Lobbying in the Time of Coronavirus

From Politico:

With Washington consumed by figuring out how to respond to the coronavirus, few lawmakers or their aides have time for anything else.

Cannabis lobbyists on Capitol Hill are changing strategies as lawmakers leave town and staffers work from home. Politico's Natalie Fertig reached out to a few lobbyists to hear what they expect as Washington enters an unprecedented new way of working for the foreseeable future. Here are the main takeaways:

Cannabis is not a priority. At all. Every lobbyist said one thing in common: Now is not the time to be talking about cannabis, at least until the federal coronavirus and economic rescue packages are sorted out.
"Does any elected official want to hear from a lobbyist who is not there to talk about the coronavirus?" said Don Murphy of the Marijuana Policy Project. "Prior to this, I actually believed that having half a million people arrested needlessly for cannabis use warranted being a top issue. But right now, all four burners are occupied by coronavirus.”

One thing will stay the same: Murphy says he still plans to sit on the front steps of the Capitol any day that lawmakers may be heading to votes.
"I don't believe I'm going to have access to getting into committee hearings the way I used to, [and] these fundraisers are being canceled right and left," Murphy said. "So where will lobbyists go to see members? I guess I might have some company at the Capitol steps."
To read the full story, click here

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Tax and Regulate

Delaware Supporters to Lobby State Lawmakers Thursday

This Thursday, the Cannabis Bureau of Delaware Cannabis Bureau of Delawarewill be hosting a lobby day to urge lawmakers to support ending marijuana prohibition in the First State. Residents who want to see real marijuana policy reform should  set up an appointment with your elected representatives to let them know why you think it is time Delaware joins Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington in making marijuana legal for adults.

Unlike the four states that already tax and regulate marijuana, Delawareans cannot vote on ballot initiatives to change existing laws. This is why it is so important that you make your voice heard.

Register here to lobby on Thursday, January 28 in Dover.

We will begin with a training session with John Flaherty, Director of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government, who has 20 years of experience as a lobbyist. He will guide us through best practices, helping you to become a more effective advocate.

If you can’t make it to speak up for sensible marijuana policy in person, you can send your legislators a quick message using our automated system.

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MPP's Rob Kampia Discusses the Future of Texas Marijuana Policy Reform

Mar 04, 2014 Morgan Fox

KXAN, lobbying, NBC, Omar Lewis, Texas

On March 1, MPP officially began lobbying for marijuana policy reform directly in the Texas legislature. Over the next several years, we will be working with supportive lawmakers and local advocates to remove the threat of jail for simple possession of marijuana, and eventually end marijuana prohibition altogether in the Lone Star State.

Here is MPP's executive director, Rob Kampia, discussing the future of marijuana policy reform on KXAN:

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Medical Marijuana

New Hampshire Becomes 19th State to Allow Medical Marijuana

Jul 23, 2013 Kate Zawidzki

Illinois, lobbying, Maggie Hassan, medical, New Hampshire, Vermont

[caption id="attachment_6089" align="alignright" width="200"]MaggieHassan_officialphoto Gov. Maggie Hassan[/caption]

Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) signed a bill that made New Hampshire the 19th state to legalize medical marijuana!

MPP worked for seven years to bring about this victory. We funded local activists, retained lobbyists in the state capital, employed a full-time staffer outside the state capital, and dedicated significant resources to building public support and generating constituent pressure on elected officials. We also persevered despite our medical marijuana legislation being vetoed twice -- once in 2009, and then again in 2012.

The newly enacted law will allow patients with serious illnesses to obtain marijuana from four nonprofit, state-licensed alternative treatment centers.

Even more exciting, medical marijuana is officially legal in all six states that comprise New England!

Passage of the New Hampshire bill marks MPP’s second major legislative victory this year (we also passed a bill decriminalizing marijuana possession in Vermont), and we have a medical marijuana bill awaiting the signature of Gov. Quinn in Illinois.

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