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A celebration of cannabis advocacy

You’re invited to attend the 2nd Annual National Cannabis Policy Summit on Friday, April 19, 2019.

The Summit is free and open to the public. Scroll down to get a preview of our 2019 panel topics.


WATCH: Highlights from the 2018 National Cannabis Policy Summit and scroll down to see full panel videos.


2019 Summit PANEL TOPICS

Fake News: The Role and Responsibilities of Journalists in Reversing the Narrative of the War on Drugs

What role has the media played in perpetuating the war on drugs and what can they do now to be a part of the solution. For years, media helped create a public image that hyper criminalized drug users and drug sellers, and that same machine is creating the 2019 public image for the cannabis boom. How do we hold members of the media responsible for reporting through a just and equitable lens?


Leveling the Playing Field: Is the Cannabis Industry a Second Chance for Victims of the Failed War on Drugs?

In 1970, cannabis was added to the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I drug. Since 1970, the incarcerated population in the United States has increased by 700%. While cannabis use across racial groups is virtually equal, women and people of color remain underrepresented in ownership and leadership roles and overrepresented in the prison population. Cannabis is growing into a billion dollar industry, but for many looking to enter the legal cannabis industry, the bar for entry remains nearly unattainable, resulting in an industry that does not reflect the makeup of its audience. How do we reconcile capitalism, equity and incarceration? How can the cannabis industry move past the damage caused by the failed War on Drugs and become a viable opportunity for all Americans?


Thank You for Your Service: When Will Congress Let Veterans Use Medical Cannabis?

Medical cannabis is currently legal in 31 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam, and 46 states have some form of medical cannabis law; however, it remains illegal at the federal level. Around the country, veterans are required to take drug tests, forcing them to decide between their personal well-being and strict legal compliance  in order to maintain federal employment, even in states where cannabis is legal. On February 1, 2018, Maine became the first jurisdiction in the nation to protect workers from adverse employment action due to their use of medical cannabis. On July 26, 2018, Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-GA) introduced The Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under States Laws Act (HR 6589), a bill that would protect the rights of patients in states where medical cannabis is legal. Do current laws amount to discrimination against veterans who use cannabis instead of pharmaceuticals? Does HR 6589 bridge State and Federal law and create a path to full legalization?


“If” to “How”: How Can the Path to Federal Legalization Inform State Law?

According to a 2017 Lake Research Partners Public Opinion on Marijuana poll, 60% of all likely voters are ready to embrace legalization regardless of party identification. As public opinion shifts, congress has been slow to catch up. If the majority of American voters are ready for decriminalization and legalization, why won’t congress take action? What are the remaining obstacles stopping Congress from enacting full legalization? How should cannabis advocates navigate the path to end prohibition?


The New Cash Crop: Can America Keep Up on Cannabis?

Around the world, more countries are legalizing cannabis and the United States is rapidly falling behind. Our neighbors in Mexico are following Uruguay and Canada’s lead towards full legalization, but in the U.S., federal law still classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 Drug – the same classification as heroin – placing restrictions on medical research, interstate commerce and banking. North American companies are at a disadvantage for expansion in both domestic and international markets. On the border, the United States denies entry to people in the cannabis industry traveling for business, preventing potential international trade and the free exchange of ideas by treating cannabis as a banned substance and participants in the cannabis industry as drug traffickers. How should the U.S. work with countries where cannabis is legal? Can the United States be competitive in the global cannabis industry with a state-by-state approach to legalization instead of a federal one? What lessons can we learn from challenges other countries are facing when establishing their own cannabis regulations?


Staying Green: How Can Regulating the Cannabis Industry Help Protect the Environment?

A 2017 study published in the November issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment draws the conclusion that planting cannabis for commercial production in remote locations causes environmental damage. In California, the law limits the scale of outdoor cannabis cultivation to 1 acre per parcel as a deterrent for the development of industrial-scale outdoor grows. This legislation creates a new challenge by incentivizing  an increase in small cannabis grows that can be widely dispersed, causing forest fragmentation, stream modification and soil erosion. Without effective land-use policies in place, the environmental impact could worsen. What are the specific environmental and land-use regulations that both allow cannabis crop expansion and protect the environment during this early stage in industry development? What are the long term effects of cannabis cultivation on the environment? What lessons can we learn from existing agricultural policies and how can they be applied to the cannabis industry?

Cannabis in the Crosshairs: How do Big Media Companies Enforce “Community Standards” While Protecting Free Expression?

