Beginning Tuesday, May 16, cannabis industry leaders from across the country will fan out across Capitol Hill for the National Cannabis Industry Association‘s seventh annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days.
About 250 cannabis business professionals will take part in policy discussions and citizen lobby meetings to advocate for fair treatment of the legal cannabis industry.
On Tuesday, May 16, more than 50 teams of cannabis business owners and employees will hold meetings with more than 300 congressional and committee offices.
On Wednesday, May 17, NCIA leaders, business owners, and members of Congress, including Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), will hold a 9:30 am press conference at the House Triangle. Attending members of Congress will discuss cannabis policy issues and highlight the sponsorship of legislation addressing the industry, including the Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2017. The Act would allow state-compliant marijuana businesses to deduct business expenses from their taxes in the same way any other legitimate business can.
NCIA members will advocate for the respect of state-legal, regulated marijuana programs by federal policy makers and law enforcement. A recent national poll found that 73 percent of Americans oppose federal interference in state marijuana laws.
Biggest Group Ever
“This will be the largest group of cannabis professionals ever to come to the Hill,” said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith. “Support for federal cannabis policy reform is stronger than it’s ever been, with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle lining up. Together, we’re speaking with one voice to say that these responsible businesses deserve fair treatment and state laws deserve respect.”
“Following the 2016 election, it is clear that the federal government is out of touch with the American people. It’s time for Congress to catch up,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “Cannabis business owners coming to Washington, D.C., and telling their personal stories will serve as a wakeup call.”
Top priorities for NCIA’s Lobby Days attendees include:
A solution to the banking crisis, which prevents many legitimate cannabis businesses from accessing basic financial services,
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, and
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.
A legislative package called the “Path to Marijuana Reform” was also recently introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) with bipartisan support.
This package, along with other bills and potential appropriations amendments, has taken on new importance as some members of the Trump Administration, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Trump himself, have implied that the Justice Department could change its current policy of non-interference in state-regulated programs. Those threats have been met with significant backlash from elected officials and policymakers at the federal and state level, including both Republicans and Democrats.