying efforts and development of valuable resources for the cannabis business community. The Chair is AC Braddock, CEO of cannabis extraction technology company Eden Labs and a recognized thought leader in the cannabis industry, as well as the supporting founder of several cannabis women’s groups. The Vice-chair is Khurshid Khoja, principal of Greenbridge Corporate Counsel, a boutique business law firm founded in 2012, which represents clientele in California, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii from across numerous sectors in the legal cannabis industry, on regulatory, start‐up, corporate, intellectual property, finance, and other commercial and transactional matters. The Treasurer is Kris Krane, the founder and managing partner at 4Front Ventures, a cannabis consulting firm that is dedicated to ensuring the highest standards of operations and compliance in the industry. The Secretary and General Counsel to the Board is Henry Wykowski, a San Francisco-based trial attorney representing numerous cannabis dispensaries throughout California in tax matters, including a landmark case which positively impacted cannabis businesses throughout the state.

“My first experience lobbying in D.C. was in 2014 with NCIA and it restored my faith in the power of individual and collective voices in our political system,” said AC Braddock. “This organization represents the very fiber of entrepreneurship and socially responsible small businesses in this country and what we can do when united. I am so looking forward to what we will accomplish in the next few years and beyond.”

“This is likely to be a momentous year for cannabis policy reform at the federal level, with NCIA’s years of advocacy in the Capitol bearing visible fruit in the form of increased congressional and executive branch support on various pieces of critical legislation,” added Khurshid Khoja. “It is a pleasure and an honor to help lead an organization that is the tip of the cannabis industry’s spear in the effort to win federal legalization.”

On top of being the nation’s most established organization lobbying for fair taxation and banking access for the cannabis industry and an end to cannabis prohibition, NCIA is dedicated to ensuring equity in the industry through policy and culture and has established an events scholarship program to promote those values. In addition, the organization will continue producing resources that will be useful for the cannabis industry and policymakers. In conjunction with its members and industry experts, NCIA released publications last week offering recommendations for cannabis testing policy and providing guidance to cannabis businesses for dealing with crisis communications.

“We are proud of our members for getting involved and electing effective and passionate industry leaders to our Board,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “The next year is going to be both exciting and challenging in federal cannabis policy and industry development, and we are lucky to have such dedicated individuals helping us change laws and provide value to our members.”

New Guides for Cannabis Testing Policy and Industry Crisis Communications Introduced at Cannabis Business Summit This Week

New Guides for Cannabis Testing Policy and Industry Crisis Communications Introduced at Cannabis Business Summit This Week

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), in conjunction with its members and industry experts, is releasing publications this week offering recommendations for cannabis testing policy and providing guidance to cannabis businesses for dealing with crisis communications.

NCIA’s Policy Council released a white paper that details a set of 16 recommendations related to cannabis testing policy. These recommendations will be used to inform policy-makers at the state and federal levels. The Policy Council convened a group of testing experts and other individuals engaged in the cannabis industry in order to ensure the recommendations were informed by a broad range of experiences and opinions. The full document is available here.

“As both an NCIA Board member and a member of the Policy Council, I am really excited about the Council’s work,” said Kurshid Khoja, principal at Greenbridge Corporate Counsel. “Somewhat under the radar, the Policy Council is establishing itself as the think tank for the cannabis industry. On topics ranging from tax policy to pesticides to international competition, the Policy Council is churning out quality papers to raise awareness and educate policy makers in DC. With the release of its testing policy recommendations this week, the Policy Council is demonstrating that it could also help shape policy on the state level.”

NCIA’s Crisis Manual Subcommittee of the Marketing and Advertising Committee also released a manual describing best practices in crisis communications in the cannabis industry. This document will help businesses identify, avoid, prepare for, and respond to potential public and private communications issues within the cannabis industry, as well as those that typically impact any industry. The full manual is available here.

“As wonderful as cannabis is, we’ll face a crisis together as an industry way too soon.  When it happens, the key will be how we respond to it,” said Jeanine Moss, Crisis Manual Subcommittee Chair of NCIA’s Marketing & Advertising Committee. “That’s why we think it is so important for NCIA members to have an easy and practical guide that can not only help protect businesses during a crisis, but also the industry as a whole. This manual will help businesses prevent problems, keep issues from spiraling out of control, and share positive messages during times of stress.”

Both guides will be presented this week during the Cannabis Business Summit® & Expo, NCIA’s flagship annual event. This event is the nation’s largest cannabis industry conference and was recently awarded the top spot on Trade Show Executive’s annual “Fastest 50” list, honoring the 50 fastest-growing annual trade shows of the year.

Online registration for the Cannabis Business Summit® & Expo is available here. Registration closes at midnight, July 24.

Senate Democratic Leader Introduces Bill to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

New legislation would remove cannabis from Controlled Substances Act, joins other bills calling for states to choose own policies

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced a bill which would remove marijuana from the schedule of controlled substances, allowing states to determine their own cannabis policies without fear of federal interference. Sen. Schumer (D-NY) announced his intention to file the bill in late April following statements by the Trump administration signaling that it would support legislation that would leave cannabis policy to the states.

The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, cosponsored by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), would specifically remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, decriminalizing the substance at the federal level and allowing states to determine their own cannabis policies without the threat of interference. The bill also provides funding to cannabis businesses owned by women and people of color through the Small Business Administration; funds studies on traffic safety, impairment detection technology, and health effects of cannabis; restricts advertising that could appeal to children; and sets aside $100 million over five years to help states develop streamlined procedures for expunging or sealing prior cannabis convictions.