In 2018, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control Facebook page was taken down for violating Facebook community standards. Many other cannabis-related businesses saw their pages removed or become unsearchable on social media. This “shadow ban” impacted tens of thousands of patients, medical care providers, medical dispensaries and cultivation centers. At the same time, social media platforms have recently come under fire for acting as easy-access storefronts for opioid sales. As cannabis moves towards mainstream acceptance medicinally and recreationally, cannabis businesses and activists still find themselves censored online. Is the lack of guidance and legal contradictions between state and federal law forcing big tech companies to define cannabis policies on their own? How do big tech platforms reconcile the promotion and circulation of pharmaceuticals and prescription pills while effectively blocking recognized plant-based medicine? How can cannabis business owners and advocates work with social media platforms to create necessary accessibility standards for patients?

WATCH: Full #420Summit videos


Registration for the 2018 #420Summit is now closed. Please remember to arrive early as seating is first come first served. For those who were unable to register in advance, a limited number of registration spots will be available on Friday. We can’t wait to see everyone!

The National Cannabis Policy Summit brings together a diverse group of activists and leaders from government, business, healthcare, veterans groups, and civil rights organizations to discuss today’s most pressing cannabis policy challenges and opportunities.

Timed to take place the day prior to the National Cannabis Festival, the Summit is Washington, D.C.’s premier celebration of cannabis advocacy and a call to action for American leadership in defense of state’s rights and the will of the voters, in Washington, D.C. and around the country. We hope you will join the conversation.

Scroll down for the agenda. See the full list of Summit Speakers.

Registration is required for entry. Please bring a valid government issued ID and be prepared to go through security at The Newseum. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 9:30am. We recommend you arrive early to ensure you get a seat.

Press RSVP: press@nationalcannabisfestival.com


2018 Summit Agenda

9:50am

Welcome & Opening Remarks

Caroline Phillips, Founder, National Cannabis Festival & National Cannabis Policy Summit

Alyssa Mastromonaco, New York Times Best Selling author of Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?, and contributor to Crooked Media

Video Address: 

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)


 

10:00am

Video Remarks: 

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA)


 

10:15am

Amplifying Equity to Create a Stronger Industry

In Fall 2017, with no African-Americans among the state’s first 15 medical marijuana licensees Maryland’s Legislative Black Caucus "took a knee" threatening to refuse further cooperation on legislative business without passage of a bill expanding the medical marijuana growing industry to include African-American applicants.

Led by Delegate Cheryl Glenn, the caucus sought to hold regulators accountable for failing to demonstrate significant initiative in seeking racial diversity when awarding the licenses. How are policymakers helping marginalized communities to find equal footing in the cannabis industry? What steps can be taken at the state level to ensure equal access? How can business owners in legal states better support diverse industry?

Moderated by:

Alyssa Mastromonaco, New York Times Best Selling author of Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?, and contributor to Crooked Media

Panelists:

Delegate Cheryl D. Glenn, Maryland District 45, Baltimore City

Dr. Chanda Macias, Chairwoman, Women Grow & Owner, National Holistic Healing Center

Tahira Rehmatullah, Managing Director, Hypur Ventures


 

10:50am

 

Remarks

Betsy Cavendish, General Counsel, Executive Office of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser

introduction by:

Bo Shuf, Executive Director, DC Vote


 

11:00am

Tax Fairness & Cannabis

According to a 2017 Gallup Poll, more than 64% of Americans support legalizing cannabis. Despite bipartisan support for legalization increasing at a steady pace, legal cannabis business owners face significant challenges with banking and managing expenses under the 280E section of the tax code which strips all normal business deductions away from somebody who sells cannabis and assigns a 35% tax on sales.

In 2013, Operation Choke Point was spearheaded by the Department of Justice and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The program cut off legal cannabis businesses from the financial services they need to survive. Government policies directed at cannabis businesses have imposed undue financial burdens, stifled innovation, and put in place barriers for entry that are unattainable for all but a select few.

How can we work through Congress to remove the extraordinary tax burden impacting legal cannabis businesses by getting rid of 280E? Once cannabis is legalized will congress and states intervene with heavy-handed regulations? Will the astronomical tax burden placed on cannabis businesses coupled with over-regulation cause the industry to wither before it can blossom? 

video remarks:

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)

introduction by:

Michelle Rutter, National Cannabis Industry Association

MODERATED BY:

Jon Fasman, Washington Correspondent, The Economist

Panelists:

John Hudak, Deputy Director, Center for Effective Public Management, The Brookings Institution

John Kagia, Executive Vice President, New Frontier Data

Neal Levine, Chairman, New Federalism Fund

Michelle Minton, Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform


 

12:00pm

Keynote Address:

Ben Jealous, 2018 Candidate for Maryland Governor and Former President & CEO, NAACP

introduction by:

Rachelle Yeung, Board Member, Minority Cannabis Business Association


 

12:15pm

Get Up, Stand Up: Can Cannabis Heal our Broken Criminal Justice System?

