Help Make Marijuana Legal, Buy These Rolling Papers!

 Curved Papers And NORML Partner On Hemp Rolling Papers

NEW YORK: Michael O’Malley sees the world through a convex lens. The MIT-educated CAD architect believes “The Best Things In Life Are Curved” and has applied that principle to create new product innovation in the 400 year-old rolling paper industry.  With its patent-pending “Easy To Roll”  curved edge, Curved Papers’ full line of rolling paper products is receiving rave reviews from the canna press — including features in DOPE, High Canada, Dankr.ca and Freedom Leaf — and making waves in the $5 Billion global rolling paper industry.

 “NORML rolling papers are yet another avenue to both enjoy a product that we all appreciate and support the work that makes its consumption legal.”

“NORML rolling papers are yet another avenue to both enjoy a product that we all appreciate and support the work that makes its consumption legal.”

This week, O’Malley announced a partnership with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) to introduce NORML-branded Curved Rolling Papers, which will be available in commercial retail stores beginning this November, just in time for holiday shopping. Made from 100% hemp, and crafted with the signature curved edge, the strategic partnership will create an ongoing revenue stream to support the non-profit’s historic advocacy.

“NORML rolling papers are yet another avenue to both enjoy a product that we all appreciate and support the work that makes its consumption legal.” NORML Outreach Director Kevin Mahmalji said.

At the National NORML Conference and Lobby Day in Washington D.C. this September, O’Malley addressed the awards assembly, saying “we’re very proud to be associated with NORML. This commercial program will help sustain the world-changing work that NORML does to protect personal freedom and reform our nation’s marijuana laws.”

NORML rolling papers will be 1-1/4 size, 100% organic hemp papers, with Curved Papers‘ easy to roll edge. Retailers and distributors are invited to contact Curved Papers for a  free sample: momalley@curvedpapers.com

NCIA Lobby Days 2015 Recap

by Bethany Moore, NCIA Development Officer

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: While the cannabis industry and movement has grown at a phenomenal rate this last year, the body that governs our federal laws is notorious for moving at a glacial pace. Between the House of Representatives and the Senate, the future of our country is determined by the votes of more than 500 individuals representing the wishes of their constituents. This is why every year, the National Cannabis Industry Association descends upon Capitol Hill with dozens of our members to meet with these offices to explain the unfair burdens we’re facing, and how we’d like them to fix them.

 NCIA Lobby Days

The contingent of NCIA members participating in the cannabis industry’s Annual Lobby Days grows bigger and bigger each year. This year, NCIA hosted an educational Policy Symposium to kick off the Lobby Days. NCIA director of government relations, Michael Correia, provided training and insider tips for effective lobbying and navigating the House and Senate offices.

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The crowd lit up with smiles when Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton representing the District of Columbia entered the room, and spoke to us about her continued support for our issues, and the great need for the work we are doing to change marijuana laws. Attendees also enjoyed a fireside chat between Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, where they dug deep into the many layers of taxation policy and messaging cannabis industry issues on Capitol Hill.

Around 80 NCIA members gathered into small pre-organized groups, armed with folders containing talking points and one-pagers on our issues, and a whole lot of enthusiasm. Members split off and navigated around the Senate and House buildings, headed to meetings with Congressional offices and their staffers to describe the challenges they face due to the country’s outdated federal laws first hand.

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John Davis, owner of Northwest Patient Resource Center in Seattle, and vice-chair of NCIA’s board of directors, attended Lobby Days for his third consecutive year. “I really appreciated being able to talk to people that are on the front lines along with my business on the 280E tax provision. I am already knowledgeable on the subject but the NCIA Policy Symposium did not disappoint on the details.”

Also from Washington state, Eden Labs owner AC Braddock joined us for her third year of lobbying with NCIA. “In two days we got into over 100 offices and the difference in reception from last year was significant. Legislators were interested in what we had to say, our opinions on different legislation initiatives, and how 280E and banking restrictions were genuinely hindering legal businesses.” said Braddock. “This work has restored my faith in our government processes. It is truly empowering to be heard and sought after as a source of advice.”

