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."