Cannabis industry lobbying spending in Washington, D.C. is on pace to break the record levels set last year, according to a Marketwatch report. In 2018, the industry spent $2.7 million on lobbying efforts at the Capitol, while so far this year, cannabusinesses have already spent $1.6 million.
The total through June already outpaced all of the lobbying spending by the cannabis industry in 2017, which tripled from 2016 figures outlined in the report.
Mark De Souza, CEO of Illinois-based Revolution Enterprises, told Marketwatch that the lobbying efforts are not only to convince lawmakers to pass cannabis law reform bills in Congress, but that the industry is competing against other industries it might have conflicts with – such as alcohol, tobacco, and pharma.
“So I could see the justification for the industry as it’s growing to start to want to have a voice and seat at the table. Anytime an industry comes in and is disruptive on any level, there’s always going to be some friction.” – De Souza, to Marketwatch
Curaleaf Holdings. Inc., and Surterra Holdings Inc. both led the industry’s lobbying spending in quarter two, with $200,000 and $120,000, respectively, the report says.
Earlier this month, Curaleaf announced it had agreed to acquire GR Companies Inc. – or Grassroots – for $875 million in cash and stock. Once approved, the combined company is set to become the largest cannabis firm in the world.
The Cannabis Trade Federation spent $190,000, and CEO Ned Levine told Marketwatch that the STATES Act – which would prevent the federal government from interfering with state-approved cannabis policy – is the organization’s “top priority.” Levine notes that the Sen. Elizabeth Warren-sponsored bill “now has 60 co-sponsors in the House, including 15 members of the Judiciary Committee.”
“We are pleased to sere significant momentum building behind the push for cannabis policy reform at the federal level,” he said in a statement to Marketwatch.
De Souza suggests that another industry normalization bill – the SAFE Banking Act – could get a vote next year. He suggested that the bill is buoyed by the fact it was granted a hearing by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
If the record spending continues, the industry is expected to devote more than $3 million on lobbying by the end of the year.
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