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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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)

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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.”

NCIA Statement on Confirmation of Sen. Sessions for Attorney General

Washington, DCNational Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith issued the following statement in response to Senator Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as new U.S. Attorney General:

“We look forward to Attorney General Sessions maintaining the current federal policy of respect for legal, regulated cannabis programs in the states, and we will work with him to do that. That policy, as outlined by the Cole Memo, has allowed carefully designed state regulatory programs approved by voters and lawmakers to move forward, while maintaining the Justice Department’s commitment to pursuing criminals and prosecuting bad actors.

“A change in policy will lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in marijuana sales shifting from state-regulated businesses back to the criminal, underground market.

“State-legal cannabis businesses generate billions of dollars in economic activity and support tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. 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. President Trump has promised Americans a thriving economy, and these businesses play a key role in 28 states.

“The many small businesses of the cannabis industry contribute not only to the economy, but also to the quality of life of our citizens, by helping countless critically ill patients, veterans managing PTSD, and parents combating a child’s epilepsy. Those small business owners are building a community dedicated to responsibility, professionalism, and engagement.”

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RELEASE: NCIA Announces Winners of First-Ever Cannavation and Cannatech Awards

Cannabis industry leaders in cultivation, infused products and extraction, and sales strategies honored at national business-to-business seed to sale show

 

DENVER — The National Cannabis Industry Association, the only national trade association representing the businesses of the legal marijuana industry, yesterday announced the first-ever winners of the NCIA Cannavation and Cannatech Awards, as well as the recipient of NCIA’s first Industry Excellence Award.

The awards were presented at Denver’s Seed To Sale Show, the nation’s only business-to-business conference focused solely on innovative best practices, science, and cutting-edge technology in cannabis cultivation, processing, and sales strategies. The Seed To Sale Show took place at the Colorado Convention Center, hosting approximately 2,000 cannabis professionals and more than 100 industry exhibitors.

The Cannavation and Cannatech Awards, the industry’s most prestigious awards show, was developed to recognize trailblazing individuals and companies driving the growth and elevation of the cannabis industry.

“The winners of our inaugural Cannavation and Cannatech Awards exemplify the innovation and creativity that is driving the cannabis industry,” said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith. “These technologies are moving our industry toward ever-greater energy efficiency, transparency, and responsibility. We’re proud to recognize these leaders.”

Determined by nominations from NCIA members, the Cannavation Awards were given to one member each in the categories of Cultivation, Infused Products and Extractions, and Sales Strategies who have disrupted and advanced the industry by bringing an innovative idea to life, The Cannatech Awards were given to a member in each category who has developed new technology that will change the industry for the better.

Winners of this year’s NCIA Cannavation and Cannatech Awards are:

Cannavation Award

  • Cultivation – urban-gro
  • Infused Products and Extractions – Mary’s Medicinal
  • Sales Strategies – BDS Analytics

Cannatech Award

  • Cultivation – Guardian Data Systems
  • Infused Products and Extractions – Paradigm Supercritical Innovations, LLC
  • Sales Strategies – Native Roots

NCIA also presented the esteemed Industry Excellence Award to Neal Levine of Colorado’s LivWell Enlightened Health, for the company’s exemplary community engagement, political advocacy and education within the industry.

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NCIA Statement on Sen. Sessions’ Comments Today Regarding Marijuana Policy

Washington, DCNational Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith issued the following statement in response to Sen. Jeff Sessions’ comments about the federal approach to marijuana policy in today’s Attorney General confirmation hearing:

“In today’s hearing, Senator Sessions indicated that the Justice Department’s current guidelines for marijuana policy enforcement are ‘truly valuable’ in setting departmental priorities. That belief, along with the support for state sovereignty on cannabis policy expressed by President-elect Trump and his team, should lead Sen. Sessions to maintain the current federal policy of respect for state-legal, regulated cannabis programs if he is confirmed as Attorney General.

“Sen. Sessions also highlighted the conflict created by a Congress that has failed to reflect the will of the voters on cannabis policy. Voters in 28 states, representing approximately 60% of the nation’s population, have now chosen some form of legal, regulated cannabis program. National polling shows that 60% of Americans believe cannabis should be legalized. It’s time for federal lawmakers to represent the clear choices of their constituents.

“The current federal policy, as outlined by the Cole Memo, has respected carefully designed state regulatory programs while maintaining the Justice Department’s commitment to pursuing criminals and prosecuting bad actors. In return, the responsible cannabis industry has helped countless critically ill patients, contributed billions of dollars to the economy and to tax coffers, taken marijuana out of the criminal market and put it behind a regulated counter, and dealt a significant blow to international cartels and traffickers.”

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

NCIA Launches “We Are The Cannabis Industry” Campaign with Profiles, Digital Ads

Washington, D.C. – The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) today launched We Are The Cannabis Industry, a campaign designed to tell the stories of real people who work in America’s legal marijuana industry and highlight how the emerging business sector is creating significant benefits for both individuals and the economy.

“Cannabis businesses generate billions of dollars in economic activity and support tens of thousands of jobs,” said Aaron Smith, NCIA executive director. “The people of the industry provide compassionate care for patients, responsible education for consumers, and cutting-edge innovation for quality and safety. We’re proud to tell their stories.”

The campaign’s cornerstone is an online site featuring a diverse cross-section of cannabis professionals whose expertise and personal experiences underpin a $7 billion industry.

The launch of the campaign also includes a D.C.-focused digital advertising buy, the first of its kind for the industry.

Scott Yoss Shirlee McDaniels

The first four profiles each highlight a specific aspect of the benefits of a legal, regulated cannabis industry.