“We commend Senator Schumer for joining the growing chorus of Congressional leaders stepping forward with alternatives to the failed prohibition of marijuana,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “With millions of Americans already living in states that successfully regulate adult-use cannabis and support for national legalization at record levels, this legislation would finally align federal marijuana policies with mainstream voter sentiment.”

This is the second comprehensive cannabis policy reform bill introduced this month. On June 7, Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the STATES Act, which creates exemptions in the Controlled Substances Act for states that have made cannabis legal for medical or adult use. There are several other pieces of cannabis-related legislation also being considered in Congress.

The introduction of the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act also comes a day after voters in Oklahoma approved a medical cannabis ballot initiative, making it the 30th state with an effective medical cannabis law.

A Quinnipiac University poll released in April found 63% of Americans support legalizing marijuana and 70% oppose federal interference with state-authorized cannabis programs. Cannabis is legal for adults in nine states and the District of Columbia, and there are currently 46 states that allow cannabis in some form.

Oklahoma Voters Approve Medical Cannabis Initiative

State to become 30th in nation with an effective medical cannabis law

 

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – On Tuesday, voters in Oklahoma approved a measure that will make medical cannabis legal in the state with over 56% popular support. The referendum, known as SQ 788, would allow patients to use medical cannabis to treat their conditions with a recommendation from their doctor. The initiative calls on the state to establish rules governing the licensing and regulation of facilities to cultivate, process, and dispense medical cannabis, and allows patients to cultivate limited amounts of medical cannabis at home.

“In spite of a well-financed and misleading opposition campaign, Oklahoma voters proved that medical cannabis is no longer a controversial issue by enacting a sensible law at the ballot box tonight,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “We applaud Oklahoma for joining the growing list of states that allow patients to legally access the medicine that works for them.”

The passage of SQ 788 marks the first time that a state medical cannabis ballot initiative has been approved by voters in an electoral primary. Observers were skeptical of the initiative passing in an unprecedented election cycle, particularly given strong and well-funded efforts from opponents to the referendum in the months before the vote.

“The passage of this law is not only a great victory for some of the Sooner State’s most vulnerable citizens – it will also create new business opportunities as the state’s underground market for medical cannabis is replaced by licensed businesses with the potential to create thousands of jobs and millions in new tax revenue,” continued Smith. “We are confident that the standards of professionalism and quality care that have become synonymous with the legal medical cannabis industry will be repeated here for the benefit of seriously ill residents throughout the state.”

With the addition of Oklahoma, there are now effective medical cannabis laws in 30 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. A total of 46 states allow for the medical use of cannabis in some form.

NCIA Launches ‘Allied Associations Program’ to Coordinate with Local Trade Organizations

New program will provide participants with training and education and help bring regional issues into the national cannabis policy conversation

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Cannabis Industry Association is pleased to announce the official launch of its new Allied Associations Program (AAP) designed to facilitate cooperation and assistance to state and local trade organizations representing the cannabis industry. The AAP provides the means for the leaders and staffs of NCIA and Allied Associations to learn from, work with, and support each other in their mutual efforts to build the cannabis industry within the states and across the country.

The ultimate goal of the AAP is to develop closer relationships between NCIA with state, local, and sector-specific trade associations to harness our collective knowledge, and work together to advance the cannabis industry. As the only national trade association for the cannabis industry, NCIA is uniquely qualified and positioned to help those trade associations thrive and be as effective as possible for their memberships.

Allied Associations will be able to participate in complimentary workshops and information sessions hosted by NCIA, as well as monthly updates on NCIA’s work and any relevant legal or policy updates. Organizations will receive complimentary tickets to NCIA’s regular events and will get exclusive discount codes to all events to share with their members. The first workshop will take place during the upcoming 5th Annual Cannabis Business Summit in San Jose, CA on July 25-27.

As part of the AAP launch, NCIA’s two state affiliates — California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) and NCIA of Ohio (NCIAO) — are transitioning into the program as founding members. Members of CCIA and NCIAO are encouraged to maintain memberships with both NCIA and their state associations in order to continue supporting the important work each organization is doing to defend cannabis businesses and to enjoy the membership benefits offered by of both.

“CCIA is excited to help launch the new Allied Association Program with NCIA,” said Lindsay Robinson, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association. “Ever since California’s regulatory roll out, we have been considering the best way to focus our efforts on building a successful industry in our state and we welcome this opportunity to further align our work with the goals and objectives of our members.”

“Transitioning into the Allied Associations Program will provide NCIA of Ohio the flexibility needed to address the problems facing Ohio’s program as it prepares to launch,” said Thomas Rosenberger, executive director of NCIA of Ohio. “We’re excited for the opportunities this program will provide and look forward to working with NCIA and other Allied Associations to further advance the cannabis industry.”

Organizations that have already become Allied Associations include the Marijuana Industry Trade Association of Arizona (MITA AZ), Association of Cannabis Professionals (ACP), Texas Cannabis Industry Association (TCIA), Missouri Cannabis Industry Association, Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association (LVMMA), Louisiana Cannabis Association, Craft Cannabis Alliance (CCA), Coachella Valley Cannabis Alliance Network (CVCAN), Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association (ORCA), The Cannabis Alliance (The Alliance), Washington Sungrowers Industry Association (WSIA), California Growers Association (CGA), California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA), NCIA of Ohio, and Asian Americans for Cannabis Education.

