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Medical marijuana: Jared Polis stars in National Cannabis Industry Association event (PHOTOS)

jared polis at ncia event.JPG
More pics below.
An event last night illustrates the growing power of the medical marijuana biz not just in Colorado, but nationwide. The stars of the show were Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, a new, Washington, D.C.-based lobbying organization, and Congressman Jared Polis, joined by politicos aplenty, as you'll see in our accompanying photo gallery. But Smith says the night was about more than simply rubbing elbows.

The NCIA "just rolled out in December," says Smith, speaking in advance of the shindig, staged at a home in Denver's Highland neighborhood. "Our board of directors is comprised of dispensary owners, test facilities, publications that deal with cannabis, manufacturers of cannabis-related accessories and others. It's a diverse group of business leaders. Our goal is to advocate for the interests of the legal cannabis industry in Washington, as well as to provide services for members and create industry-wide standards -- best practices ranging from quality control to packaging to financial record-keeping."

Among the issues atop NCIA's agenda is "the tax code," Smith notes. "We're working to ensure that medical marijuana businesses can deduct their expenses just like any other legal business. Right now, unfortunately, the IRS is doing some major audits at a lot of facilities, and we're working to equalize the tax codes for medical marijuana, as well as to ensure there's equal access to banking for dispensaries and other businesses. There have been ongoing problems with dispensaries not able to take out loans or even make deposits because of the perception that what they're doing is a violation of federal laws, and banks don't have the confidence to do business with dispensaries. So we're working with Congressman Polis to find either an administrative or legislative fix to that problem."

1 polis event crowd includes brian vicente betty aldworth jared polis.JPG
Photo by Kim Sidwell
The crowd around Jared Polis includes Sensible Colorado's Brian Vicente.
Smith identifies Polis as among the legislators most attuned to the issues of the medical marijuana community, along with the likes of California congressmen Dana Rohrabacher and Pete Stark. Their support is important for the future of the industry, Smith feels.

"The administration has essentially taken a position that if a business is in compliance with state law, the Department of Justice won't take enforcement action," he points out. "So we want to extend that policy into other areas of the federal code, like the tax code and issues involving the Department of Treasury that address the banking situation. Ultimately, we need to ensure that this is the law of the land, not just the policy of this particular president. The federal government needs to back off and not tell states what to do in setting their own medical marijuana policies."

Beyond medical marijuana, the NCIA seeks "overall legalization for sales and possession of cannabis for adults," Smith confirms. "We want to expand this industry and put the black market out of business, so that we can see sale to adults over 21 just as we do with alcohol, which is a far more dangerous drug than cannabis."

In this context, the NCIA sees Colorado as a nationwide key -- which is one reason why Smith journeyed to our fair state to attend the event.

"Colorado is at the forefront of this emerging industry," he maintains. "We're seeing medical cannabis businesses flourishing throughout the state, under state licensing, and that's translating into tax dollars and good sustainable jobs. It's definitely taken root here, and I'm hopeful that the state could soon make full adult sales legal, and regulate them throughout the state. And I certainly think what we're doing at the federal level is very relevant to business owners here in Colorado and the public at large."

Hence the turnout at last night's invitation-only soiree, at which mayoral candidates James Mejia and Doug Linkhart, as well as state representative Crisanta Duran, noshed alongside plenty of high-profile MMJ business owners and activists. Page through below to see more images courtesy of photographer Kim Sidwell.


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18 comments
event photographer denver
event photographer denver

An excellent article ! very well written post.  I agree with you that Jared & Doug are currently the only two candidates in the State of Colorado that have had the courage to speak the truth regarding the cannabis industry. They are very active and very fast decision taker.Good job ! Waiting for a new one.

Christian Conser Vative
Christian Conser Vative

Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us. None of us would want our child thrown in jail with the sexual predators for using a little marijuana. None of us would want to see our parent's home confiscated and sold by the police for growing a couple of marijuana plants to ease the aches and pains of growing older. It's time to stop putting our own families in jail. It's time to let ordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards, and it's nice to see the public discussion on this moving in a more wholesome fashion. This will go a long way toward putting the criminal drug gangs out of business for good!

Patient123
Patient123

How many patients did they invite to their little soiree?

malcolmkyle
malcolmkyle

Alcohol prohibition in the US run from 1919 to 1933 - Now google 'The Great Wall Street Crash' and see when that happened!