  • Scott Yoss works for a dispensary in Denver, where he focuses not just on sales, but on educating his customers about safe, responsible cannabis usage.
  • Brian Eberhart is the assistant manager of a dispensary in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Marine Corps veteran who became addicted to opiate painkillers after a military training injury. He credits cannabis with helping him overcome his addiction, and the cannabis industry with giving him a new career path and opportunity for advancement.
  • Shirlee McDaniels avoided opiates altogether after knee and hip replacement by treating her pain with medical cannabis. Now she works in a Denver dispensary and uses her experience to help other patients explore their options safely.
  • Roger Schulz lost his long-time job with a plastics manufacturer in Ohio during the recession. He was unemployed for three years until he was connected with an Ohio-based advanced manufacturer that makes high-tech cannabis oil extraction machines and systems. Now he’s back to work, in an industry with huge economic vibrancy and growth potential.

New profiles will be posted to the site regularly in the coming weeks.

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NCIA Statement on Nomination of Sen. Sessions for Attorney General

Washington, DCNational Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith issued the following statement in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general:

“Voters in 28 states have chosen programs that shift cannabis from the criminal market to highly regulated, tax-paying businesses. Senator Sessions has long advocated for state sovereignty, and we look forward to working with him to ensure that states’ rights and voter choices on cannabis are respected.”

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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.

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NCIA Statement on DEA’s Rejection of Marijuana Rescheduling Petitions

NCIA executive director Aaron Smith: “DEA’s decision flies in the face of objective science and overwhelming public opinion.”

 

Washington, DCNational Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith issued the following statement tonight in response to reports that the Drug Enforcement Administration will reject petitions to remove marijuana from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, which declares it to have no medical use and places it on par with much more dangerous drugs like heroin:

“DEA’s decision flies in the face of objective science and overwhelming public opinion. The reality is that half of U.S. states have already passed effective laws allowing patients legal access to medical cannabis, and it is changing lives.

“Continuing marijuana prohibition forces critically ill people to suffer needlessly, leaves life-changing treatments undeveloped, and keeps patients and providers in limbo between state and federal laws.

“We appreciate the positive step – however small – of opening up a few additional avenues for medical marijuana research. But patients deserve more, and Congress should help them by removing marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act, allowing state programs and medical research to move forward without interference.”

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NCIA Provides Testimony for Today’s Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Medical Marijuana

NCIA executive director Aaron Smith: “It’s long past time for our government to bring marijuana policy into alignment with the science.”

 

Washington, DC – The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing today at 2:30pm ET on the potential medical benefits of marijuana. National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith was invited to submit written testimony to entered into the record of the hearing.

Below are some excerpts from Smith’s testimony, followed by the full text.

Testimony excerpts:

“The medical community and the American public have been aware of the medicinal benefits of cannabis for decades. Sadly, however, the federal government has yet to engage in any meaningful research on medical cannabis. The DEA has put up bureaucratic roadblocks to legitimate science and has severely limited, if not completely obstructed, legitimate researchers who would study cannabis’ benefits. The result? Americans are denied the opportunity to see the results of FDA-approved, double-blind studies demonstrating the benefits of medical marijuana, while elected officials erroneously point to the lack of these studies as evidence of a lack of therapeutic benefits.”

“It’s long past time for our government to bring marijuana policy into alignment with the science and allow states to regulate cannabis properly without federal interference. This would replace the criminal market for marijuana, including medical marijuana, with a regulated, tax-paying business sector that is committed to the compassionate care, health, and wellness of its patients, rather than to generating profit at any cost.”

Full testimony as submitted:

Testimony Submitted for the Record
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
Hearing on:
“Researching the Potential Medical Benefits and Risks of Marijuana”

Aaron Smith, Executive Director
National Cannabis Industry Association

July 13, 2016

Thank you Chairman Graham and Ranking Member Whitehouse for convening this very important hearing and for the opportunity to submit testimony for the record. I am Aaron Smith, co-founder and executive director for the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA).

NCIA is the only national trade association advancing the interests of the legitimate and responsible cannabis industry. Our industry supports tens of thousands of jobs, tens of millions in tax revenue, and billions in economic activity. Our membership includes more than 1,000 businesses across 40 states, including hundreds of state-regulated cannabis dispensaries that provide medicine for thousands of patients.

In my many years working in this industry, I have met countless people, heard numerous stories, and witnessed first-hand people who have benefited significantly from medical cannabis, especially when other medicines had failed to remedy their underlying maladies. The evidence is overwhelming — the results of medicinal cannabis have been nothing short of amazing.

Despite years of experience and positive results, questions about medical cannabis remain.

Is Cannabis Addictive?

According to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine’s 1999 report, Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base,

Compared to most other drugs … dependence among marijuana users is relatively rare … [A]lthough few marijuana users develop dependence, some do. But they appear to be less likely to do so than users of other drugs (including alcohol and nicotine), and marijuana dependence appears to be less severe than dependence on other drugs.”

In other words, cannabis is safer than alcohol and most prescription drugs on the market. In fact, on July 6th of this year, National Public Radio broadcast a story on how Medicare prescriptions for many drugs actually drop after medical marijuana is legalized in a state.

Yesterday the Senate debated S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. It is our view that no debate on opioid addiction should take place without discussing how using cannabis to treat chronic pain can help alleviate the need for addictive painkillers. In fact, if doctors and other medical professionals across this country were able to recommend cannabis to their patients in appropriate circumstances and under medical supervision, we believe we would diminish the over-prescribing, dependency, and abuse of opioids we see today.

Research supports this theory. A study published by JAMA Internal Medicine in August of 2015 concluded that states with legal medical marijuana access saw a 25% drop in annual deaths from opioid pharmaceutical overdoses. A report published in Health Affairs this month found that a typical doctor in a state that had legalized medical marijuana prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers per year.

What Conditions Can Cannabis Treat?

People who are suffering from cancer, glaucoma, AIDS or HIV, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis C, and multiple sclerosis have found relief by using marijuana. Marijuana is also used to treat cachexia, anorexia, and wasting syndrome; severe or chronic pain or nausea; seizure disorders (such as epilepsy); arthritis; migraines; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); and Alzheimer’s disease. This is why medical cannabis is supported by, among others:

  • American College of Physicians
  • American Nurses Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • Lymphoma Foundation of America
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • Epilepsy Foundation
  • American Academy of HIV Medicine
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society

What Does the Research Say About Medical Marijuana?