According to The Washington Post, in 2016 more people were arrested for cannabis possession than for all other crimes that the FBI classifies as violent combined. One of those people was Jawara McIntosh, activist, musician and son of reggae legend, Peter Tosh.

In February 2017 Jawara was brutally assaulted while serving the final six months of a one year sentence in New Jersey for cannabis possession. Also in New Jersey in 2017, Senator Cory Booker introduced the Marijuana Justice Act with the aim of legalizing marijuana, expunging federal cannabis convictions and penalizing states with racially-disparate arrest rates for marijuana-related crimes.

Opinions and policies on cannabis are changing fast, but our criminal justice system is lagging behind. How can we reconcile the damage inflicted by the war on drugs with a rapidly growing new cannabis industry? How should non-violent cannabis offences be addressed? Is there hope for bipartisan agreement on cannabis policy reform?

Introduction by:

Queen Adesuyi, Drug Policy Alliance

Moderated by:

C.J. Ciaramella, Criminal Justice Reporter, Reason Magazine

panelists:

Kayvan Khalatbari, Founding Partner, Denver Relief Consulting

Niambe McIntosh, Criminal Justice Advocate, Daughter of Peter Tosh & Sister of Jawara McIntosh

Clark Neily, Vice President of Criminal Justice, The Cato Institute

Eric Sterling, Executive Director, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation

Shaleen Title, Commissioner, Massachussetts Cannabis Control Commission


 

1:10pm

Break


 

1:30pm

The Exit Drug: Can Medical Cannabis End the Narcotics Epidemic?

In 2015, the Centers of Disease Control reported that 33,000 Americans died from prescription painkillers and heroin overdoses compared to the number of people who died that year from using cannabis: zero. Earlier this year, the National Academy of Sciences, in a 395-page report, refuted the "gateway drug" theory that using cannabis can lead to opioid addiction and instead found evidence of cannabis having therapeutic and health benefits.

The tide is turning on stigmas around the healing properties of cannabis and medical professionals are paying attention. Researchers complain that the classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance creates additional obstacles that don't exist for studies on other substances.

What needs to be done to take cannabis off Schedule 1 classification to broaden opportunities for scientific testing? How can states and municipalities modernize their approaches to treating multi-generational opioid abuse? Will cannabis legalization help end the America’s opioid epidemic?

Video remarks:

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

introduction by:

Tricia Christensen, Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition

Moderated by:

Amanda Chicago Lewis, Investigative Reporter, Rolling Stone Magazine

panelists:

Jose Belen, Veteran, United States Army & Founder, Florida Mission Zero

Tanganyika Daniel, Veteran, United States Marine Corps

Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn, M.A.H.L., D.D., Takoma Wellness Center

Dr. Mikhail Kogan, Medical Director, George Washington University Center for Integrative Medicine

Joseph Plenzler, Director of Media Relations, The American Legion


 

2:15pm

Keynote Address:

Attorney General Karl Racine, Washington, D.C.

introduction by:

Monica Hopkins, Executive Director, ACLU of the District of Columbia


 

2:30pm

All the Buzz: How does Media Portrayal Impact the Future of Cannabis?

From Dazed and Confused and Super Troopers to Weediquette and Disjointed, cannabis is a longtime darling of the mainstream media and the entertainment industry. As attitudes on the plant shift from underground use to main street recreational and medical use, the portrayal of cannabis in the press and on the television screen has greater chance of impacting public opinion and policy.

How has coverage of cannabis in the media changed in the past five years with support for legalization growing? What kind of challenges and opportunities does the portrayal of cannabis in the press create for activists, advocates and business owners? How can the cannabis community leverage the influence of the media to shore up support for pro-legalization candidates in the 2018 congressional elections?

video remarks:

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

Introduction by:

Morgan Fox, Director of Communications, Marijuana Policy Project

Moderated by:

Ricardo Baca, Founding Editor of The Cannabist a division of The Denver Post & Founder, Grasslands: A Content Agency

panelists:

Dr. Imani Cheers, George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs

Adam Eidinger, Director of Social Action, Dr. Bronner’s Magical Soap

Steve Fox, Director, VS Strategies

Shanita Penny, Publisher, Sensi Magazine, D.C.

Jane West, CEO, Jane West & Founder, Women Grow

 

Full list of 2018 Summit Speakers

Registration is required for entry. Please bring a valid government issued ID and be prepared to go through security at The Newseum. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 9:30am. We recommend you arrive early to ensure you get a seat.