Business & Lobbying

Ex-GOP lawmaker joins marijuana trade group

Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) will be a strategic advisor for the Cannabis Trade Federation (CTF), a nonprofit for cannabis education and advocacy in public policy.

"During my time in Congress, I worked closely with the Cannabis Trade Federation," Curbelo said in a press release on Thursday. "Today, I am joining CTF's team because I know that they are the most effective cannabis industry lobby and that they have the resources, talent, and professional acumen needed to pass game-changing reform at the federal level."

Curbelo lost his reelection bid to freshman Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (Fla.) after serving two terms in Congress. 

CTF has been growing its Washington footprint since it launched in the summer of 2018.

It hired 15 lobbyists to push the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, a bill to protect state laws regulating marijuana use from the federal government. Curbelo signed onto the bill while in Congress. 

In office, Curbelo also championed an unsuccessful resolution to exempt state-licensed marijuana companies from the 280E section of the federal tax code, which barred such companies from taking tax deductions because they trafficked a Schedule I or II controlled substance.

"Congressman Curbelo was a commanding advocate for cannabis reform while he was in Congress," CTF CEO Neal Levine said in the release. "As a member of our Executive Team, he will continue to be the voice of states' cannabis rights and will be an essential part of our organization's strategic growth."

Curbelo isn't the first one-time GOP lawmaker to offer his help to the marijuana industry.

Perhaps the most famous D.C. marijuana advocate is former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who sits on the board of the cannabis corporation, Acreage Holdings, and was recently named honorary chairman of the National Cannabis Roundtable.

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