As a California native, I remember in 1999 when the California legislature passed S.B. 847, which commissioned the University of California to establish a scientific program to expand the public scientific knowledge on purported therapeutic usages of marijuana. The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) at UCSD, produced a report with a conclusion that read,

As a result of this program of systematic research, we now have reasonable evidence that cannabis is a promising treatment in selected pain syndromes caused by injury or diseases of the nervous system, and possibly for painful muscle spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. Obviously more research will be necessary to elucidate the mechanisms of action and the full therapeutic potential of cannabinoid compounds. Meanwhile, the knowledge and new findings from the CMCR provide a strong science-based context in which policy makers and the public can discuss the place of these compounds in medical care.”

The medical community and the American public have been aware of the medicinal benefits of cannabis for decades. Sadly, however, the federal government has yet to engage in any meaningful research on medical cannabis. The DEA has put up bureaucratic roadblocks to legitimate science and has severely limited, if not completely obstructed, legitimate researchers who would study cannabis’ benefits. The result? Americans are denied the opportunity to see the results of FDA-approved, double-blind studies demonstrating the benefits of medical marijuana, while elected officials erroneously point to the lack of these studies as evidence of a lack of therapeutic benefits.

Why Is Marijuana Classified as a Schedule I Substance?

By every objective measure, it makes no sense that federal law classifies cannabis as a Schedule I substance alongside dangerous drugs like heroin. Moving marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II would acknowledge that it has medical benefits, but would still classify marijuana on equal footing with much more dangerous drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines. There is no reason for Congress to move marijuana from one inappropriate schedule to another inappropriate schedule.

Ultimately, marijuana should be removed from the list of federally controlled substances, enabling states to enact their own approaches to marijuana laws, including medical marijuana laws, without the existing conflict between state and federal law. This will also allow expansion of research into the medical value of marijuana.

It’s long past time for our government to bring marijuana policy into alignment with the science and allow states to regulate cannabis properly without federal interference. This would replace the criminal market for marijuana, including medical marijuana, with a regulated, tax-paying business sector that is committed to the compassionate care, health, and wellness of its patients, rather than to generating profit at any cost.

Thank you again for the opportunity to submit testimony for the record. We urge you to permit researchers to study marijuana’s medical benefits. The evidence is simply too great to ignore.

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NCIA Calls on Congress to Restore Commonsense, Majority-Favored Marijuana Proposals to Appropriations Bills

Despite bipartisan, majority support in House and Senate, leadership blocks fix to dangerous banking crisis and strips provision allowing V.A. doctors to discuss medical marijuana with patients

 

Washington, DC – Recent actions by congressional leadership have derailed two commonsense, majority-favored marijuana policy reform proposals that had been expected to pass through the appropriations process. Today, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) called on members of Congress to work to restore those provisions as the budget negotiation process continues.

“Bipartisan majorities in the House and the Senate have supported the commonsense, compassionate ideas that law-abiding cannabis businesses shouldn’t be forced into dangerous all-cash operations, and that veterans who have put themselves in harm’s way for our country should be able to learn about how medical marijuana could help them deal with the physical and psychological aftermath of their sacrifices,” said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith.

“It was deeply disappointing to see those policies blocked behind closed doors this week. Given American voters’ overwhelming support of medical marijuana access, and the critical public safety issues caused by cannabis businesses’ lack of bank access, we call on lawmakers to stand up for their constituents and work to get these majority-supported provisions restored in the final budget.”

Last week, a former U.S. Marine working as a security guard at a licensed Colorado dispensary was killed by two armed robbers who likely targeted the dispensary because it is widely known that cannabis businesses without bank accounts are forced to keep large amounts of cash on their premises.

But on Wednesday, the House Rules Committee blocked any debate or vote on the Heck-Perlmutter amendment to the Treasury Appropriations bill which would have prevented funds from being used to sanction banks doing business with state-compliant marijuana businesses. This could have opened up banking access for legitimate marijuana businesses, easing the public safety crisis that has been created by forcing cannabis businesses to operate in all cash.

A similar amendment recently passed in the Senate Appropriations Committee on a bipartisan vote, and two years ago, the House passed it easily on a bipartisan vote with a 39-vote margin.

Early Thursday morning, a conference committee of House and Senate leaders stripped out an amendment to the Veterans Administration funding bill which would have allowed V.A. doctors to discuss medical marijuana with their patients in states where medical marijuana access is legal. Medical marijuana has shown substantial promise as a therapy for chronic pain, PTSD, and other issues with which many veterans struggle. The V.A. amendment had already passed with majority, bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate during regular debate.

A CBS News national poll from April shows that 56% of Americans support full legalization of marijuana, with 90% supporting legalization for medical use.

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Cannabis Expert Calling Network (ECN) Unveiled at Cannabis Business Summit and Expo

National Cannabis Industry Association Knowledge-Sharing Platform Features Cannabis Industry Thought Leaders and Experts

Oakland, CA – The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and Brainsy, Inc., today unveiled the Cannabis Expert Calling Network (ECN®), a knowledge-sharing platform connecting cannabis industry experts with information-seekers and entrepreneurs online or via paid telephone consultations.

The Cannabis ECN is accessible at https://cannabis.expertcallingnetwork.com and features NCIA members who create personalized profiles to showcase their expertise on a range of cannabis topics. Experts can designate their expertise in a variety of categories including: Industry Introduction, General Consulting, Compliance and Policy, Advanced Business Practices, Cultivation, Dispensaries, Extractions & Infused Products, Marketing & Media, Medical, and Money Matters.

“We’re seeing a huge demand for the exchange of knowledge as so many new people and businesses across the U.S. enter the cannabis industry,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of NCIA. “With the Cannabis Expert Calling Network, advice-seekers can connect with established industry experts in a way that’s simple and clearly structured. It’s a win-win for our members and for anyone looking for cannabis industry expertise.”

