National Cannabis Lobbying Falls, Again

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While millions of dollars are flowing to the five states where cannabis will be on the ballot on Election Day, the money spent on federal cannabis lobbying by cannabis-focused entities continues to decline. 

A Cannabis Wire analysis of lobbying disclosures by cannabis-focused companies or groups for the third quarter of 2020 shows, as of the October 20 deadline, a total spend of approximately $1.24 million. This is a decline from an approximate total of $1.6 million in Q2, $1.9 million in Q1, and $2.3 million in Q4 2019. 

Last year was the peak of such spending to-date, driven by the momentum of the SAFE Banking Act in Congress, which the US House passed in September 2019. That Act was the first standalone cannabis bill to receive a US House vote.  

Spending is likely to rise again when the COVID-19 pandemic is over. The outcome of the US presidential election will also play a role, as Democratic presidential nominee and former vice president Joe Biden has promised to decriminalize cannabis. Also, Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, is the co-sponsor of the MORE Act, which made history as the most sweeping cannabis bill to get a Congressional vote when the House Judiciary Committee passed it last November. That Act was expected to get a full House vote last month, but the vote was delayed. And while SAFE Banking is included in the HEROES Act, the House-proposed COVID-19 relief bill, that has been stalled amid disagreements among Democrats and Republicans. In short, any movement on cannabis in 2020 is likely to happen at the state level. 

Here is a spending breakdown in alphabetical order (entity name, Q3, Q2, Q1, Q4):

Acreage Holdings: $30,000; $50,000; $50,000; $50,000

American Trade Association of Cannabis and Hemp: $10,000; $10,000; $10,000; $10,000

California Cannabis Industry Association: $12,000; $18,000; $14,000; $14,000  

Cannabis Trade Federation: $50,000; $50,000; $80,000; $140,000

Cannabis Trade Federation Action: $40,000; $60,000; $235,000; $430,000

Canopy Growth: $105,000; $105,000; $45,000; $45,000

Cronos Group (USA): $40,000; $85,000; $70,000; N/A

Curaleaf: $90,000; $130,000; $120,000; $190,000

Curio Wellness: $80,000; $100,000; $20,000; N/A

Drug Policy Alliance: $87,644; $87,644; $87,644; $87,644

Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce: $80,000; $150,000; $150,000; $150,000

Greenwich Biosciences (US subsidiary of GW Pharmaceuticals): $100,000; $220,000; $240,000; $250,000

Holistic Industries: $50,000; $50,000; $30,000; N/A 

Maridose LLC: $10,000; $10,000; $10,000; $0

Marijuana Policy Project: <$5,000; $30,000; $18,750; $18,750

NORML: <$5,000; <$5,000; <$5,000; <$5,000

National Cannabis Industry Association: $50,000; $50,000; $70,000; $145,000 

National Cannabis Roundtable: $152,000; $80,000; $220,000; $250,000

Parallel Brands (formerly Surterra): $20,000; $50,000; $120,000; $180,000

PAX Labs: $30,000; $40,000; $50,000; $50,000

Pharmacann: $30,000; $30,000; $30,000; $30,000

Policy Center for Public Health and Safety: $10,000; $10,000; $10,000; $0  

Pura Vida Investments: $30,000; $60,000; $60,000; $54,000 

Smart Approaches to Marijuana: $22,500; $22,000; $30,000; $37,500

SAM Action Inc: $20,000; $30,000; $40,000; $50,000

Trulieve: $40,000; $40,000; $40,000; $40,000

Tweed (owned by Canopy Growth): $50,000 $50,000; $50,000; $60,000

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