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.

WATCH: Highlights from the 2018 National Cannabis Policy Summit

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:

2018 Summit Agenda


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)



Video Remarks: 

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA)



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


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





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

introduction by:

Bo Shuf, Executive Director, DC Vote



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


Jon Fasman, Washington Correspondent, The Economist


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



Keynote Address:

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

introduction by:

Rachelle Yeung, Board Member, Minority Cannabis Business Association



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


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






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


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



Keynote Address:

Attorney General Karl Racine, Washington, D.C.

introduction by:

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



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


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.