Experts participating in the launch of the ECN include a who’s-who of cannabis industry veterans and leaders. Many ECN experts will also be speakers or panelists during NCIA’s 3rd Annual Cannabis Business Summit and Expo, June 20-22, in Oakland, Ca. Conference attendees who wish to talk with a speaker or panelist after the conference ends can request a one-on-one phone call with the participating expert through the ECN. Discussions can range from fifteen to sixty minutes in duration.

“As so many new states open up medical or adult-use cannabis markets, those of us already working in the industry have a huge amount of hard-won experience and knowledge to offer. The Cannabis ECN makes it easy for people to find us and for us to get compensated for sharing our time and expertise,” stated Jaime Lewis, CEO and Founder of Mountain Medicine, a participating expert.

At the core of the Cannabis ECN platform are cutting-edge knowledge-sharing tools including Brainsy’s patented ECN transactional calling platform. Experts also have access to features of the Personal Media ECN, including the ECN InCall® badge which enables experts to monetize their social media presence on other platforms such as Twitter or LinkedIn.

“The rapidly changing landscape and growth in the cannabis industry make it ripe for innovation and entrepreneurs,” stated Brian Christie, CEO of Brainsy, the ECN Platform provider. “We are pleased to be working with a well-respected and pioneering association such as NCIA to help make knowledge and expertise in the responsible and legitimate cannabis industry more accessible to people across the nation.”

The Cannabis ECN is made possible in part by the generous support of companies such as docGreens, CannaCon, and Dixie Elixirs. 

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THIS WEEK IN CALIFORNIA: 3,000+ Cannabis Professionals Gather at NCIA’s Cannabis Business Summit in Oakland, Including ‘Who’s Who’ of Cannabis Industry Leaders

As California prepares to consider cannabis legalization, the most influential marijuana business event in the industry starts TOMORROW in Oakland, featuring CA Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Numi Tea CEO Ahmed Rahim, industry leaders, federal lawmakers, and three days of in-depth education and networking

 

Oakland, CA – As California looks ahead to a potential vote on adult-use marijuana legalization in November, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) will hold its third annual national conference, the Cannabis Business Summit and Expo, in Oakland this week.

More than 3,000 cannabis professionals from 16 countries will gather at the Oakland Marriott City Center, June 20-22, including a “who’s who” of industry leaders and policy makers. The Summit takes place at a crucial time in history, with California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) ballot initiative expected to be certified for November voting, and the campaign fully underway.

(For information on media passes for the Summit, please see the bottom of this release.)

California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will deliver the policy keynote address on Tuesday, June 21, at 11:00am. Newsom, who is running for Governor of California in 2018, is a key supporter for marijuana reform and legalization and a high-profile advocate for the benefits of embracing a legitimate cannabis industry.

Numi Organic Tea CEO and co-founder Ahmed Rahim will deliver the business keynote on Tuesday at 10:15am, sharing insights into his company’s embrace of the “quadruple bottom line” approach, best practices in moving toward organics and fair trade, and the importance and benefits of connecting with the local community. Rahim will be joined by Nutiva CEO and founder John Roulac and Denver Relief Consulting founding partner Kayvan Khalatbari.

NCIA, the only national trade association representing the businesses of the legal marijuana industry, moved the Cannabis Business Summit to California this year after two years in Denver.

Other Summit highlights include:

    • Putting It To a Vote: A Hard Look at Ballot Measures and Post- Election Predictions” with senior leaders of the Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, and NCIA (Tuesday at 2:00pm)
    • “New Market Segments: Skincare, Health, and Beauty Products” (Tuesday at 3:00pm)
    • “What an Investor Wants: Insights from Investors for Securing Financing and Avoiding Risk” (Tuesday at 4:00pm)
    • “Keeping the Soul of the Movement Alive in the Industry” with Steve DeAngelo of Harborside Health Center and Cody Bass of Tahoe Wellness Collective (Wednesday at 10:00am)
    • Best Approaches to Federal Legalization” with John Hudak of the Brookings Institute and Sarah Trumble of Third Way (Wednesday at 11:15am)
    • “Money Talks: Updates on the Cannabis Banking Issue” (Wednesday at 1:15pm)
    • Golden Opportunity: The Industry’s Role in California Legalization” with leaders involved in California’s adult-use legalization effort (Wednesday at 3:15pm)

A full list of speakers and a detailed agenda, can be found at CannabisBusinessSummit.com.

Several topic-oriented tracks will give attendees the opportunity to focus on their areas of expertise. Tracks offered include:

  • The Fine Print: Money, Law, and Your Business
  • Cultivation and Processing
  • Running Your Cannabusiness
  • Policy and Reform
  • Medical Applications of Cannabis
  • Leading Edge: Emerging Topics in the Cannabis Industry

Featured educational sessions will highlight some of the industry’s most influential pioneers and innovators.

Media passes for the Cannabis Business Summit may be requested by emailing communications@thecannabisindustry.org. Please include the full name of the individual seeking a pass, the media outlet represented, and an email address and phone number where he or she can be reached. While NCIA will make every effort to honor legitimate requests, capacity is limited, so passes are not guaranteed.

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Senate Appropriators Vote to Open Banking for Cannabis Businesses

Appropriations amendment would prevent penalties for banks serving state-compliant marijuana businesses

 

WASHINGTON, DC – A U.S. Senate committee voted today in support of opening up banking services to state-legal marijuana businesses. By a vote of 16-14, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, forbidding the use of federal funds to penalize financial institutions that serve marijuana businesses operating legally under state law. The amendment was offered by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

“For the second year in a row, the Senate’s budget writers have voted to address the banking crisis facing our industry,” said National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith. “Access to basic banking services is one of the most critical challenges facing legal cannabis businesses and the state agencies tasked with regulating them.”

“While an appropriations amendment isn’t a permanent fix to the banking problem, it is a significant step to correct a dangerous and unfair burden on responsible small-business owners and regulators.

“Bipartisan coalitions in both chambers have supported these reforms. It’s time to make them the law of the land.”

A similar amendment was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee in 2015, but was not debated in the House and was ultimately stripped out during final omnibus budget negotiations. In 2014, a similar amendment was passed overwhelming by the full House of Representatives, but was not debated in the Senate and was dropped during omnibus negotiations. The House has not yet debated the Financial Services Appropriations bill in 2016, but a repeat of the cannabis banking amendment is anticipated if and when that debate takes place.