During alcohol prohibition, all profits went to enrich thugs and criminals. Young men died every day on inner-city streets while battling over turf. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have gone on education etc. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally the economy collapsed. Sound familiar?

http://1929crash.com/

China has recently been in negotiation with a number of countries, asking them to replace the Dollar with the Chinese Yuan as their reserve currency. This, when it happens, will remove the Federal Government's ability to keep printing cash to cover the trillions it costs to fund prohibition. It’ll mean true freedom but the transition period may well bring consequences that are far more horrific than a slasher movie. -- It never had to be this way; we should have learned our lesson from studying the mayhem that alcohol prohibition wreaked on us.

We all have our victories and defeats as regards fear, but most of us strive not to let fear rule our hearts or our minds. Being free means being free to live and love as if death and fear had no power over us. Freedom also means that we have an ethical and moral responsibility to expose blind hate, lies and ignorance by shining eternal light, truth and love, sending such dark forces fleeing to the shadows from whence they came.

We explore outer space with various forms of space craft, but many choose to explore inner space via nature's abundant chemistry - an infinite journey into the heart of God. Whatever, we are here to explore this glorious universe. The Prohibitionist's brand of hateful, choking pseudo-Conservatism is the antithesis of all that. Like a lion who cannot grasp that he can do more than walk in a circle the size of the cage he's recently been freed from, the prohibitionist is incapable of exploration beyond the boundaries of his own fear, prejudice and loathing. We are all free to choose how we walk our own path, but when we choose to go beyond this by supporting drug-war demagoguery, to the point of even threatening others with imprisonment, we loose the right to expect any form of respect from the once free and prosperous society that we are helping to totally destroy.

Thanks to prohibition we're about to lose all semblance of that once ordered, prosperous and safe society. Myself, along with many others, have been debating prohibitionists on this for many years. We have shown what destruction prohibition has wrought on all the civil institutions of this once great nation, -we've always provided facts and statistics - they, the prohibitionists, have countered with either lies, personal abuse or even serious threats of violence.

Ending the insanity of drug prohibition by legalized regulation, respecting the rights of the responsible users and focusing on addiction as a sickness, like we do with alcohol and tobacco, may save what remains of our economy and civil institutions along with countless lives and livelihoods. Prohibition continues unabated for shameful political reasons. It cannot, and never will, reduce drug use or addiction.

Prohibition has permanently scarred our national character as well as our individual psyches. Our national policies and cultural practices have become pervaded by the fascistic, prohibitionist mind-set which has turned our domestic police force into a bunch of paramilitary thugs who often commit extra-judicial beatings and executions while running roughshod over our rights in order to "protect us from ourselves".

When we eventually manage to put the horrors of this toxic moronothon behind us, we'll need to engage in some very deep and honest soul-searching as to what we want to be as a nation. Many of our freedoms have been severely circumscribed or lost altogether, our economy has been trashed and our international reputation for being "free and fair" has been dragged through a putrid sewer by vicious narrow-minded drug warrior zealots who are ignorant of abstract concepts such as truth, justice and decency. We'll need to make sure that such a catastrophe is never ever repeated. This may mean that public hearings or tribunals will be held where those who have been the instigators and cheerleaders of this abomination will have to answer for their serious crimes against our once prosperous and proud nation.

Each day you remain silent, you help to destroy the Constitution, fill the prisons with our children, and empower terrorists and criminals worldwide while wasting hundreds of billions of your own tax dollars. Prohibition bears many strong and startling similarities to Torquemada­'s inquisition­, it's supporters are servants of tyranny and hate. If you're aware of but not enraged by it's shear waste and cruel atrocities then both your heart and soul must surely be dead.

Prohibition engendered black market profits are obscenely huge. Remove this and you remove the ability to bribe or threaten any government official or even whole governments. The argument that legalized regulation won't severely cripple organized crime is truly bizarre. Of course, the bad guys won't just disappear, but if you severely diminish their income, you also severely diminish their power. The proceeds from theft, extortion, pirated goods etc. are a drop in the ocean compared to what can be earned by selling prohibited/unregulated drugs in a black market estimated to be worth 400,000 million dollars. Without the lure and power of so much easy capital, it's also very unlikely that new criminal enterprises will ever fill the void left by those you successfully disrupt or entirely eradicate.

