Members of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) joined members of Congress at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to draw attention successful legal cannabis programs around the country and to advocate for further policy reforms.
The meetings are part of the NCIA’s 8th Annual Lobby Days, during which more than 200 cannabis industry leaders representing 23 states and DC are discussing achievements and goals. The latter involves promoting policies to end governmental discrimination against the cannabis industry.
To that end industry leaders are holding up to 200 separate meetings with U.S. House and Senate officials wherein they will seek support for pending legislative bills that aim to limit or end the federal government’s interference with state cannabis laws and allow legal businesses to use banking services and be taxed fairly.
“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 NCIA. “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.”
Members of Congress from both parties spoke at a press conference hosted by the group outside the Capitol on Wednesday.
Also, on Wednesday, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) announced his co-sponsorship of the Marijuana Justice Act in a Facebook Live video.
Senator Merkley is now the fifth U.S. senator to sign on as a co-sponsor, joining U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker originally introduced the bill in August 2017.
Among other things, the Marijuana Justice Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances list and withhold federal funding from states with discriminatory enforcement of marijuana criminalization