Stand-alone legislation has also been introduced in both the House and the Senate which would permanently address the cannabis banking issue. The Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act (S.1726 and H.R.2076) has received bipartisan support in both chambers.

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NCIA Debuts New Interactive Policy Map Powered by CannaRegs and New Frontier

CannaRegs offering demo of map and enhanced state regulation tracking services at NCIA’s Cannabis Business Summit

 

Denver, CO – The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), in partnership with association members CannaRegs and New Frontier, announce the launch of a new State-by-State Marijuana Policies Map, providing a valuable, regularly updated overview of every state’s approach to cannabis and cannabis markets. This free resource, now available on NCIA’s website, will enable NCIA members and people interested in joining the cannabis industry to stay up-to-date with each state’s cannabis regulations and market size estimates.

The interactive map provides policy information compiled by CannaRegs, a web-based subscription service that provides enhanced access to all cannabis-related rules and regulations. The map’s information includes medical and adult-use laws, as well as the number of licenses for cannabis cultivations, dispensaries, manufacturers, and testing labs allowed and issued in the state, fee structures for applications and licenses, residency requirements, and qualifying medical conditions for patients.

The CannaRegs team will be on hand to demo the new feature, as well as their enhanced subscription services, at NCIA’s 3rd annual Cannabis Business Summit & Expo, June 20-22, in Oakland, California. To help NCIA further promote the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry, CannaRegs is also offering a 15% discount on its subscription service to all NCIA member businesses.

The map also includes current medical and adult-use sales estimates, as well as projected sales for the year 2020, provided by New Frontier, the industry analysis firm which publishes The State of Legal Marijuana Markets and other reports.

The information is updated as changes are made to regulations and more data becomes available. NOTE: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not legal advice or substitute for legal counsel.

“CannaRegs is excited to partner with NCIA in the creation and maintenance of the regulation map,” said Amanda Ostrowitz, founder of CannaRegs. “We are thrilled to help facilitate a service that will enable NCIA members to acquaint themselves with the regulatory landscapes of all 50 states. As the industry continues to evolve, it will become increasingly apparent that regulatory compliance is the foundation of successful businesses, and that easy access to all the law and regulation will be increasingly critical. As the laws continue to evolve the map will too so check back in often.”

“Thanks to the information provided by CannaRegs and New Frontier, visitors to the NCIA website now have a wealth of information at their fingertips,” said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith. “The cannabis industry is highly regulated and incredibly complicated, but our new map hits some of the most critical categories to give cannabis entrepreneurs and policymakers a valuable primer on markets across the nation.”

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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.

CannaRegs is a web-based subscription service for cannabis professionals that provides enhanced access to all cannabis-related rules and regulations from state, county, municipal, and federal sources, and aggregates these rules and regulations in an intuitive, easy-to-use database.

NCIA to Launch Knowledge-Sharing Platform Connecting Industry Experts with Entrepreneurs

First-of-its-kind Cannabis Expert Calling Network (ECN®) Kicks Off at NCIA’s Cannabis Business Summit and Expo

 

Washington, D.C. – The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and Brainsy, Inc., are collaborating to launch the Cannabis Expert Calling Network (ECN®), a knowledge-sharing platform connecting cannabis industry experts with entrepreneurs and information-seekers online and via paid telephone consultations.

NCIA members who are experts in their area of the cannabis industry will be invited to set up personalized profiles on the Cannabis ECN system, which allows information-seekers to find and contact them, then conduct over-the-phone consultations at a rate set by the expert.

“With so many new people and businesses entering the cannabis industry, there is a huge demand for knowledge exchange across a range of topics including cultivation and processing, dispensary operations, intellectual property, regulatory compliance, banking issues, and many more,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of NCIA.

“The Cannabis ECN will allow high-caliber, experienced cannabis professionals a simple platform to share their expertise with the large number of people seeking them out and be compensated for their time.”

The Cannabis ECN will be unveiled online at https://cannabis.expertcallingnetwork.com on June 20, 2016, at NCIA’s 3rd Annual Cannabis Business Summit and Expo in Oakland, Ca. The Summit will include 3,000+ attendees, more than 150 exhibitors, six information-packed educational tracks, and hands-on workshops and tours.

At the core of the Cannabis ECN platform are personalized profiles, promotional tools, content sharing and distribution tools, paired with Brainsy’s patented ECN transactional calling platform. Invited experts in the Cannabis ECN will include selected speakers from the Cannabis Business Summit, as well as board members and other leaders within NCIA’s membership.

“We are pleased to be working with NCIA, the leading association in this industry,” stated Brian Christie, CEO of Brainsy, the ECN Platform provider. “We hope the Cannabis ECN will extend NCIA’s leadership of providing vital educational and business networking in the industry and will showcase how an ECN can help demystify topics of interest in a complex and rapidly evolving environment.”

Experts will self-designate their areas of specialty when participating in the ECN and will set their own rates to respond to Call Requests. Discussions can range from as little as 15 minutes to one hour in duration. Experts will also have access to features of the Personal Media ECN® including the ECN® InCall Badge which enables experts to monetize other social media platforms.

In conjunction with the launch, Brainsy is accepting applications from advertising sponsors that would like their brand highlighted on the ECN. Interested parties should contact Bill Sheehan at 855-742-7246 x706.

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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. More information at http://thecannabisindustry.org.

Brainsy offers patented Software as a Service (SaaS) to power Expert Calling Networks (ECN®) and showcase authors, mentors, subject matter experts, or advisors paid to share knowledge over the phone. Associations deploying a branded ECN can support members and earn non-dues revenue. Participating authors, mentors, advisors, and experts can boost their online profile, earn revenue, and win new clients. Brainsy is backed by successful entrepreneurs-turned-Angels and is a portfolio company of TomorrowVentures, founded by Alphabet (formerly Google) Chairman, Eric Schmidt. More information at http://www.expertcallingnetwork.com.

