Lobby Days 2018 Recap
Canna Advisors Co-founders Diane and Jay Czarkowski participated in the NCIA‘s annual Lobby Days together this year in Washington, D.C. and came back with interesting stories and insight about their experiences with political leaders and fellow advocates.
It was Jay’s first time ever attending Lobby Days, and he led a rockstar team consisting of prominent cannabis rights activist Steve DeAngelo, Arizona-based physician Dr. Sue Sisley, and NFL running back Mike James. The group met with Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer (D-NY), Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT), Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), and Representative Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN).
“It was inspiring and interesting to see how many politicians showed up to speak. In the past, there have only been a handful of people at the federal level who were outspoken about cannabis, and it used to be considered political suicide to support the issue,” Jay remarked. “At the event, politicians were tripping over themselves to get to the mic and speak to our crowd.”
Diane noticed that there was an increase in bi-partisan education and awareness around the benefits of cannabis and the challenges that businesses in the industry are facing. Her team got the chance to speak with three Republicans from Iowa and three Republicans from Kansas to reinforce the positive economic impact the cannabis industry has made in creating new jobs, and to advocate for a farming bill that would open up hemp production.
The highlight of the trip for Diane was getting the opportunity to introduce one of our Pennsylvania clients to his state congressman and hearing the great conversation that followed. Both were eager to share their perspectives on cannabis and listen to what the other had to say. “I love making connections between people, because networking can facilitate new opportunities and lead to beneficial relationships,” said Diane.
Diane and Jay have been actively involved in leading advocacy efforts for years, and have worked at local, state, and national levels to educate and push for cannabis reform. While it might seem overwhelming or intimidating to get involved in advocacy, a massive, time-consuming effort isn’t required in order to make an impact. Keep it simple and start with small actions. Speak up. Educate. Vote. Call or write your legislator. Small acts by an individual can add up to make a big difference. Advocacy has already led to major inroads into policy reform and will continue to be a powerful tool in securing safe access for people across the nation and the globe.