Millions of fearless North Africans have recently shown us that recognizing oppression also carries the weight of responsibility to act upon and oppose that oppression. Prohibition is a vicious anti-constitutional assault on ALL American citizens by a criminally insane and dysfunctional government, which left unchallenged will end with the destruction of the entire nation.

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country… Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”– Abraham Lincoln, November 12, 1864

"Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government…"- The Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

malcolmkyle
malcolmkyle

PRISONS FOR PROFIT FOR PROHIBITION:

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over 2.3 million Americans were behind bars in 2009, additionally nearly 7 million people -- that is, 3.1% of the US population, or 1 in 32 Americans -- were under supervision of the correctional system. By contrast, China, which has a population four times that of the United States, has the second-highest number of inmates worldwide, at 1.5 million.

Here's a transcript of a 2008 PBS special:

http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/4...

Though the average citizen does not know it, they very likely invest in the Prison-Industrial-Complex through the purchase of stock in the more than 2000 mutual funds in operation, as these derive at least some of their profits from inmate labor or prison construction. Companies such as Disney, General Electric, American Express, TWA, and Microsoft all make a portion of their profits from this industry

http://www.hawaii.edu/hivandai...

The following link will show you the very close relationship between Prohibition and the Prison-Industrial-Complex:

http://www.hermes-press.com/pr...

Sadomoralist prison-for-profit prohibitionists don't care! They don't care that, historically, the prohibition of any mind altering substance has never succeeded. They don't care that America has the highest percentage of it's citizens incarcerated of any country in the history of the planet. They don't care about spawning far worse conditions than those they claim to be alleviating. These despotic imbeciles are actually quite happy to create as much mayhem as possible. After all, it's what fills their prisons and gets them elected.

Here's what the UK Economist Magazine thinks of us: "Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little" http://www.economist.com/node/...

Commjexpert
Commjexpert

See what negative advertising does Wanda? You HB1284 crooks can all kiss up to Polis all you want, igboring the REAL community leaders to your own peril.

Patient
Patient

Somebody tell Jared that he's in a room filled with most of the people guilty of writing hb1284, killing patients and caregivers mmj rights and most of the people who want to regulate marijuana for everyone in 2012 under the same Orwellian rules.

Would love to know what got accomplished on behalf of the patients at this meeting.

Or maybe they were discussing what to do now that the doctors are losing their licenses. Quite a dilemma since the red card is required to shop in an MMC and needs to be renewed every year. Patients will have a hard time getting signatures as the doctors livelihoods are threatened over signing recs.

Don't fret patients, cannabis is a misdemeanor fine w/o a license. If you can get a doctors signature, do so but don't mail it in, as you and the doctor will now be in harms way if you do.

huh.
huh.

what a shit show.

Ed
Ed

Good to see at Jared Polis, Doug Linkhart, & James Mejia at the event. Jared & Doug are currently the only two candidates in the State of Colorado that have had the courage to speak the truth regarding the cannabis industry. Not sure yet on James. The bizarre thing is that this is a political no-brainer. Let's see... Um, where to begin? We're currently in the worst economic recession since the great depression, ... The cannabis industry has been creating countless jobs, has been paying millions of dollars in sales tax revenue, and, unlike alcohol, tobacco, & pharmaceuticals, is not hurting anyone! Naw, makes too much sense... Let's keep poisoning ourselves with alcohol, tobacco, & prescription meds. And who needs the jobs & sales tax revenue... Let's just keep cutting those social services. Gotta tighten up that economic austerity belt! Who needs the millions of dollars in revenue... Let's just push the industry back underground so the drug trade can profit instead. At least we'll then be able to appease our righteous uninformed conservative base. And, please, people... Once & for all, let's drop the hypocritical concern for the safety of our kids. Before we go after the one substance that won't hurt them, maybe we should start with the numerous substances that have been proven to cause serious harm and even death, i.e. mom & dad's prescription meds, alcohol, & tobacco.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

This is the true cast of Pot clowns clinging to their shrinking market and ever growing restrictions.