House Votes to Allow V.A. Doctors to Recommend Medical Marijuana for Veteran Patients

233-189 vote in favor of V.A. appropriations amendment indicates large increase in support from previous year

 

Washington, DC – The U.S. House voted this morning in favor of a measure that would allow Veterans Administration doctors to recommend medical marijuana for their patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. The measure, an amendment to the Department of Veterans Affairs appropriations bill proposed by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), passed by a 44-vote margin, including 57 Republicans voting in favor. The final vote was 233-189. A similar amendment proposed in the House last year failed narrowly, 213-210.

“This is a policy that is long overdue, and it’s good to see such strong support for it in the House,” said National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) executive director Aaron Smith. “Medical marijuana has huge potential benefits for many of the issues that military veterans deal with, and it’s unconscionable to muzzle their doctors from talking about it.

“We hope this vote for common sense and compassion is the first step this year toward a smarter, saner approach to cannabis policy from Congress.”

NCIA members flooded the Hill last week for its 6th annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days. Nearly 150 cannabis professionals from across the country held nearly over 200 meetings with members of Congress and their staffs to press for cannabis policy reform. This year’s Lobby Days came just as Congress is beginning the appropriations process.

In past years, amendments to appropriations bills have successfully protected state-legal marijuana patients and providers from federal interference. Other amendments – including additions to address the banking situation and to protect all state-legal marijuana businesses and customers – have either passed in one chamber but been dropped during omnibus negotiations or failed very narrowly.

A CBS News national poll from last month shows that 56% of Americans support full legalization of marijuana, with an eye-popping 90% supporting legalization for medical use.

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NCIA Hosts the 3nd Annual Cannabis Business Summit in Oakland, CA: June 20-22

The most influential marijuana business event in the industry returns, featuring CA Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Numi Tea CEO Ahmed Rahim, industry leaders, federal lawmakers, and three days of in-depth education and networking in the nation’s largest legal marijuana market

Oakland, CA – The National Cannabis Industry Association, the only national trade association representing the businesses of the legal marijuana industry, will hold its third annual national conference, the Cannabis Business Summit and Expo, in Oakland, CA, June 20-22, 2016, at the Marriott City Center.

California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will deliver the policy keynote address on Tuesday, June 21. Newsom, who is running for Governor of California in 2018, is a key supporter for marijuana reform and legalization and a high-profile advocate for the benefits of embracing a legitimate cannabis industry.

Numi Organic Tea CEO and co-founder Ahmed Rahim will deliver the business keynote on June 21, sharing insights into his company’s embrace of the “triple bottom line” approach, best practices in moving toward organics and fair trade, and the importance and benefits of connecting with the local community.

This year the Cannabis Business Summit moves to California from Denver, bringing business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, and policy influencers to the largest legal marijuana market in the U.S. This move comes at a crucial time in history, with California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) ballot initiative expected to be certified for November voting, and the campaign fully underway.

The Cannabis Business Summit is also drawing global attention, with attendees representing Canada, China, Japan, Australia, Colombia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden.

The Cannabis Business Summit is not only positioned for business owners and operators across multiple verticals in the cannabis industry, but acts as a valuable introduction to a new frontier for outside industries looking to expand into a new space. The Summit offers a meeting ground for investors and entrepreneurs to connect with legitimate buyers and sellers already established in the market, as well as with the brightest minds behind promising start-ups.

Several topic-oriented tracks will give attendees the opportunity to focus on their areas of expertise. Tracks offered include: The Fine Print: Money, Law, and Your Business; Cultivation and Processing; Running Your Cannabusiness; Policy and Reform; Medical Applications of Cannabis; and Leading Edge: Emerging Topics in the Cannabis Industry. Featured educational sessions will highlight some of the industry’s most influential pioneers and innovators.

More Conference Highlights:

  • Educational facility tours and hands-on workshops
  • Sold-out expo floor
  • Multiple networking opportunities with worldwide industry leaders
  • Arcview’s Investor Forum (June 18-20)

More information about the Cannabis Business Summit, including a full list of speakers and a detailed agenda, can be found at CannabisBusinessSummit.com.

Media passes for the Cannabis Business Summit may be requested by emailing communications@thecannabisindustry.org. Please include the full name of the individual seeking a pass, the media outlet represented, and an email address and phone number where he or she can be reached. While NCIA will make every effort to honor legitimate requests, capacity is limited, so passes are not guaranteed.

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NCIA and BDS Analytics Partner to Serve NCIA Members with Valuable Industry Data

NCIA members to receive free access to BDS Analytics’ GreenEdge™ cannabis sales dataset

 

Denver, Co. – Members of the National Cannabis Industry Association will be getting a valuable new benefit, thanks to a ground-breaking partnership with leading cannabis market intelligence firm BDS Analytics. Beginning in June 2016, NCIA member-businesses will receive free interactive access to crucial market and category-level sales data compiled and contextualized by BDS, the industry’s leading source of market data and business insight.

All NCIA members will have access to data and market intelligence reports through an interactive set of dashboards, spreadsheets, and detailed reporting powered by the GreenEdge™ sales tracking software developed by BDS. Reports will cover crucial insights such as market size and growth, dollar and unit volume, retail price trends, and shifts in category mix. Sponsoring and Sustaining NCIA members will gain access to even deeper levels of insight and reporting, including monthly executive reports, additional dashboards and reports, and personalized access to BDS Analysts.

With these reports, NCIA members will be able to make informed strategic decisions and answer critical business questions like:

  • What proportion of industry sales come from flower vs. extractions vs. infused products?
  • How big is the infused product market, and how fast is it growing?
  • How do infused product sales break down between infused foods, beverages, chocolates, topicals, and other categories?
  • What is the average retail selling price for an infused chocolate bar or a vaporizer oil cartridge?

BDS GreenEdge™ reports will drill down from high-level market reporting to more than 80 categories and sub-categories, spanning inhalable and infused products, topicals, devices, and other product categories. BDS currently collects data in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, and will be extending its reach to all other states with legal cannabis markets in the future.

