Rounding out the 2016 CBE Political 100, we wanted to highlight a couple of individuals who deserve mention for their individual efforts and ongoing impact on legislative activity by moving the needle to end prohibition on a local, state, or federal level.
First on the list, and someone who was on the original list that was inadvertently excluded, is Director of Government Relations for the National Cannabis Industry Association and our 95th ranked member, Michael Correia. Over the last few years, Correia has worked tirelessly to open doors on Capitol Hill and push for changes in banking and 280E tax regulation. Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code hindered the industry’s growth and made it difficult, in addition to unsafe, for industry operators who have primarily had to deal in cash transactions.
Two others that deserve recognition are Tennessee Congressman, Steve Cohen (who wasn’t shy about letting CBE know of its oversight) and Paul Armentano, NORML’s Deputy Director.
In 2015, Cohen and Rep. Don Young (R-AK) introduced the House companion to a groundbreaking bill legalizing marijuana for medical use that was introduced in the Senate by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). He also introduced The Unmuzzle the Drug Czar Act of 2014 (H.R. 4046), which would have repealed a little known provision of federal law that requires the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)—informally known as the U.S. Drug Czar—to “take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use” of marijuana or any Schedule I drug for medical or nonmedical use, if passed.
Armentano’s writing and research on marijuana policy has appeared in more than 750 publications, scholarly and/or peer-reviewed journals, as well as in more than two dozen textbooks and anthologies. He is also coauthor of Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?
On the “I am Mad as Hell ” front, it drives me crazy that the Golden State’s new Medical Marijuana program seems designed to employ as many regulators as possible by only allowing 17 licensure categories identified by the law that went into effect on January 1, 2016. The State said it needs until January 2018 to set up the necessary agencies, information systems, and regulations to actually begin issuing licenses. In other words, let’s continue to bloat the largest employer of state employees in the nation and charge the cannabis industry to do so. Greed hath no limits—, whether it be in the private or public sector.
Industry friends continue to tell CBE horror stories about the massive amounts of litigation and unsavory characters looking to swindle them, along with other reputable operators in the industry. It’s difficult to point fingers at any particular assailant, but our word of advice is that before you get married, it is probably wise to date; maybe live together; get engaged; and only tie the knot when you are absolutely, 99.9999999% sure that you know how your partner will act “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.” There seems to be a lot of deaths occurring out there—at least in cannabis related business relationships.