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NATIONAL CANNABIS POLICY SUMMIT

17apr9:30 am6:30 pmNATIONAL CANNABIS POLICY SUMMITHundreds of advocates, patients and business owners will gather to hear lead sponsors of frontline legislation lay out their visions for working to accomplish cannabis policy reform and to celebrate the presentation of the 2024 Changemaker Awards.

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Save the date and join us on Wednesday, April 17th, 2024 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library for the 2024 National Cannabis Policy Summit.

Hundreds of advocates, patients and business owners will gather to hear lead sponsors of frontline legislation lay out their visions for working to accomplish cannabis policy reform and to celebrate the presentation of the 2024 Changemaker Awards.

Keep scrolling to see the 2024 agenda and speakers, and visit our YouTube page using the link below to view last year’s full panel videos from the NCPS Congressional Forum.

Conversations on cannabis policy.

2024 SUMMIT AGENDA

9:30am

Summit Registration Open
RSVP for the Summit Here

Morning Coffee Networking Reception powered by the UFCW’s Cannabis Workers Union
RSVP for the Reception Here

Breaking the Paper Shackles: Expungement Resource Fair Hosted by Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Blaze Responsibly, FreedomGrow (10am – 6pm)
RSVP for the Expungement Resource Fair Here

10:30am

OPENING VIDEO REMARKS: Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA)

OPENING REMARKS: Caroline Phillips, Founder, National Cannabis Festival & Policy Summit

10:35am

POPULAR OPINION: CANNABIS POLICY AND THE ELECTION

The United States has come a long way from “Just Say No”. Polling on cannabis gives regulators, lawmakers, and advocates important insight into how the perception of cannabis has evolved over the past few decades. In a 2024 survey by Pew Research Center 88% of respondents said that cannabis should be legal for medical or recreational use by adults; however, reasons for either supporting or opposing legalization can vary significantly. What are voters’ reasons for their positions on cannabis, and how do they differ based on political affiliation and other demographics? What do recent polls tell us about how advocates should talk about cannabis legalization with lawmakers and how, if at all, does the messaging change when speaking to a public audience? How can advocates leverage the upcoming elections to push for policy reform? How has the narrative coming from the White House shaped cannabis and drug policy in recent decades?

Daniel Gotoff, Partner at Lake Research Partners, Lake Research Partners

Courtney Couillard, Research Manager, HIT Strategies

Moderated by: Kat Murti, Executive Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy

11:05am

TRUE JUSTICE: PROVIDING RETROACTIVE RELIEF FOR CANNABIS OFFENSES

As of 2023, 24 states have enacted adult-use cannabis legalization, 24 have enacted cannabis-specific record clearance laws, and 10 have enacted cannabis-specific resentencing laws. While these criminal justice policies have become commonplace in recent legislation, unfortunately, the work is still far from finished. Why is prioritizing repairing the harms of cannabis criminalization important in the legalization conversation? How do different mechanisms for record relief and release of those still incarcerated affect people with cannabis convictions? How can states act on the President’s call to release those incarcerated, “solely due to the use or possession of marijuana,” and what implications this may have for the future of cannabis and criminal justice reform in the United States?

Donte West, Cannabis Exoneree & Advocacy Associate, Last Prisoner Project

Ronald Simpson-Bey, JustLeadershipUSA, Executive Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

Liz Budtnitz, Executive Director, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Moderated by: Sarah Gertsen, Executive Director, Last Prisoner Project

12:00pm

REMARKS: Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

12:10pm

THE ECONOMIC CASE FOR CANNABIS

A 2023 study by the Tax Foundation shows that through full descheduling, a regulated cannabis industry can generate $8.5M in tax revenue for the federal government and 1.5-1.75M new jobs. Despite the projected benefits, federal legislation remains in limbo while cannabis business owners in state programs continue to be overwhelmed by enormous tax burdens and difficulties with basic business services like banking.

Apart from tax revenue and job creation, what are the other economic drivers that advocates can amplify to change minds on cannabis policy reform? Are incremental steps towards legalization enough to spur the economy, or is it time for advocates and business to demand full descheduling? Do fears of the perceived “social cost” outweigh the economic benefits of legalization?

Cat Packer, Director of Drug Markets and Legal Regulation, Drug Policy Alliance

TBD

12:45pm

PATCHWORK POLICIES: PROTECTING CANNABIS WORKERS AND CONSUMERS

In an emerging industry, consumer and worker rights are taking center-stage in debates that range from better wages and safe work environments to how cannabis consumers are treated in the workplace.

In many states that have legalized, commitments for “Labor Peace Agreements” were included in the licensing program, encouraging owners of companies (usually of 20 or more workers) to make a commitment to not engage in anti-union activities in exchange for preliminary agreements to not strike. Consumers who work in government or industries that test for cannabis are finding liberties granted by the state – like access to medical cannabis – contrast with company/agency policies, leaving them vulnerable to losing jobs/livelihood.

How should labor unions play a role in the burgeoning cannabis industry? What role can/should the government play in protecting cannabis consumers in the workplace?  How are state legislators and unions moving to protect worker and consumer rights?

