National Cannabis Industry Association

 

“Our mission statement: To promote the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and work for a favorable social, economic and legal environment for that industry in the United States.” http://thecannabisindustry.org

 

Since its inception the NCIA has been lobbying Congress as well as other parts of the government to treat Cannabis as any other commodity. The NCIA is focused on three main issues concerning the Cannabis trade: protecting legitimate businesses, allowing banking access, and fair tax policy.

 

The fundamental lobbying effort of the NCIA is protecting legitimate businesses. Cannabis is legal under state law for medicinal and recreational consumption in two states, and it is legal for medicinal purposes in 20 states and the District of Columbia, despite federal laws prohibiting Cannabis. President Obama has indicated that as long as businesses are in good standing with their state’s laws regarding Cannabis, they will not face federal prosecution. However, this policy hasn’t been the case in actual practice, and many businesses in compliance with state law have been raided. The NCIA lobbies on Capitol Hill to address this issue.

 

The second lobbying effort by the NCIA concerns banking access. The federal government, seemingly in order to hinder the Cannabis industry, has told the banking industry to stop doing business with the Cannabis industry or face prosecution. This may be changing since Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice wouldn’t interfere with the two states that recently passed Cannabis legalization legislation, with exceptions spelled out in Deputy Attorney General James Cole’s memo regarding the new DOJ “Trust but verify” policy regarding those two states. The current system of “cash-only” makes it much more difficult to make purchases, pay employees, and increases vulnerability to theft.

The third lobbying effort by the NCIA addresses fair tax policy. Many businesses in the Cannabis trade are not able to take deductions that other businesses are allowed to take. They are, in some cases, not allowed to write off any business deductions and the NCIA is lobbying on their behalf to resolve this inequity.

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