National Cannabis Industry Association’s Cannabis Business Summit Is 2018’s Fastest-Growing Annual Trade Show in America

NCIA and Event Partner GSMI Take #1 Spot in Trade Show Executive’s Fastest 50 Award List

 

Washington, D.C. – The National Cannabis Industry Association’s Cannabis Business Summit™ & Expo is officially the fastest-growing annual trade show in the United States, according to Trade Show Executive.

The Cannabis Business Summit, NCIA’s flagship annual event, was awarded the top spot on Trade Show Executive’s annual “Fastest 50” list, honoring the 50 fastest-growing annual trade shows of the year. From 2016 to 2017, the Summit increased paid exhibit space by 59.6% and the number of exhibitors by 53.3%.

“From the beginning, we’ve built the Cannabis Business Summit to be the highest-value event for cannabis industry leaders – in business, in education, and in advocacy,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of NCIA.. “This award confirms that we’re succeeding in fostering the critical intersection of commerce, policy, and community it takes for our industry to grow, and grow the right way.”

The Summit celebrates its fifth anniversary this year and has long been known as the most influential event in the cannabis industry. NCIA recently announced that James Cole, former deputy attorney general of the United States and author of the ‘Cole Memo,’ which fundamentally shifted the landscape for legal cannabis businesses in America, will be the featured keynote speaker at this year’s event.

The 2018 Cannabis Business Summit is expected to draw more than 7,500 cannabis industry professionals to San Jose, Calif., July 25-27.

NCIA shares the award with its event management partner, the Global Strategic Management Institute (GSMI).

Trade Show Executive awarded the “Fastest-Growing Annual Show” designation to the Cannabis Business Summit based on percentage of growth in net square feet of paid exhibit space and number of exhibiting companies.

Rep. Barbara Lee Introduces Measure Supporting Equity in the Legal Cannabis Industry

  

Resolution urges state and local governments to institute policies to increase access to cannabis business licenses for communities most harmed by prohibition

  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A resolution decrying the racial disparities in cannabis enforcement and urging improved access to cannabis business licensing for marginalized communities in states where it is legal was introduced in the House of Representatives today by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).

The Realizing Equitable & Sustainable Participation in Emerging Cannabis Trades (RESPECT) Resolution brings attention to the racially discriminatory enforcement of marijuana prohibition, and recognizes that the people most harmed by prohibition benefit the least from some of the state and local policies regulating the cannabis market.

The resolution urges state and local leaders to implement a series of practices when granting licenses for legal cannabis businesses to improve access for these communities to the nascent industry, such as minimal application and license fees, no caps on the number of licenses, increased local control of the licensing process, and removing broad felony and cannabis convictions as automatic disqualifiers for participation. It also suggests methods to help undo some of the harms caused by prohibition, including a cost-free process for expunging past marijuana convictions, using cannabis tax revenue to benefit small businesses and marginalized communities, ensuring local cannabis regulatory bodies are representative of their communities, and creating legal spaces for social consumption.

“We commend Congresswoman Lee for bringing attention to the unjust and racially disparate harms caused by prohibition enforcement and the need for equal access to opportunities created by the burgeoning cannabis industry as more and more states move away from the old policies of prohibition,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA).

On May 23, Rep. Lee joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers for a press conference at the U.S. Capitol hosted by NCIA to speak about the need for the cannabis industry to be treated fairly and regulated in a manner that encourages participation by people of color.

Senate Committee Approves Medical Cannabis Protections in Appropriations Spending Bill

Senate Committee Approves Medical Cannabis Protections in Appropriations Spending Bill

 

Historic move is first time provision to protect state medical cannabis programs from federal interference has been included in original Senate legislation; language was amended to previous spending bills since 2014

 

Washington, D.C. –  The Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation that would renew protections for state medical cannabis programs when the current spending budget expires in September. The language, which was introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), prevents the Department of Justice from using any resources to target medical cannabis patients or providers who are in compliance with state laws.

This is the first time that this provision has been included in the original language of the spending bill by either chamber of Congress. Originally added to the federal budget in 2014, this restriction was consistently renewed as an amendment by the Senate or House Appropriations Committees or a continuing resolution in subsequent budgets, most recently in March. Current protections are set to expire on September 30 unless the new spending bill is approved or the current budget is extended.

“Once again, members of Congress have signaled that protecting state-legal medical cannabis is no longer a controversial issue,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “From protecting state medical cannabis programs from being targeted by federal law enforcement to growing support for allowing banks to work with the cannabis industry, lawmakers are increasingly unwilling to waste taxpayer money interfering with legal and responsible cannabis businesses.”

Last month, similar medical cannabis protections were amended to the House Appropriations spending bill in a committee vote.

Cannabis is legal in some form for medical purposes in 46 states. A Quinnipiac University poll released in April showed that 93% of voters support legal access to medical cannabis and 70% oppose enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have approved cannabis for medical or adult use.

Bipartisan Legislation Seeking to Protect State-Legal Marijuana Programs Introduced Today

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 7, 2018

CONTACT:
Morgan Fox, Media Relations Director
202-780-1302, Morgan@TheCannabisIndustry.org

 

Historic Bipartisan Legislation Seeking to Protect State-Legal Marijuana Programs Introduced Today

 

Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) Offer Comprehensive Solution to Federal Conflict with Cannabis Laws in 46 States and the District of Columbia  

 

Washington, DC – Bipartisan Senate legislation that would end the federal conflict with state marijuana laws was introduced today, amid growing public support for the legal cannabis industry.

