Former HHS Secretary Obama joins the marijuana industry group

Background: President Sebelius Barack Obama served as the first HHS secretary, playing an important role in the adoption and implementation of the landmark, Affordable Care Act. Previously, Kansas was a two-term Democratic governor.

Boehner raised an eyebrow in 2018 when he joined the board of directors of cannabis company Acreage Holdings as he was a strong opponent of legalizing marijuana during his more than three decades on Capitol Hill. Acreage played a key role in launching the National Cannabis Roundtable, but has since dropped out of the organization.

Federal legalization: Sebelius joins the trade group as Democrats take full control of the federal government. However, the thin majority of Democrats in the Senate make it unlikely that full federal legalization is approaching at any time. Instead, piecemeal legislation, such as a proposal that makes it easier for marijuana companies to access banking services, is more likely to be attractive.

Who participates: Members of the National Cannabis Roundtable include large cannabis companies such as Trulieve, Cresco Labs and CannaCraft, as well as Greenspoon Marder Law Firm and Pura Vida Investments.

The industry group also announced that cannabis company Zelira Therapeutics USA will join the coalition. Zelira CEO Oludare Odumosu joins the Roundtable Board.

On Monday, a new national advocacy group, the U.S. Cannabis Council, was announced, which POLITICO first reported on. This coalition includes the world’s largest cannabis companies, including Curaleaf and Canopy Growth Corp.

National Landscape: Fifteen states, accounting for more than a third of all Americans, have legalized marijuana in full. Another 21 states have legalized medical marijuana. Virginia, New York, New Mexico and Connecticut are among the states that can support leisure sales this year. Legalization is widespread across the country, even though the federal government continues to classify marijuana as a highly addictive, illegal drug that has no medical value.

“States are often incubators for innovation,” Sebelius said. “This has happened in vast areas of the country. I don’t see this as necessarily a democratic or republican issue. … Voters across the country have shown a willingness and interest in entering cannabis with a new phase. “

What’s happening in Kansas: Sebelius ’home in Kansas is just one of three states that have no legal cannabis. Democratic Governor Laura Kelly has proposed legalizing medical marijuana and using the tax revenue to pay for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.