This week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sens. Ron Wyden and Cory Booker announced the most comprehensive cannabis reform proposal introduced to-date in Congress, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.
The Act’s introduction follows years of building momentum behind cannabis reform legislation in Congress. The passage of the SAFE Banking Act out of the House of Representatives in 2019 marked the first time a cannabis bill received a vote in either chamber of Congress. The MORE Act closely followed, in late 2020. And then there’s the momentum at the state level, too. In the first half of 2021, four states legalized cannabis for adult use, bringing the total to nineteen.
In tandem, cannabis-related lobbying in Congress has been on the rise, as Cannabis Wire has extensively reported over the years. Increasingly, we’ve found that this includes global giants from other industries, such as Diageo (alcohol) and Altria (tobacco).
And pharma, too, according to Cannabis Wire’s latest analysis of lobbying disclosures from early 2021. Here are a few of the noteworthy entities newly lobbying on cannabis:
Entity description: GSK is a UK-based global pharmaceutical company.
Issue: “Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act; H.R. 841, the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2021.”
More: Cannabis Wire has reached out to GSK to learn more about the company’s position on these bills and did not receive a response by publication.
Entity description: An “informal coalition of state broadcasting associations” from 20 states.
Issue: “Parity for cannabis advertising on broadcast stations in states where cannabis is legal”
Entity description: The Alliance is a trade association that represents printing and packaging companies, from boxes to labels.
Issue: “Cannabis banking (SAFE Bank Act)”
More: The Alliance sees cannabis as “a market growth opportunity for print,” Lisbeth Lyons, the Alliance’s VP of government affairs, told Cannabis Wire. However, Lyons continued, “due to banking restrictions, we believe many companies in our industry are watching this market opportunity from the sidelines.” Passage of the SAFE Banking Act and “the perception of more legitimate commerce would open the gates for more printing and packaging companies to pursue selling to this sector.”
Entity description: The National Association of American Wineries.
Issue: “Cannabis reform”
More: WineAmerica does not have, or plan to take, a position on cannabis legalization, Michael Kaiser, VP of government affairs, told Cannabis Wire. The Association is, however, “concerned” with “the impact of any potential legalization/decriminalization on our industry.” Turning to the Senators’ cannabis reform proposal released this week, Kaiser noted that many of the proposed cannabis regulations are based on existing approaches to tobacco and alcohol, adding, “We just want to make sure that if the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) is tasked with tax collection and other items they have the proper resources. The TTB is already stretched pretty thin and we want to make sure there are enough resources to do their job properly for all the commodities.”
Entity description: “Educate on issues to better protect children related to legalized marijuana.”
Issue: “Educate and raise awareness on health and related issues impacting children and youth from legalized marijuana in order to better protect children in jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana.”
Entity description: “Platform connecting cannabis retailers, brands, and distributors.”
Issue: “Support/monitor legislation to improve access to banking services for the cannabis industry. Monitor pending legislation on cannabis reform.”