The Q1 2022 federal cannabis lobbying numbers are in – and they’re unremarkable.
In short, spending is more or less where it was in mid-to-late 2021, hovering around $2 million for the quarter. That is double where it was in early 2021, but that’s because in 2020 there was a possibly-pandemic-related plummet in cannabis lobbying spending, which was over $2 million in late 2019. But by mid-2021, the rebound was well underway, and today’s lobbying names and dollar amounts more or less line up to what we saw at that time.
This could be because, even though there are more cannabis bills in Congress than ever before, none of those bills has advanced any farther than where it was in 2020.
There are a couple of more granular shifts worth noting. For example, Greenwich Biosciences, which is the U.S. arm of the United Kingdom-based company GW Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals in May, is spending more than ever. The company is behind Epidiolex, a CBD product that is the first-ever Food and Drug Administration-approved medicine derived from cannabis plants. In Q1 2022, it spent $460,000. Last quarter, it was $260,000, and its highest spend was in late 2019 at $390,000.
In tandem, GW Pharmaceuticals’ range of focus has expanded. In Q4 2021, it was: “Issues related to the regulation of cannabis and CBD, research and development of cannabis-derived therapies.” Now, it reads like a list:
“H.R.1996 – SAFE Banking Act of 2021
Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act
Issues related to the regulation of cannabis and CBD, research and development of cannabis-derived therapies
Provisions related to patient safety, CBD product regulations, and FDA regulation and enforcement.
FDA regulation of cannabis-derived products”
As Cannabis Wire previously reported, GW lobbied in all 50 states, unlike any other cannabis company. And while it is more specifically a cannabis-focused pharmaceutical company, it nonetheless occupies a unique position in that no other company that deals with cannabis plants – albeit in the earliest stage of product development – yet has FDA approval.
Looking at cannabis-focused trade groups, the top spender is now the U.S. Cannabis Council, which formally launched in February 2021. The group spent $220,000 in Q1 2022; the next highest-spending group is the National Cannabis Roundtable at $145,000.
And, as far as cannabis companies go, the only one to break the $200,000 mark is Canopy Growth.
Major non-cannabis companies continued to lobby on the issue in Q1, too. This includes Amazon, Altria (maker of Marlboro), and RAI Services Company, which is Reynolds American, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of British American Tobacco, and maker of Camel, Lucky Strike, and Newport cigarettes.
Here are the cannabis (or cannabis-focused) entities registered to lobby at the federal level in Q1: