The Pot Industry Dresses Up And Lobbies Congress For Tax, Banking Changes


The delegation from the National Cannabis Industry Association made a point of dressing well for its day on Capitol Hill yesterday, sporting mostly dark suits, lots of ties and plenty of the group's signature lapel pins, which feature a sun rising over vibrant fields of marijuana, says the Washington Post. Buoyed by a flurry of state decisions that have expanded the legal use of marijuana, the cannabis crowd came less as social activists than as entrepreneurs, asking Congress to remove some of the obstacles that stand in the way of their fledgling businesses.

They met with staff members to ask for changes to the tax code, which prohibits them from taking standard deductions for expenses. They huddled in congressional offices to make the case for other changes that would encourage banks to work with legal cannabis businesses. Medical marijuana is now legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Last year, Colorado and Washington state made marijuana fully legal for adults, and similar efforts are gathering steam elsewhere. “This is an issue that is absolutely at its tipping point,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster. She cited recent polling that shows that younger voters are the strongest supporters of legalizing marijuana, but that backing for legalization is increasing among people of all ages. The group also heard from Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Jared Polis (D-CO), who spoke out in support of some of an array of proposed marijuana-related legislation. They lamented that Congress has not kept up with the pace of change in the states. “We're in this never-never land on Capitol Hill,” Blumenauer said. “But we're watching the rest of America march forward.”

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