On the second day, NCIA kicked off the formal lobbying with a press conference in front of the Capitol. We were joined by several of our industry-friendly allies in Congress. Several pieces of legislation were introduced in the weeks surrounding the Lobby Days event, including Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s (R-CA) “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015,” which effectively gets the Federal government out of the business of the states, thus allowing each state to determine its own destiny with regard to a regulated cannabis industry. During the NCIA press conference in D.C., Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Denny Heck (D-WA) re-introduced “The Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015” (H.R. 2076), which resolves the banking crisis facing cannabis businesses. This bill would provide a safe haven for banks to offer services to cannabis-related businesses without fear of risk of breaking money laundering laws.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) also introduced “The Small Business Tax Equity Act” (H.R. 1855 andS. 987) in both the House and Senate. The companion legislation would create an exception to Section 280E allowing state-compliant cannabis businesses to take normal business expense deductions like any other legal business. Rep. Blumenauer has introduced a similar bill in the House before, but this is the first time such legislation has been proposed in the Senate.

Even earlier this year in February, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced a comprehensive solution that would address the banking crisis, the 280E fiasco, and other problematic federal cannabis policies. The “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act” (H.R. 1013) would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act altogether, and allow states to set and enforce their own marijuana policies without federal interference, thus giving each state the freedom to choose its own approach to cannabis, and also removing the many unintended consequences of the current conflict between state and federal marijuana laws.

These bills, though introduced in their respective bodies of government, await being debated and passed through their initial committees before moving to the floor for a full vote.

“While full legalization may not happen for a while, the industry should not have punitive rules in states where is it legal,” noted Braddock. “It is up to our legislators to make the laws viable and effective, and it is up to us to help them understand what that looks like. That is why it is so important to get in front of them.”

The meetings were phenomenal. Starting the dialog with your elected officials opens up a relationship with them and more importantly their legislative aids. My contact list has become quite impressive since I joined NCIA.” said Davis. “This is a big part of why my organization is active in NCIA. Change is needed at the federal level as well as in state and localities. This is our chance to be effective in advancing the changes that are needed to make our industry work.”

National Cannabis Industry Association, a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade organization, would not be able to accomplish this work were it not for the active dedication, passion, and professionalism of its membership. With nearly 900 member businesses across the country, approximately 10% of our membership was represented in Washington D.C. this year, visiting more than half of the 535 total Congressional offices. Our goal next year? Visit with all 535…

 

The Faces Of Activism: Kari Boiter

By Tawnee Lynee Cowan

WASHINGTON: Last year I found myself wanting to do more than sit behind my computer and gripe about the government. I wanted to become part of the voices that created the change we so desperately need in our world. So I joined protests against GMO’s. I joined rallies for patients rights to medical cannabis. I started volunteering for non profits benefiting my community.

The first time I went to Olympia was in November, to speak up against the fleecing of our medical cannabis laws. That was the first time I saw Kari Boiter. She was busy rushing to meetings and greeting patients she knew. She was speaking to committees on behalf of safe access for patients and protection for providers.

A few weeks ago I saw Kari on Lobby Days with many advocates I already knew, working on a project called, “Health Before Happy Hour”. She greeted me with a friendly smile and then rushed off to another meeting.
Last week I was able to sit with her and talk. Kari empowered me to speak again to the Legislature about my needs as a patient. She offered to help me get meetings with key lawmakers I had been trying to get meetings with. She listened when I told her my thoughts and views, and that was important because I feel like she is the first person that has really cared enough to ask and then listen. She told me that my needs are important, and that the things I feel are valid, and then she helped me collect my thoughts enough to be able to speak them effectively to the lawmakers.

Yesterday I spoke to the Legislature, and I think I did okay. When I think of activism, I think of Kari Boiter. Kari empowered me to become part of the process.

“I really feel that the state of the medical cannabis community is hanging in the balance right now. We need some diplomatic messengers,to take our message to the lawmakers and make sure they are doing this correctly. That does involve diplomacy. That involves finding the most effective way of being heard. What I am trying to do is create a space where lawmakers want to listen to us. They are hearing us. They are not just listening to us and hearing us, they are taking those considerations into account in the bills they are passing. If we continue to say to them that we disagree with them, and do not explain why we disagree and what we want changed,providing solutions for them not just criticism, I really feel it will be difficult for them to understand and craft laws that protect patients.”

Lobby Days In Olympia

By Tawnee Cowan

WASHINGTON:  As the whole world watches Washington State pioneer the future of recreational marijuana laws and at the same time protect the medical cannabis laws already in existence, we return to Olympia today to continue what we have started.

This morning the Committee held one more public hearing on HB 2149. At 8am hearing rooms started filling and five minutes later the staff started directing us to the overflow room. Over 80 individuals signed up to speak, less than 30 were granted that freedom. [Read more…]