The bipartisan legislation, Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2018, would exempt individuals in compliance with state marijuana laws and a set of new federal guidelines from certain provisions of the federal Controlled Substances Act. The legislation, announced in a press conference Thursday by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), does not remove federal criminal penalties for illicit marijuana behavior but would end federal interference with state and tribal laws that have regulated the production, sale, and personal consumption of cannabis for medical patients and adults age 21 and older.

A bipartisan companion bill was also introduced by Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) in the House.

“State-level marijuana reforms are successfully replacing criminal markets with tightly regulated businesses that contribute hundreds of millions in tax revenue and generate tens of thousands of jobs. This legislation allows states to make their own decisions on how cannabis is treated within their borders and would be an important step toward protecting the legal businesses that make up one of the nation’s fastest growing industries,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), in support of the bill. “Now that a majority of congressional representatives hail from states with some form of legal cannabis, we look forward to the passage of this important legislation so that states will no longer fear federal interference with their successful cannabis programs and our industry can reach its full potential as an alternative to underground markets.”

A Quinnipiac University poll released in April found 63% of Americans support legalizing marijuana and 70% oppose federal interference with state-authorized cannabis programs. Sen. Gardner announced in April that President Trump indicated that he would sign legislation supporting states’ rights on the issue.

The introduction of this landmark bill comes just two weeks after NCIA’s 8th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days, the largest Washington, D.C. fly-in for the legal marijuana industry. Over 200 cannabis industry professionals participated in hundreds of meetings with congressional offices to advocate in support of proposed federal marijuana reforms.

PRESS RELEASE: Members of Congress Join Cannabis Business Leaders at Nation’s Capitol to Advocate for Federal Marijuana Policy Reform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

CONTACT:
Morgan Fox, Media Relations Director
216-334-9564, Communications@TheCannabisIndustry.org

Members of Congress Join Cannabis Business Leaders at Nation’s Capitol to Advocate for Federal Marijuana Policy Reform

Cannabis industry conducting national lobbying this week to advocate for state-regulated cannabis programs and equitable treatment for legal businesses

Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, cannabis business leaders with the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) joined members of Congress at the U.S. Capitol to draw attention to the success of regulated legal cannabis programs around the country and to advocate for policy reforms to protect the legal industry.

Lawmakers including Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Matthew Gaetz (R-FL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Lou Correa (D-CA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), and Jared Polis (D-CO) voiced their support for preventing the federal government from prosecuting businesses operating in compliance with state laws, as well as current legislative efforts to open access to financial services, create parity in the tax code for legal cannabis businesses, end racial disparity in marijuana enforcement, and expand access to medical cannabis for our nation’s veterans.

This event coincides with NCIA’s 8th Annual Lobby Days, during which more than 200 cannabis industry leaders representing 23 states and the District of Columbia met with hundreds of congressional offices to discuss the success of legal cannabis programs and promote policies that will end governmental discrimination against their industry.

“The states have already proven that replacing the criminal marijuana markets with tightly-regulated and transparent small businesses is working,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “Now the responsibility falls on Congress to reform federal laws so that the legal cannabis industry can be treated fairly, like any other legitimate business sector in the U.S.”

Also on Wednesday, NCIA is releasing a new report analyzing the progress made in states where cannabis is legal for medical and adult use. The report provides a detailed look at the economic and social impact of legal cannabis programs, success in reducing access for minors, ways to address continuing racial disparity in marijuana enforcement as well as access to legal business opportunities, and the need for fairness in banking and tax policy.

The full report is available at https://thecannabisindustry.org/2018StateProgressReport.

To arrange interviews with Cannabis Industry Lobby Days participants or NCIA staff, please contactcommunications@thecannabisindustry.org.

NEXT WEEK: Cannabis Business Leaders Participate in National Advocacy Day for Legal Marijuana

MEDIA ADVISORY
Friday, May 18, 2018

CONTACT:
Morgan Fox, Media Relations Director
216-334-9564, Communications@TheCannabisIndustry.org

NEXT WEEK: Cannabis Business Leaders Participate in National Advocacy Day for Legal Marijuana

Washington, D.C. –  Next week, more than 200 cannabis industry leaders from across the country will descend upon Washington, D.C. for the National Cannabis Industry Association’s 8th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days. Over the course of the two-day event, citizen lobby meetings will be held with Congressional offices to discuss the positive economic and social impact that regulating cannabis markets has already had on states with modern marijuana laws and advocate for the fair treatment of the legal businesses created by those laws.

On Wednesday, May 23 at 9:30 AM EDT, cannabis business owners and members of Congress will hold a press conference at the House Triangle. They will discuss efforts to harmonize federal laws with the legal marijuana programs on the books in 46 states and the District of Columbia, including legislation to open access to financial services and create parity in the tax code for state-licensed cannabis businesses.

SAVE THE DATE: Wednesday, May 23 – 9:30-10:00 AM ET
Press Conference with Congressional Leaders and Legal Cannabis Professionals
House Triangle (House side of the Capitol’s East Front)
Washington, D.C. 20016
Members of the media may RSVP to communications@thecannabisindustry.org

Meetings between cannabis business leaders and congressional offices will take place throughout the day on both Tuesday, May 22 and Wednesday, May 23. Meetings are generally closed to the media. For other coverage options or to arrange interviews with attendees or NCIA staff, please contact communications@thecannabisindustry.org.

###

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization broadly representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

Congressional Committee Approves Medical Cannabis Protections in Appropriations Spending Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 17, 2018

CONTACT
Morgan Fox, Media Relations Director
216-334-9564, morgan@thecannabisindustry.org

Congressional Committee Approves Medical Cannabis Protections in Appropriations Spending Bill

Historic move is first time provision to protect state medical cannabis programs from federal interference has been included via House committee; language was amended to previous spending bills since 2014

Cannabis business leaders heading to Washington next week to continue momentum and push for more comprehensive reforms

Washington, D.C. –  The House Committee on Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) approved a measure in a voice vote on Thursday that would renew protections for state medical cannabis programs when the current spending budget expires in September. The amendment, which was introduced by Rep. David Joyce (R-OH), prevents the Department of Justice from using any resources to target medical cannabis patients or providers who are in compliance with state laws.

This is the first time that this language has been included in the spending bill by the House Appropriations Committee. Originally added to the federal budget in 2014, this restriction was consistently renewed as an amendment by the Senate Appropriations Committee or a continuing resolution in subsequent budgets, most recently in March. Current protections are set to expire on September 30 unless the new spending bill is approved or the current budget is extended.

“With 9-in-10 Americans supporting medical cannabis, it’s great to see that protecting legal providers has finally become a non-issue in Congress,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “Now, it’s time for Congress to expand these protections by preventing federal overreach in all state cannabis laws, including those that allow responsible adult use and have successfully replaced criminal markets with thriving, regulated industries.”   

Next week, more than 200 cannabis industry leaders from across the country will descend upon Washington, D.C. for the National Cannabis Industry Association’s 8th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days. Over the course of the three-day event, citizen lobby meetings will be held with Congressional offices to discuss the positive impacts that legal cannabis businesses are already having in their states and advocate for the fair treatment of the legal cannabis industry. For more information, please visit https://thecannabisindustry.org/ncias-8th-annual-cannabis-industry-lobby-days/

Cannabis is legal for adults in nine states and the District of Columbia, and 46 states have legalized some form of medical cannabis. A Quinnipiac University poll released last month showed that 93% of voters support legal access to medical cannabis and 70% oppose enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have approved cannabis for medical or adult use.

###

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization broadly representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

Steve Fox, Leading Advocate for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis, Assumes Expanded Role in Cannabis Industry’s Federal Lobbying Efforts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: April 26, 2018
Contact: Aaron Smith, Executive Director
(303) 223-9727 — Communications@TheCannabisIndustry.org

Steve Fox, Leading Advocate for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis, Assumes Expanded Role in Cannabis Industry’s Federal Lobbying Efforts

Long-time federal lobbyist, NCIA co-founder, and manager of Colorado’s successful 2012 legalization initiative to provide strategic guidance and direct lobbying services

NCIA further expands DC presence with the addition of marijuana policy veteran Morgan Fox as media relations director

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is pleased to announce that it has retained Steve Fox and his firm VS Strategies to play an expanded role in the organization’s federal lobbying efforts. Steve will be joining forces with NCIA’s three-person, full-time government relations staff and the association’s other retained lobbying firm, Federal Advocates.

Over the past 16 years, Steve has played a prominent role in reforming marijuana laws across the country. In addition to co-founding NCIA in 2010, he launched the SAFER campaign in Colorado in 2005 which changed perceptions of cannabis in that state by educating voters about the relatively low health risks associated with cannabis in comparison to alcohol, setting the stage for the historic success of the 2012 Amendment 64 campaign, which he managed.

“This is a pivotal time for our movement and for the cannabis industry,” said Aaron Smith, NCIA’s executive director. “NCIA has significantly added resources to our government affairs efforts year after year, and adding Steve to our team will be a tremendous asset as we continue that expansion. It is important that we replace the failed policies of marijuana prohibition with laws and regulations that set the foundation for a vibrant, equitable, and responsible cannabis industry with opportunities available to all American entrepreneurs. Steve has demonstrated a commitment to these kinds of policies at the state and federal level and we look forward to working with him to usher in comprehensive federal laws that facilitate these goals.”

Steve started his cannabis reform work in 2002 when he joined the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) as director of federal policies. In that role, while serving as the only full-time marijuana lobbyist on the Hill from 2002 through 2005, he successfully lobbied U.S. Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) to call for the first-ever pro-marijuana vote on the floor of the U.S. House on what is now known as the Rohrabacher Amendment.

In late 2016, Fox helped NCIA launch its Policy Council and became director of the Council, which produces materials to educate policymakers about cannabis industry-related matters and proposes legislative and/or regulatory solutions. Members of the VS Strategies team will continue to advance the work of the Policy Council, while Steve spends more of his time on direct lobbying in Washington, D.C.

“When I started lobbying to reform marijuana laws in 2002, it was hard to imagine we would eventually be where we are today,” said Steve Fox. “We are at the cusp of finally bringing an end to marijuana prohibition at the federal level and I am excited to re-engage with my full energy. Over the course of 16 years of advocacy on behalf of cannabis patients, consumers, and entrepreneurs, I have developed many valuable relationships. Through this new role with NCIA, my hope is to tap into these relationships and work with a broad range of companies and organizations as we collectively help shape the future of cannabis.”

NCIA is also announcing today the addition of Morgan Fox (no relation to Steve) to its staff in Washington, D.C. Morgan has spent close to 10 years as a communications professional with the Marijuana Policy Project, rising to the position of communications director. Starting in mid-May and leading into the association’s 8th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days, Morgan will serve as NCIA’s media relations director, ensuring that the issues facing the legal cannabis industry are discussed rationally in the press.  