“The first check BDS Analytics wrote was to become a member of NCIA,” said BDS Analytics CEO and co-founder Roy Bingham. “It is the leading voice for businesses in the cannabis industry, and we encourage everyone to join to ensure that the industry’s voice is loud, clear, and united. We are delighted that NCIA is making our GreenEdge service available to their nearly 1,000 member-businesses. I am sure that it will add great value to existing and new members and be yet another reason to join our trade association.”

“We hear from our members all the time that one of their biggest challenges is the scarcity of reliable market intelligence and data in the industry,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of NCIA. “Being able to offer this kind of data as an included benefit of NCIA membership is incredibly valuable. We’re proud to partner with BDS and grateful for their support of NCIA’s mission.”

“Having access to consistent, reliable, and credible market data helps NCIA’s members better run their businesses,” said Liz Stahura, BDS Analytics Vice President. “Every member company of NCIA will be able to log in to GreenEdge and access vital business intelligence about the industry 24/7. Through our experience serving industry association members in other industries, we’ve seen firsthand the positive impact of widespread access to market data. For us this is a great way to introduce the utility and business value of point-of-sale data analytics. NCIA members will also be invited to webinars and interactive sessions to enable them to make the most of the service.”

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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.

BDS Analytics is the indispensable source for cannabis industry market data and insights. Through its GreenEdge™ database and software service, BDS collects, processes and presents point-of-sale market share data for the cannabis industry. BDS provides actionable insights based on accurate information derived from millions of transactions that enables clients (dispensaries, brands and growers) to make smart decisions that sustain their success.  BDS comprises analytics-for-market research experts with more than fifty years’ experience in capturing and standardizing point-of-sale data, building and running extensive databases and providing reports and presenting data to clients and industry with prior experience in the natural products, outdoor, biking and skiing industries.

NEXT WEEK: 100+ Cannabis Business Leaders on Capitol Hill for NCIA’s Annual Lobby Days

Thurs., May 12: Morning press conference kicks off sixth annual fly-in lobby days for the legal marijuana industry

 

Washington, DC – Next week, cannabis industry leaders from across the country will travel to Washington, D.C., for the National Cannabis Industry Association’s sixth annual Lobby Days. More than 100 cannabis business professionals will take part in policy discussions and citizen lobby meetings to advocate for fair treatment of the legal cannabis industry.

On Thursday, May 12, NCIA leaders, business owners, and members of Congress will hold an 11:30am press conference at the House Triangle to kick off two days of meetings across the Hill between cannabis industry leaders and congressional staffs.

Top priorities for these business owners are a solution to the banking crisis, which prevents many legitimate cannabis businesses from accessing basic financial services, and reform to Section 280E of the federal tax code, which forces cannabis business to pay double or triple the effective federal tax rates of any other industry.

NCIA members will also advocate for the descheduling of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, which would give states the authority to make their own decisions about how to handle cannabis legality, much as they currently do with alcohol.

Pennsylvania recently became the 24th state to legalize marijuana for medical use, and several states are likely to vote on adult-use or medical legalization initiatives in the 2016 elections, including California, Nevada, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Florida (medical), and Ohio (medical).

A CBS News national poll from last month shows that 56% of Americans support full legalization of marijuana, with an eye-popping 90% supporting legalization for medical use.

This year’s Cannabis Industry Lobby Days come just as Congress is beginning the appropriations process. In past years, amendments to appropriations bills have successfully protected state-legal marijuana patients and providers from federal interference. Other amendments – including additions to address the banking situation and to protect all state-legal marijuana businesses and customers – have either passed in one chamber but been dropped during omnibus negotiations or failed very narrowly.

More details and information about press attendance below.

Thursday, May 12
Press Conference and Lobby Days
11:30am – Press Conference with Members of Congress and cannabis business owners
House Triangle (House side of the Capitol’s East Front)
Media please RSVP to communications@thecannabisindustry.org.

Meetings between cannabis business leaders and congressional offices will take place throughout the day on both Thursday, May 12, and Friday, May 13. Meetings are generally closed to members of the media. For other coverage options or to arrange interviews with attendees or NCIA staff, please contact communications@thecannabisindustry.org.

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NCIA Calls on Sen. Grassley to Hold Hearings on Bipartisan Cannabis Legislation


As Grassley holds outdated prohibitionist hearing, he continues to obstruct bipartisan efforts to help medical marijuana patients and providers


Washington, DC
– The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) today called on Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to respect the will of the voters and bipartisan members of his own committee by holding hearings on the CARERS Act. The CARERS Act is bipartisan legislation, originally introduced by Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rand Paul (R-KY), that would allow patients access to medical marijuana in states where it is legal without fear of federal prosecution and open up new avenues for research into marijuana’s medical potential.

While he continues to obstruct any action to help critically ill patients and the providers who care for them, Senator Grassley is holding a hearing tomorrow designed to conjure up outdated prohibitionist fear-mongering.

More than 80% of Americans believe patients should have legal access to medical marijuana. Sen. Grassley could be helping patients in need, supporting legitimate small businesses, and respecting the overwhelming will of the voters,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of NCIA. “Instead, he plays obstructionist again, refusing to even have a conversation about a bill that has the support of Republicans and Democrats alike.

“Sen. Grassley may be stuck in the past, but the rest of us are not. It’s time for him to do his job and hold real hearings on real legislation that could make a real difference for patients and providers across the country.”

In addition to the CARERS Act, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act also sits bottled up in Sen. Grassley’s Judiciary Committee, despite a recent national AP poll showing that 61% of Americans support the legalization of cannabis.

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RELEASE: NCIA Response to Dismissal of Marijuana Credit Union Lawsuit Against the Federal Reserve

NCIA exec. dir.:
“This ruling sends a message loud and clear – Congress must act.”

Washington, DC – A federal judge today dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Fourth Corner Credit Union against the Federal Reserve in hopes of providing banking services to the legal cannabis industry. In his ruling, Judge R. Brooke Jackson said Congress must provide the answer, stating, “I regard the [cannabis banking] situation as untenable and hope that it will soon be addressed and resolved by Congress.”

