As more states pass laws to regulate the use of cannabis, it becomes paramount for the cannabis industry to achieve some type of federal status. Although 46 states in the United States have some form of regulated cannabis use, whether it be recreational use of the plant or medical use of isolated compounds, the federal government still has cannabis compounds classified as a schedule 1 drug. On January 4, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole memos which adopted a policy of non-interference with cannabis-friendly states. This change in policy allows federal prosecutors to decide individually on whether to use resources to crack down on possession, distribution, and cultivation of cannabis in states that have legalized the use of the plant. This has businesses and banks scared and is creating unfair banking regulations. Many companies are seeing their bank accounts closed and most businesses in the cannabis industry cannot accept credit cards as payment. This only encourages crime in the industry as purchases are transacted with cash. It also stunts research development, forcing scientists and funding to other countries.
To encourage advocates to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill the National Cannabis Industry Association is sponsoring the 8th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days on May 21-23 in Washington DC. Here more than 300 professionals will gather for the opportunity to connect with hundreds of Capitol Hill staffers personally for two days. In the eight years since inception NCIA board members have been able to witness a positive change in reception from federal employees. Ean Seeb a board member who has been attending Lobby Days for six years now says, "The fact that we're being asked questions when we go into these meetings, we're not being pushed out of the room and people aren't laughing at us, is a lot further than we used to be." In 2014 there were about 60 cannabis industry professionals that attended the 4th Annual Lobby Days, In 2018 there are over 300 professionals registered to attend. You must be a member of NCIA to attend, which membership is open and registration for the event closes May 18, 2018.