In Vice, Chris Roberts reports the industry is getting nothing for the millions it has spent on lobbyists in Washington D.C. “Its big-spending approach is lining the pockets of K Street and, so far, not much else.”

  • Dan Riffle, a longtime legalization activist who’s now an advisor to Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said the industry is “spending millions on lobbying at the federal level, mostly on the banking issue…but the industry is paying guys who don’t give a shit about this issue beyond the money, so they mostly don’t do anything.”
  • Drug Policy Alliance lobbyist Michael Collins: ” “What wins members [of Congress] over isn’t, ‘Hey, we’re creating jobs,’ or ‘Hey, we’re creating tax revenue.’ We’re not at that level yet. What wins the day on the Democratic side is social justice, and the industry doesn’t necessarily make that argument.”
  • One lobbyist called the Cannabis Trade Federation, “the functional equivalent of lighting money on fire.” But added the National Cannabis Roundtable, started by former Speaker of the House John Boehner(R), who’s now on the board of Acreage Holdings, is even less effective.
  • Earlier this year the Cannabis Trade Federation hired veteran tobacco lobbyist Cassie Folk. Boehner has also joined the board of Reynolds American, one of the country’s largest tobacco companies. Tobacco lobbyists, Roberts writes, aren’t the “best look” with Democrats.

Politico says there are now five industry groups trying to change federal cannabis laws.

  • While cannabis lobbying remains tiny compared to established industries, 84 entities listed cannabis on lobbying disclosure forms including alcohol company Constellation Brands, Mastercard and the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions.
  • Cannabis Wire finds lots of big banks have an eye on the issue.

Quick Hit

  1. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said immigrants can be denied citizenship for working in the legal cannabis industry, on grounds that they may “lack good moral character.” ????For more see WeedWeek California.
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  2. MJBiz suggests national legalization may be entering a new phase.