FED UP
FED UP

The new face of the people that have sold out the patients (excluding Jared Polis, who is unfortunate enuf to have to hang out with these people). Wanda James, Matt Brown, Brian Vincente, Betty Aldworth all supported HB1284, designed to put their competition out of business at the expense of patient privacy. Aaron Smith says they're working on tax benefits for big dispensaries, but what are they doing to fight the repressive legislation being handed down in Colorado? Nothing! They are actually in favor of it. Too bad that "movement" has sold out to this big business model run by the police, with no concern for the patients. NONE of these people came to testify at the last hearing, that would have banned edibles in the state.

shutupoprah
shutupoprah

@event photographer denveryou are an f'n idiot

MMJ DOC
MMJ DOC

How many patients were invited to the AMA (American Medical Association) meeting? I don’t recall any patients being there.

You patient activist people are really annoying, not everything requires your sign off. The NCIA is a business trade association. I am not sure why it upsets you that the people who are in the business of providing MMJ need an outlet since they are the ones putting their butts on the line.

Attacking Jared Polis is not a smart move. You have one elected official that believes in what you are trying to do and you shoot him down. The people with real business and political acumen are leading the charge and the activist are getting left in the dust.

From what I have seen, most of you are not well informed and start unwise issues like the one at the Capitol where your activist pissed off a Rep so bad that he decided not to not carry your bill. The world is watching and you activist people are not making a good impression.

Sailorjerry423
Sailorjerry423

"tell Jared that he's in a room filled with most of the people guilty of writing hb1284"

Really? So citizens write bills that then go through 2 legislative processes, multiple times, and get all the glory?

I thought Massey and Romer were the bills authors... I am so confused - or someone is lying...

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

... but we did get to hear Greg Goldfogel of the MMIG endorse more laws and regulations to prevent the transfer of medicinal cannabis to minors or non-patients, as if we didn't already have a superabundance! Most of the community has not the slightest clue about how to argue; they spent most of their time reacting to the CDIA's contemptibly ridiculous lies about Captain Chronic -- "of course WE don't want kids to have marijuana!". These hearings are most unfunny farce, with participants talking about completely different subjects, drug-swine like the CDIA, DA Association, and Adams County Sheriff permitted to lie and mislead at great length without challenge, and advocates for reform ignored. Most of the people attempting to speak on behalf of patients continue in their obsequious cajolery -- as if the Judiciary Committee cared! I think it is best to consider these proceedings as a sort of stupidity contest. Please, reformers, do not vie for the prize!

Patient
Patient

"You patient activist people are really annoying" MMJ DOC

Nice...does that even make sense, especially for an industry group??

patient (your consumers), activist (action towards rights and freedom), annoying.....in the same sentence?

you belong in this self proclaimed 'mmj industry group'. clearly a requirement for involvement with 'mmj industry people' is to stomp on all of your customer base. I don't understand the mentality but people who have brain activity can read your posts loud and clear.

Patient
Patient

Can you read? Jared Polis was the only person excluded from the 'attack', as you call it. No one "shot" at Jared. Sounds more like people are trying to warn Jared of the thugs who invited him.

Your the one uninformed. The Rep apologized to the activist, after the video tape of the incident was posted online....because the Rep was clearly full of BS. And he made himself look bad by showing that because one person in a hallway of the capitol wouldn't turn off a camera, this Rep was willing to say F-it to all the patients he was pretending to 'help'.

The people in the business of providing mmj will not be in the business when the doctors are afraid to sign the recs in fear of losing their medical licenses. Your a doctor, right? Why didn't you print your name?

Patients will be giving up all of their constitutional protections if they walk into an MMC. And the patients aren't going to stand for being video taped to the DoR with all law enforcement having access to the data the MMC's and the DoR collect, so the mmj businesses won't have many customers. All it takes is a little education......most of these businesses are not telling their patients the truth, some for greed and some because following and understanding the Orwellian regs is a full time job in itself so some are just clueless.

The goal/marketing in hb1284 was to close down 80% of businesses. Hows that "industry group" working for you , Doc? Do you not get it that they are they same people who created the mess everyone is in today?

Patient
Patient

The two groups who worked with Massy and Romer directly and with lobbyists, were CMMR (COMMR) and Sensible Colorado. They testified in support of HB1284. The people who were controlling these groups were, Wanda James, Brian Vicente, Josh Stanley, Matt Brown, Betty Aldworth......

How many times will these names need to be posted in these forums?

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