What is the current landscape: At least five national trading groups are trying to influence cannabis policy on Capitol Hill. In addition, there are long-standing marijuana legalization advocacy groups such as NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project, as well as lobbyists from individual cannabis companies and larger umbrella groups such as the ACLU and Human Rights Watch. As Congress pays more attention to cannabis policy, some have pointed out that a lack of unity could hold back legalization efforts.
Hawkins said he hopes the USCC will be able to alleviate the problem.
“The fact … we had a lot of organizations makes it very difficult for us to do anything,” Hawkins said., who also serves as executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “So the U.S. Cannabis Council aims to bring together a range of companies – to bring together advocacy organizations, to bring together associations, to bring individuals together, and to have a truly united voice at the end of the ban and to ensure social justice. “
Who participates in the USCC: The The Cannabis Trade Association and the Global Cannabis Trade Association, two heavyweight trade groups, are founding members. Canadian cannabis behemoth Canopy Growth Corp. is part of the coalition, as is Acreage Holdings – formerly part of the National Cannabis Roundtable. Cresco Labs will also be involved – Cresco CEO Charlie Bachtell is president of the National Cannabis Roundtable. Other large companies on board include Columbia Care, Curaleaf and Eaze. Founding members include the cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg Powerhouse and the Veterans Cannabis Project.
Who is missing: In particular, three other national industrial groups are missing: the National Cannabis Roundtable, the Minority Cannabis Business Association, and the National Cannabis Industry Association. Many advocacy organizations that have occasionally raised heads with industry groups, such as NORML and the Drug Policy Alliance, are also not members of the coalition.
What is the USCC game plan: According to Hawkins, the first step is to bring all stakeholders together and create a unified political agenda for the 117th Congress. Then he said they should take this to the legislators. Whether or not the group will employ its own lobbyists in the future is yet to be decided.
Senate Democrats are already taking steps to legalize cannabis – majority leader Chuck Schumer and Sens. Cory Booker (DN.J.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Held a stakeholder meeting on Friday, including the USCC, the National Cannabis Industry Association, the Minority Cannabis Business Association, and other industry and advocacy groups.
“I’m totally expecting … that there may be differences of opinion that we need to work through,” Hawkins said of the starting coalition. “At the end of the day, the USCC represents the united voice of more than 30 companies, associations, organizations.