###

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only one representing cannabis businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

Hundreds of Cannabis Business Leaders to Advocate for Fair Treatment During 8th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: April 23, 2018
Contact: Bethany Moore, Communications & Projects Manager
(303) 223-9727 — Communications@TheCannabisIndustry.org

Hundreds of Cannabis Business Leaders to Advocate for Fair Treatment During 8th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days

National Cannabis Industry Association members to meet with Congressional representatives to advocate for the fair treatment of the legal cannabis industry.

Washington, DC – On May 21-23, cannabis business leaders from across the country will convene in Washington, D.C., for the National Cannabis Industry Association’s 8th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days. Over the course of the three-day event, meetings will be held with Congressional representatives to discuss the negative impact that outdated federal prohibition has on the legal cannabis industry, which is a rapidly growing sector of the U.S. economy.

The fly-in takes place amid mounting support for regulated marijuana markets. In just the last few weeks, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced that President Trump will support federal cannabis policy reform, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced plans to introduce a bill that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, and former House Speaker John Boehner expressed support for legalization and joined the board of a legal cannabis company.

In addition to ultimately ending federal marijuana prohibition, the cannabis industry’s immediate priorities include a solution to the cannabis banking crisis, which prevents many legitimate businesses from accessing basic financial services, and reforming Section 280E of the federal tax code, which forces cannabis business to pay triple the effective federal tax rates of any other industry.

The Cannabis Industry Lobby Days will include a press conference with business leaders and members of Congress at the House Triangle on Wednesday, May 23 at 9:30 AM EDT. National Cannabis Industry Association staff and members will be available to the media throughout the three days.

###

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only one representing cannabis businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

 

National Cannabis Industry Association Responds to Minority Leader Schumer’s Announcement of New Marijuana Reform Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: April 19, 2018
Contact: Aaron Smith, Executive Director
(303) 223-9727 Communications@TheCannabisIndustry.org

National Cannabis Industry Association Responds to Minority Leader Schumer’s Announcement of New Marijuana Reform Legislation

Washington, D.C. – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced today that he will soon be introducing legislation that would remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances so that states could adopt their own cannabis programs.

“We agree with Senator Schumer that this legislation is long overdue and commend his leadership as the Senate’s top Democrat to finally modernize our nation’s marijuana policies. Removing cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act will allow states to continue to successfully regulate cannabis, undermine criminal markets, create new economic opportunities, and will pave the way to much-needed research into the therapeutic potential of cannabis,National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) Executive Director, Aaron Smith, stated in response to the announcement.

“We look forward to working with Sen. Schumer and his colleagues in Congress to advance federal legislation that will allow our industry to reach its full potential as one of America’s fastest growing business sectors,” Smith added.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of cannabis and nine states and D.C. permit the use of cannabis by adults over 21. An impressive 64 percent of Americans believe that cannabis should be made legal, while a national poll conducted in January found that 70 percent of Americans oppose federal interference in state marijuana laws.

As the nation’s largest cannabis trade association, NCIA represents over 1,500 businesses serving the legal cannabis industry. Hundreds of NCIA members will descend on Washington, D.C. May 21-23 for NCIA’s 8th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days to educate lawmakers on the social and economic benefits of regulating cannabis and to share the challenges they face due to the conflict between state and federal laws.

###

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only one representing cannabis businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

National Cannabis Industry Association Responds to Department of Justice’s Move to Rescind Marijuana Enforcement Guidelines

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2018
Contact: Aaron Smith, Executive Director
(303) 223-9727 — communications@thecannabisindustry.org

National Cannabis Industry Association Responds to Department of Justice’s Move to Rescind Marijuana Enforcement Guidelines

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice has rescinded the “Cole Memo” and two additional memos related to marijuana enforcement policy. These memos, issued in 2013 and 2014, have helped to clarify the Department’s response to state-legal cannabis activity.

In response to these developments, National Cannabis Industry Association Executive Director, Aaron Smith has issued the following statement:

This news from the Department of Justice is disturbing, especially in light of the fact that 73% of voters oppose federal interference with state cannabis laws. But, the rescinding of this memo does not necessarily mean that any major change in enforcement policy is on the horizon. This has been, and still will be, a matter of prosecutorial discretion. We therefore hope that Department of Justice officials, including U.S. Attorneys, will continue to uphold President Trump’s campaign promise to not interfere with state cannabis programs, which have been overwhelmingly successful in undercutting the criminal market.

In addition to safely regulating the production and sale of cannabis, state-based cannabis programs have created tens of thousands of jobs and generated more than a billion dollars in state and local tax revenue to date. Any significant change in federal enforcement policy will result in higher unemployment and will take funds away from education and other beneficial programs. Those revenues will instead go back to drug cartels and other criminal actors.

# # #

Representing well over 1,500 member-businesses nationwide, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only one representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

 

Cannabis Business Groups Raise Over $50,000 for California’s Fire Relief Efforts This Week

For Immediate Release
November 9, 2017
Contact: Bethany Moore
(303) 223-9727 — communications@thecannabisindustry.org

Santa Rosa, CA – The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), the nation’s largest trade association representing legal marijuana businesses, and its California affiliate, California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) hosted a fundraiser on the evening of Monday, November 6 in support of the Redwood Credit Union’s Fire Relief Fund.

Held at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek in Santa Rosa, over 200 cannabis professionals attended the event along with nearly 30 corporate sponsors, raising $52,415 for fire relief efforts.