Fourth Corner is a credit union chartered by the State of Colorado and designed to serve legitimate cannabis businesses, but the Federal Reserve had denied its request for a master account, which would have allowed them to provide checking services to its members.

“This ruling sends a message loud and clear – Congress must act,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “There’s no shortcut, there’s no band-aid, there’s no work-around to fix this industry-wide.

“Forcing cannabis businesses to operate without banking access is a crisis, affecting public safety, law-abiding businesses, and the state officials in charge of regulating them. It’s time for Congress to do its job and fix the problem.”

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RELEASE: Sen. Harry Reid Signs on to Marijuana Banking Bill, Supports Nevada Small Businesses

National Cannabis Industry Association:
“We appreciate Senator Reid standing up for his constituents.”

Washington, DC – Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) today signed on as a co-sponsor to the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015 (S.1726), bipartisan legislation originally introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), which would give state-compliant cannabis businesses access to the banking system. Sen. Reid’s support for the banking measure comes as Nevada’s medical marijuana program has begun serving patients around the state.

“Medical cannabis providers in Nevada are giving compassionate care to critically ill patients, and they shouldn’t be putting themselves in danger to do it,” said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith. “We thank Senator Reid for supporting a fix to an irrational policy that puts people at risk and forces businesses and state officials to deal with massive logistical issues.

“Ending the banking crisis would be a win for everyone from patients to regulators to small business owners, and we appreciate Senator Reid standing up for his constituents.”

S.1726 would open up banking access for state-legal cannabis businesses by protecting financial institutions against prosecution or asset forfeiture for providing services to those businesses. Sen. Reid and Sen. Merkley are joined on the bill by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Rand Paul (R-KY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

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11/11 in Las Vegas: NCIA Celebrates 5th Anniversary with Reps. Barbara Lee and Dina Titus

Las Vegas, NV – The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) will celebrate its fifth year of operation as the only national trade association for marijuana businesses with a gala dinner on Wednesday, November 11, in Las Vegas, featuring Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) as guest speakers.

At “Looking Back, Moving Forward,” NCIA’s 5th anniversary banquet, the organization will celebrate its history and that of the movement that helped create the cannabis industry, while looking ahead to the many challenges still to be faced. Rep. Titus will offer welcoming remarks.

During the banquet, NCIA will present the 2015 Legislative Leadership Award to Rep. Lee, a long-time champion of marijuana policy reform who has co-sponsored multiple pieces of legislation designed to protect cannabis businesses, patients, and consumers from federal interference. Included in those is the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act, NCIA’s priority legislation that would end the industry’s banking crisis and provide financial services for the state-legal cannabis businesses.

NCIA was founded in late 2010 by Aaron Smith and Steve Fox, seasoned advocates for marijuana policy reform who foresaw the need for a voice representing the businesses of the emerging cannabis industry in Washington, D.C. The organization was founded with fewer than 30 members, but has grown rapidly in its first five years, now representing over 900 member-businesses.

NCIA is the recognized leader in advocacy on behalf of cannabis businesses at the federal level, focused on fixing the industry’s lack of banking access and cripplingly unfair federal tax burdens. NCIA also helps build a responsible, sustainable cannabis business community, through dozens of educational and networking events nationwide, including the annual Cannabis Business Summit®.

More details about NCIA’s 5th anniversary banquet can be found below. Tickets can be purchased at http://thecannabisindustry.org/anniversary.

Looking Back, Moving Forward – NCIA’s 5th Anniversary Banquet
November 11, 2015
7pm – 10pm
The Vortex at the LINQ Hotel
3535 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV

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NCIA Executive Director Responds to Ohio Issue 3 Result

Washington, DC – Ohio voters today voted down Issue 3, a ballot initiative that would have legalized marijuana while creating a cultivation monopoly in the state. The initiative has been controversial, even among many marijuana legalization supporters, because its drafters included a provision that set aside all of Ohio’s initial cultivation licenses for the drafters themselves. National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith issued the following statement in response to the failure of Ohio’s Issue 3 ballot initiative tonight:

“The people of Ohio have understandably rejected a deeply flawed, monopolistic approach to marijuana reform that failed to garner broad support from advocates or industry leaders. This debate has shown that there is a strong base of support for legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana. Now the foundation has been laid for a potential 2016 effort that would put forward a more common-sense initiative and have a major impact on the presidential conversation in the process.”

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NCIA Applauds Sen. Sanders’s Move to Allow State Marijuana Policies Without Federal Interference

Sanders bill would remove marijuana from Controlled Substances Act, allow states to establish cannabis policies

Legislation would “mov[e] our nation toward a more rational approach to marijuana, consistent with what the American people want.”

Washington, DC – The National Cannabis Industry Association today applauded new legislation to be introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) which would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and allow it to be regulated similarly to alcohol. That approach would allow states that choose a legal, regulated approach to marijuana to move forward without federal interference and allow banking access and fair taxation to state-compliant cannabis businesses. (Read Senator Sanders’s prepared remarks, delivered on the Senate floor earlier today.)

“More than half of Americans now live in states where marijuana is legal in some form. And more than half of Americans now say marijuana should be fully legal,” said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith. “Federal law should respect these states, these voters, and the responsible cannabis businesses they support.

“Sen. Sanders’s bill would give state-legal cannabis businesses the fairness they deserve, treating them like any other law-abiding, job-creating, tax-paying small business.

“Our industry applauds Sen. Sanders for his leadership in moving our nation toward a more rational approach to marijuana, consistent with what the American people want.”

Sen. Sanders’s legislation would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and allow states to set and enforce their own marijuana policies without federal interference. This would not only give each state the freedom to choose its approach, but also remove the many unintended consequences of the current conflict between state and federal marijuana laws. The most critical of these are the lack of banking access for cannabis businesses and the outdated 280E tax code provision which forces legal marijuana businesses to pay effective federal tax rates of 50% to 85%, a crippling burden for businesses doing their best to play by the rules.

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