Luke Jones, Federal Employee

Ademola Oyefeso, International Vice President & Director, Legislative and Political Action Department, United Food and Commercial Workers Union

Blaine Stum, Senior Policy Advisor, DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson

Moderated by: Karen O’Keefe, Director of State Policies, Marijuana Policy Project

1:15pm/1:30pm

REMARKS: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)

1:50pm

BREAK

2:10pm

VIDEO REMARKS: Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY)

2:15pm

GATEWAY DRUG: CANNABIS AND IMMIGRATION REFORM

A 2021 policy analysis by the Cato Institute asserts that legalizing cannabis has the potential to decrease violence and trafficking at the border more so than interdiction and enforcement alone. At the same time, human rights advocates point out that immigrants entering the United States can be denied entry or reentry, have their immigration status revoked or denied, or be subject to detention and deportation for consuming cannabis or working in the cannabis industry, even in states where it is legal. How does U.S. drug policy impact border communities and immigration to the U.S.?  What are the contradictions in state and federal law related to marijuana and how does this impact immigrants in the U.S? How can improved marijuana policies at the federal level bolster efforts for federal immigration reform? What can the Biden Administration do today to reduce the number of marijuana-based deportations?

Jasmine Tyler, Executive Director, Justice Policy Institute

John Walsh, Director of Drug Policy and the Andes, Washington Office on Latin America

Moderated by: Jessica Gonzalez, Executive Board Member, Supernova Women & Attorney, Rudick Law Group PLLC

3:00pm

CROSSING THE LINE: INTERSTATE COMMERCE AND SMALL BUSINESS

As the prospect of federal reform gets closer to reality, the conversation around transitioning existing state-legal marketplaces towards a national marketplace is heating up.

Some advocates support a delay in opening of interstate commerce for state legal cannabis businesses, arguing that a delay gives state programs and nascent businesses time to develop while protecting community-led efforts that are underway on social equity licensing structures. Other advocates support immediately opening interstate trade, arguing that opening the national marketplace to state-legal cannabis businesses will immediately bolster small and medium sized farmers, drive down prices for patients and adult consumers, and allow established businesses access to emerging markets.

How do we come up with a tax rate that’s consistent across multiple jurisdictions? How does the federal government institute industry-wide regulations (testing standards, etc.) without stifling state programs?  Assuming federal legalization, are there mechanisms available to prevent access to interstate commerce to begin with?

Geoffrey Lawrence, Research Director, Reason Foundation

Chenae Bullock, Founder & CEO, Moskehtu Consulting

Moderated by: Michelle Rutter, Director of Government Relations, National Cannabis industry Association

3:45pm

SAFER BANKING: ARE WE THERE YET?

In September 2019, The SAFE Banking Act made history when it became the first stand-alone “pro-cannabis” bill to be passed in a chamber of Congress. Since that day, the House has passed the bill an additional four times, but the Senate, under both Republican and Democratic leadership, has refused to consider the legislation for various reasons. Support for the bill comes from a coalition of unlikely allies, including dozens of Governors, states Attorneys General, Auditors, and Treasurers from both parties as well as bankers, unions, and advocates. Despite widespread bipartisan support, advocates remain concerned with banking-led efforts to improve the bill, and how/if they will benefit small and minority owned businesses. What’s the current status of the SAFER Banking Act? What types of additional reforms are necessary to promote equitable access to banking for those in the cannabis industry?  How do incremental reforms like the SAFER Banking Act inform and shape the future of federal cannabis policy reform?

Anthony Lamorena, Senior Federal Affairs Manager, R Street

Dasheeda Dawson, NYC Cannabis Czar

Moderated by: Rafi Crockett, Cannabis Regulators of Color

4:30pm

VIDEO REMARKS: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

THE UNITED STATE(S) OF CANNABIS

The Congressional Cannabis Caucus is a bipartisan forum, “established to harmonize federal laws that conflict with state laws allowing for medical and adult-use cannabis.” The Caucus was formed as a platform for members to engage, discuss and learn about the need to establish a more rational approach to federal cannabis policy.

Join us for a discussion to learn where Congress stands on Veterans Equal Access, Descheduling vs Rescheduling, appropriations, and more.

Francisco Sabaté, Legislative Aide, Office of U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA)

Sonia Norton, Senior Legislative Aide, Office of U. S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

More speakers to be announced.

Moderated by: Maritza Perez Medina, Director of Federal Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance

5:30pm

FIRESIDE CHAT: FIVE DECADES OF FIGHTING FOR CANNABIS JUSTICE

Join Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Keith Stroup, founder of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), for a “fireside chat” as these pioneers of the movement to end cannabis prohibition reflect on five decades of fighting for cannabis justice, from the first successful efforts to decriminalize low-level possession to today.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

Keith Stroup, Founder, NORML

6:00pm

NCPS MEET & GREET POWERED BY CANNABIS REGULATORS OF COLOR COALITION

Join Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition for a sunset meet & greet mixer with light refreshments and a chance to meet regulators from across the country! We’ll be mixing and mingling after the Policy Summit at the MLK Library after a full day of policy discussions.

RSVP for the Mixer here.

6:30pm

DOCUMENTARY SCREENING: NOT YOUR TOKIN’

The true story of the Green Rush from the eyes of those incarcerated and left behind in the industry’s growth. As cannabis legalization sweeps the nation, a crucial question emerges: how can we ensure this industry benefits those most harmed by the “War on Drugs”? This documentary explores the challenges and victories of minority-owned cannabis businesses from selling at the largest music festival in San Francisco to defining social equity.

Darius Kemp, Co-Producer, Not Your Tokin’

Ishaq Ali, Co-Producer, Not Your Tokin’

Nina Parks, Co-Founder, Equity Trade Network

Roman Garcia, Co-Founder, Equity Trade Network

more

Time

(Wednesday) 9:30 am - 6:30 pm

Location

MLK Memorial Library in Washington, D.C

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