In today’s edition, we have a look at cannabis lobbying spending data, and more.
A 4-minute read from JB and JR
Cannabis spent nearly $2.8 million on federal lobbying in 2023
What happened: Cannabis companies and advocacy groups working on behalf of the industry spent nearly $2.8 million lobbying the federal government last year, according to data from OpenSecrets.com.
Who’s the top lobbyist? The Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation (CPEAR), a group backed by big publicly traded alcohol and tobacco companies including Altria and Molson Coors, was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the top industry lobbyist in 2023: They spent $510,000.
That was followed by Chicago-based cannabis firm Cresco Labs, which contributed $480,000, and the trade group the National Cannabis Roundtable which contributed $456,000.
Our take: $2.8 million is a drop in the bucket compared to, say, pharmaceutical lobbying in the revolving doors of DC politics.
But still, there’s plenty of action, however slow moving, on Capitol Hill that the industry is paying attention to, from banking legislation to rescheduling.
It’s also crucial to understand who is doing the lobbying, who’s ears they have, and what they’re pushing for. Many of the top cannabis lobbyists are pushing industry-friendly legislation. Social equity is far less represented among the top spending groups, to say the least.
Polls show consumers might revert to illicit market if legal dispensaries aren’t protected
Driving the news: About one-third of regular cannabis consumers would revert to the illicit market if rescheduling didn’t protect state-legalized dispensaries, according to a new poll shared with Cultivated conducted by NuggMD, a telehealth platform for cannabis.
The poll sampled 795 cannabis consumers from NuggMD’s email list.
What else does the poll show? While 47% of cannabis consumers believe their access won’t change if the long-awaited move to Schedule III occurs, 32% say they would go back to their old dealer if they were forced to buy cannabis via a prescription through a pharmacy.
Why it matters: Some experts say that if the Department of Health and Human Services gets its way and cannabis is moved to Schedule III, then, like other Schedule III drugs, cannabis would only be available to those with prescriptions.
The jury, however, is still out on that.
It’s more likely that cannabis would be rescheduled, and then the Department of Justice would release some sort of guidance that enshrines the rights of state-legal dispensaries to continue to operate for consumers.
But again, when cannabis and politics meet, we’re all just making educated guesses.