While overall spending on lobbying around the cannabis plant has slowed at the federal level, as Cannabis Wire recently reported, new entities continue to join the mix.
Spending began to dip before COVID-19 hit, but that trend continues as the pandemic worsens and as the outcome of the presidential election looks increasingly uncertain. Still, broader trends in the United States and abroad point toward loosening laws and a growing cannabis industry.
Next month, five states will have medical and/or adult use legalization on the ballot: Arizona; Mississippi; Montana; New Jersey; South Dakota. (Nebraska’s Supreme Court ultimately removed a medical cannabis measure from the ballot after it had qualified.)
And the 2018 Farm Bill already removed hemp, defined as cannabis plants with .3% THC or less, from the Controlled Substances Act. While regulations are still being finalized for the cultivation of hemp and its products, like CBD, interest in the potential of this newly legal industry continues to rise.
The National Grocers Association, which represents 21,00 retail and wholesale grocers, is lobbying on H.R. 8179, the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2020, which would, among other things, treat CBD as a dietary supplement, in response to the CBD products that have flooded the market after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.
“NGA members are experiencing significant consumer demand for CBD products,” NGA communications director Jim Dudlicek told Cannabis Wire. “Many independent food retailers have responded to this demand, but others are deterred because of the lack of legal clarity surrounding CBD products.”
The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, a trade association that represents mutual property and casualty insurance companies, is also newly lobbying on H.R. 8179, in addition to its lobbying on broader cannabis-related issues. As cannabis companies have seen with events that threaten their businesses, like the spread of wildfires, the dissonance between state and federal law creates complications for those seeking insurance.
“The conflict between federal and state law regarding cannabis legalization has created a very problematic dynamic for property/casualty insurers. Even in a state which has legalized cannabis, a property/casualty insurer that provides insurance coverage to a legitimate cannabis business or service provider is still running afoul of federal law. And in some states, insurers are being required to provide these coverages,” Jon Bergner, NAMIC’s vice president of public policy and federal affairs, told Cannabis Wire.
Another bill that saw some new lobbying activity is the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, also known as the MORE Act. The Associated General Contractors of America, a national trade association for the construction industry, for example, registered to lobby on the MORE Act because of concerns that a lack of reliable testing for cannabis impairment could create liability issues.
“We have worries about the impacts of legalization on workers’ comp claims during construction accidents,” vice president of public affairs Brian Turmail told Cannabis Wire. “Construction firms have a legal, and insurance, responsibility to make sure nobody is working impaired on a job site. And without an impairment test for marijuana, there is no way to protect themselves from being liable during an accident, even if the worker involved had used marijuana on a Saturday night and was sober on the Wednesday when the accident occurred.”
It is important to note that lobbying on cannabis-related issues does not necessarily indicate a position. For example, FreedomWorks, a libertarian organization, is also lobbying on the MORE Act, but a spokesperson told Cannabis Wire that the organization doesn’t “engage on decriminalization specifically, we’re neutral on that bill.”
“But seeing as criminal justice reform is one of our key issue areas, we do, however, engage on expungement and record-sealing. That’s why we’ve supported the Clean Slate Act and the Begin Again Act over the MORE Act,” communications director Peter Vicenzi told Cannabis Wire.
Here are the entities newly lobbying on “cannabis,” “marijuana,” “hemp,” and/or “CBD” issues, according to a Cannabis Wire analysis of lobbying disclosures for the third quarter of 2020:
A2LA: American Association for Laboratory Accreditation
Newly lobbying on “hemp testing and accreditation.”
Associated General Contractors of America
(A national trade association for the construction industry.)
Newly lobbying on “H.R.3884 – Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019.”
California State Assembly
Newly lobbying on “cannabis banking.”
Newly lobbying in support of “H.R. 8179 – Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act.” (Already lobbying on “cannabis” and “hemp” issues.)
(A pharma company studying CBD in heart disease.)
Newly lobbying on “DEA’s Interim Final Rule on 2018 Farm Bill as it relates to CBD, and Cardiol’s Phase 2/3 FDA IND approved clinical trial for potential covid therapeutic.”
(A D.C.-based libertarian advocacy group focused on “lower taxes, less government, and more freedom.”)
Newly lobbying on “H.R. 3884 – Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act.”
(Nevada-based company that focuses on hemp extractions.)
Newly lobbying on “Discussions relating to regulation of the CBD industry” and “Monitored regulations on hemp/CBD issues.”
The Immigration Hub
(A national non-profit organization focused on “advancing fair and just immigration policies.”)
Newly lobbying on “H.R. 3884, Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment & Expungement (MORE) Act.”
(A national association for addiction professionals.)
Newly lobbying on “Marijuana Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act (H.R. 3884).”
The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
Newly lobbying on “H.R.8179 – Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2020 (Kurt Schrader, D-OR-5).” (Already lobbying on “marijuana” and “cannabis” issues.)
National Grocers Association
(A national trade group for retail and wholesale grocers.)
Newly lobbying on “H.R. 8179, Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2020.” (Already lobbying on “Canabidiol (CBD) product regulation.”)
Office of the Governor, State of Colorado
Newly lobbying on “Extension of the hemp pilot program.” (Already lobbying on “cannabis.”)
(An Arizona-based nutritional and personal care company.)
Newly lobbying on “HR 5587, To amend the FDA and Cosmetic Act with respect to the regulation of hemp derived cannabidiol contained substances,” and on “U.S. Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), to add language regarding CBD.”