Kimberly Leonard: Senior Health Care Policy Reporter at Insider
Kimberly Leonard, the Senior Health Care Policy Reporter at Insider, joins us today on Blunt Business only on Cannabis Radio. Our next guest is the senior healthcare reporter for Insider’s DC bureau, focused on policy and politics, and she joins us to talk about her recent reporting surrounding legalization and what our elected officials are doing to decriminalize cannabis, legalize cannabis, or both.
Kimberly (and Jeremy Berke, one of our previous guests and cohort at Insider) recently reported that Democratic leaders want to federally legalize cannabis, but six Democratic senators on Capitol Hill told Insider they had reservations about doing so. We talk about the hesitation and the pressure that is leading to these reservations that she learned about. In December, the MORE ACT was passed in the House and I haven’t felt it has been anything more than symbolic. The SAFE Banking Act is being reintroduced after passing the House in 2019. We dive into how the Senate Democrats leaning on the bills in front of them that they want and can get passed.
Last year, just $4 million was spent on marijuana lobbying, according to Open Secrets. That’s measly compared to the $27 million that was spent by tobacco lobbyists, and roughly $30 million from the beer, wine, and liquor industry. Several new lobbying groups have recently. First, we have a consortium with operators like Canopy Growth Corp. and Curaleaf Holdings Inc., a trade association for hemp and special interest groups supporting veterans and racial minorities. Law firms Husch Blackwell and Vicente Sederberg are also founding members, along with Pax Labs Inc., the company that separated from Juul Labs Inc. and now specializes in cannabis vaporizers.