The overall mood of the room was that of unity and solidarity with the local community, as many of the attendees were reconnecting for the first time since the fires ravaged the area. The evening featured speakers from several cannabis business organizations, including Aaron Smith of National Cannabis Industry Association, Lindsay Robinson of California Cannabis Industry Association, and Hezekiah Allen of California Growers Association. Attendees also heard from Santa Rosa City Council Member Ernesto Olivares and Paul Gullickson, Editorial Director at the Press Democrat, who reviewed the scope of the devastation in the area from the fires.

“The legal cannabis industry is replacing criminal markets with responsible businesses that are invested in the communities in which they operate,” said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith. “We are proud to be able to support the victims of the fires as they rebuild their homes and businesses in Sonoma County and the surrounding region.”

“We’re deeply grateful to the organizations and individuals who have generously donated to the North Bay Fire Relief fund to help support fire survivors and relief efforts in our community,” said Matt Martin, Redwood Credit Union’s Vice President of Community Relations.

This fundraiser is expected to be one of many hosted by the local cannabis industry in support of various fire relief efforts over the coming months.

Co-hosts of the event included Berkeley Patients Group, Boveda, California Growers Association, CCIA-Sonoma County, Flow Kana, Harborside Health Center, SPARC, and Sonoma County Growers Alliance.

###

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

NCIA Statement on House Rules Committee Decision to Block House Vote on Marijuana-related Appropriations Amendments, Including Medical Cannabis Protections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2017
Contact: Aaron Smith, Executive Director
(888) 683-5650 – communications@thecannabisindustry.org

NCIA Statement on House Rules Committee Decision to Block House Vote on Marijuana-related Appropriations Amendments, Including Medical Cannabis Protections

The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which protects state medical marijuana laws, is currently included in the Senate Appropriations bill; Conference committee could include amendment in final bill

Washington, DC – National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) executive director Aaron Smith issued the statement below in response to a late-night vote by the House Rules Committee to block the full House from voting on medical marijuana protections and several other cannabis-related amendments during its upcoming consideration of the omnibus Appropriations bill.

One of the amendments that will not be allowed a vote is the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment (previously known as Rohrabacher-Farr), which has been included in each annual budget since December 2014 and forbids the Justice Department from using federal tax dollars to interfere in the implementation of state medical cannabis laws. Other provisions that will not be allowed a vote include the McClintock-Polis amendment, which would have prohibited the Justice Department from interfering with states’ adult-use marijuana laws in addition to medical marijuana laws, and an amendment sponsored by Rep. Denny Heck that would have prevented the federal government from interfering with financial institutions that choose to service the legal cannabis industry.

According to a national Quinnipiac University poll released early last month, 94% of U.S. voters support legal access to medical cannabis and three out of four (75%) oppose the enforcement of federal prohibition laws in states where cannabis is legal for medical or adult use.

“The Committee’s decision to prevent consideration of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment attempts to move the country backward at a time when the vast majority of voters are looking to Congress to reform our nation’s outdated marijuana laws. Nine out of 10 Americans support legal access to medical cannabis, making it perhaps the least controversial issue in American politics. Voters of all political persuasions generally agree the federal government should not be using limited resources to interfere in state medical cannabis laws. Shutting down regulated medical cannabis businesses will result in licensed patients resorting to the criminal market to obtain their medicine.

“Fortunately, the amendment is currently included in the Senate’s Appropriations bill, so Congress still has a chance to protect patients and state-legal cannabis businesses in conference committee. We hope leaders on both sides of the aisle will work together to ensure this widely popular amendment is renewed in this year’s spending package.”

###

Representing over 1,400 member-businesses, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization working for cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

NCIA Statement on Senate Appropriations Approval of Medical Marijuana Protections

Washington, DCNational Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith issued the below statement in response to the Senate Appropriations Committee’s approval by voice vote today for the renewal of medical marijuana protections in the Department of Justice budget.

The provision, commonly known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, was offered in the committee by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). It amends the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, forbidding the use of federal funds to prevent the implementation of states’ medical cannabis laws. The amendment has been included in each annual budget bill since 2014.

“It’s great to see the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee stand up for medical cannabis patients, the responsible businesses that serve them, and the states that have worked hard to create safe, regulated programs. More than 90% of Americans favor medical marijuana policies, and this amendment is a common-sense way to respect that overwhelming support.

“Now it’s time for the House to do the same. Patients deserve access to care, states deserve respect, and members of the House deserve the opportunity to vote on amendments like this that have the strong support of their constituents.”

###

Media Release: Governors Urge Trump Administration to Respect State Marijuana Laws

Governors of First Four States to Regulate Adult Cannabis Sales Urge Trump Administration to Maintain Existing DOJ/Treasury Policies

Governors tell Attorney General Sessions and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, “Changes that hurt the regulated market would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states”

Washington, D.C. – Today, the governors of the first four states to have regulated cannabis sales for all adults sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, urging the Trump Administration to maintain existing policies related to the enforcement of federal marijuana laws. In addition to providing justifications for maintaining existing policy, the governors also asked for the opportunity to engage with Administration officials prior to any possible change in regulatory or enforcement systems.

The signatories on the letter are Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington, and Governor Bill Walker of Alaska. Since November 2012, each of these states, following the passage of ballot initiatives by the voters, has regulated the cultivation, production, and sale of cannabis for all adults. In November 2016, the voters of California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada passed similar measures. Those states are now or soon will be in the process of crafting adult-use cannabis regulations.

The National Cannabis Industry Association welcomed this proactive approach from the governors and echoed the sentiments contained in the letter.

