November 9, 2016

A Marijuana Mandate: NCIA Looks to a New Era for Cannabis Policy

“The tipping point has come,” as 16M+ voters choose legal, regulated approaches to marijuana in at least 7 states, putting new pressure on Congress to act


Washington, DC – The National Cannabis Industry Association, the nation’s largest cannabis trade association, today looked ahead to a new era for marijuana policy in the United States. At least seven states – Arkansas, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota – voted to open up legal, regulated cannabis access for either medical purposes or adult use. (Maine, voting on adult-use legalization, could push that number to eight, but currently remains too close to call.)

“Last night’s results send a simple message – the tipping point has come,” said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith.

“Voters have spoken clearly in states across the country. More than 16 million voters, including in two of the three most populated states in the nation, chose legal, regulated cannabis programs that promote safety, boost the economy, help sick patients, and address social injustices.

“It’s time for our leaders in Washington, D.C., to hear those voters. Responsible cannabis businesses are contributing to the economy and to their communities, and they’re here to stay.

“Now Congress and the new administration should work to protect patients, treat small businesses fairly, and respect the will of the voters in more than half the states in this country.”

More than 60% of Americans now live in medical or adult-use cannabis states. The projected value of the legal cannabis industry in the U.S. for 2016 is $6.7 billion, and that market value is expected to grow to $21.8 billion by 2020.

Priorities for congressional action on cannabis policy include:

  • Protecting public safety and increasing transparency by opening up banking access for state compliant-marijuana businesses;
  • Ending the crippling effect of federal tax code Section 280E, which was intended for criminals but taxes legitimate marijuana businesses at triple the effective rates applied to other businesses; and
  • Descheduling marijuana – removing it from the Controlled Substances Act, which would allow states to set their cannabis policies without interference from the federal government, much as they currently do with alcohol.


NCIA Statement on DEA’s Rejection of Marijuana Rescheduling Petitions

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