“There is no denying that regulated cannabis businesses are preferable to underground markets dominated by gangs and cartels,” said National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith. “The regulated markets are creating jobs, generating tax revenue, and taking marijuana sales off the streets. The Trump Administration should be working with the states to ensure the regulated markets are functioning properly and safely, not working against the states to shut them down. We hope, following this written request, there will be a thoughtful and productive dialogue between state and federal officials.”

The heart of the letter to Attorney General Sessions and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is the following paragraph, which details the dangers of changing current policy and underscores the benefit of maintaining the status quo:

“The Cole Memo and the related Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) guidance provide the foundation for state regulatory systems and are vital to maintaining control over marijuana in our states.  Overhauling the Cole Memo is sure to produce unintended and harmful consequences.  Changes that hurt the regulated market would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states.  Likewise, without the FinCEN guidance, financial institutions will be less willing to provide services to marijuana-related businesses.  This would force industry participants to be even more cash reliant, posing safety risks both to the public and to state regulators conducting enforcement activity. The Cole Memo and FinCEN guidance strike a reasonable balance between allowing the states to enact reasonable regulations and the federal government’s interest in controlling some of the collateral consequences of legalization.” (emphasis added)

# # #

Read NCIA’s white paper providing real-world examples of how 280E harms small businesses across the country.

Meet the people who are building a cannabis industry based on compassionate care, responsible education, and cutting-edge innovation – WeAreTheCannabisIndustry.com

Representing well over 1,000 member-businesses nationwide, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only one representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

 

Media Release: Sweeping Bipartisan Marijuana Bills Introduced in Congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2017
Contact: Aaron Smith, Executive Director
(303) 223-3554 — aaron@thecannabisindustry.org

Bipartisan Members of U.S. Senate and House Introduce Sweeping Measures to Reform Marijuana Policy and Support Cannabis Businesses

In a key development, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Republican member of House Ways and Means Committee, joins Rep. Earl Blumenauer as lead sponsor of critical 280E tax reform bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives introduced seven measures to advance more sensible cannabis policy at the federal level. The bills covered a broad range of issues related to resolving the tension between state and federal cannabis laws.

“The flurry of bills on the Hill today are a reflection of the growing support for cannabis policy reform nationally,” said National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) executive director Aaron Smith. “State-legal cannabis businesses have added tens of thousands of jobs, supplanted criminal markets, and generated tens of millions in new tax revenue. States are clearly realizing the benefits of regulating marijuana and we are glad to see a growing number of federal policy makers are taking notice.”

The Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2017, introduced in the House by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and in the Senate by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), would allow state-legal cannabis businesses to take normal business deductions like any other legal business. Currently, the law prohibits cannabis businesses from deducting expenses related to sales.

“Cannabis businesses aren’t asking for tax breaks or special treatment,” said Smith. “They are just asking to be taxed like any other legitimate business. NCIA and its members appreciate this strong support for a fair approach, and we’re especially proud to newly gain that support from Rep. Curbelo.”

The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, introduced in the House by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), would regulate marijuana like alcohol by inserting marijuana into the section of the U.S. Code that regulates “intoxicating liquors.” It would give oversight authority to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and would establish a permitting system to cover the cost of that oversight.

The Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap (RAMP) Act, introduced by Sen. Wyden and Rep. Blumenauer in their respective chambers, covers a broad range of issues at the federal level, including banking and tax fairness for businesses, civil forfeiture, and drug testing for federal employees. The two Oregon officials see the provisions in this bill, collectively, along with the other two bills introduced today, as the “Path to Marijuana Reform.”

The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act, introduced by Sen. Wyden and Rep. Blumenauer, contains the provisions included in the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act and the Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.

# # #

Read NCIA’s white paper providing real-world examples of how 280E harms small businesses across the country.

Meet the people who are building a cannabis industry based on compassionate care, responsible education, and cutting-edge innovation – WeAreTheCannabisIndustry.com

Representing well over 1,000 member-businesses nationwide, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only one representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

National Cannabis Industry Association Statement on Press Secretary’s Comments Regarding Trump Administration Marijuana Policy

Washington, DCNational Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith issued the following statement in response to Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s comments regarding the Trump Administration’s marijuana policy in the press briefing today:

“It would be a mistake for the Department of Justice to overthrow the will of the voters and state governments who have created carefully regulated adult-use marijuana programs. It would represent a rejection of the values of economic growth, limited government, and respect for federalism that Republicans claim to embrace.

“These programs are working. Marijuana interdictions at the Mexican border are down substantially, youth use has not increased in states with legal access to cannabis, and responsible cannabis businesses are contributing tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact to their communities.

“The American people overwhelmingly support this approach. National polls show that 60% of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal for adult use. Furthermore, 71% of Americans – including majorities in both parties and every age group – oppose the federal government cracking down on these voter-supported programs.

“It was especially disappointing to hear Press Secretary Spicer refer to the opioid crisis in relation to marijuana. Science has discredited the idea that marijuana serves as any kind of gateway drug, and the addiction and death rates associated with opioids simply do not occur in any way with cannabis. In fact, scientific research increasingly shows that access to cannabis significantly decreases rates of opioid addiction and death.

“As a candidate, President Trump said on many occasions that he believed marijuana policy – both medical and adult-use – should be left to the states. When asked if he would allow his Attorney General to shut down adult-use programs like Colorado’s, he said, ‘I wouldn’t do it – no…I think it should be up to the states, absolutely.’

“Voters agree, and that should guide the administration’s policy.”