Last week, we participated in MPP’s Lobby Days and attended Arcview’s Investor Forum in Washington, D.C. Here’s our recap of the events:
It is a rare opportunity to be able to engage in cogent dialogue with the people that represent us as businesses and individuals. Last week, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) offered me the opportunity to participate in lobbying efforts on behalf of the cannabis industry. As a business that defines itself by paving the technological path for infrastructure technology in the cannabis sector, Surna could not turn down the opportunity. Both MPP and NCIA, and their incredible staffs, organized what proved to be an impressive tour of the who’s who on Capitol Hill.
My day began with visits to my Colorado representatives. I engaged in candid and cordial dialogue with Representative Jared Polis’s office, Senator Cory Gardner’s office and Senator Michael Bennet’s office. The three of them cover the full spectrum of opinions on cannabis policy, and because of that, I left their offices appreciating advocacy work that much more.
Although Polis is familiar with Surna, having toured ans spoken at our facilities last December when we hosted a luncheon for Sue Sisley and veterans with PTSD, neither Bennet nor Gardner had heard of us. They were surprised that an advanced infrastructure and technology company could emanate from this sector and grow from 4 to 40 employees in less than a year. When I shared that our VP of Engineering did the thermal dynamics on the Mars Rover and led a team of nine additional engineers their interest piqued. The idea that the cannabis industry could be a research catalyst for other industries was actually new information to them.
We discussed issues around banking (or the lack thereof) and how I believe we are eliminating the black market by replacing it with responsible business owners. We discussed the impact the cannabis industry has on the water and electricity infrastructure of this country; how Surna was seeking to solve those problems with its technology solutions. There was also lively discussion of the concept of state regulation guiding the process.
My tour continued with a visit to current Republican Presidential candidate, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a quick hello to former Republican Presidential candidate, Arizona Senator John McCain, visits to Arizona Representative David Shweikert and Michigan Representative Dan Benishek.
The topics were similar and the dialogue remained engaging. Ultimately, my sense is that Republican and Democratic leadership are simply looking for mutually beneficial access points for their constituents in what they view as inevitable marijuana legislation nationally. My hope is that lobbying efforts like these will lead to a shift in federal policy soon. Although seismic change is unlikely, my expectation is that small obstructions will soon be removed through federal legislation.
-Tae Darnell, Surna President and General Counsel
Arcview events are always a great time and this one, held near the nations’ capitol, was no exception. After a few days spent lobbying politicians and working with advocacy groups to further the cannabis industry, the Arcview event way a great way to enhance the bigger picture of what cannabis can become.
As always, many new and interesting companies presented. While the overall theme of the companies presenting changes each time, the stand-outs this time addressed cannabis-based food additives, insurance and app-driven products.
A number of top quality companies and associated enterprises also presented, including O.penVAPE, Poseidon Asset Management, Mass Roots, Harborside Health Center and Quigley’s. And there was a strong showing by up and comers, Jane’s Brew, CanopyBoulder and NeWay Capital. Overall, after listening to the wide-array of companies that presented, attendees were able to walk away with a sense of the direction the cannabis industry is heading.
To cap it off, the event included a surprise appearance from Grover Norquist, the well-known anti-tax advocate. He talked about the interference of government with the growth of the sector.
ArcView has played a critical role in establishing momentum in the cannabis sector, creating connections that has led to more than $40 million of funding for more than 50 companies. Without venture capitalists, Arcview is a well-needed source of funding for many cannabis start-ups.
Arcview also has a strong relationship with many advocacy groups including MPP, NCIA, Drug Policy Alliance and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. The events always include a special focus on non-profit organizations and this time, the focus was on MPP. A paddle-raiser was held for MPP and Surna pledged $10,000, to assist in the continued drive towards legalization in states that do not yet have the benefit of medical or recreational marijuana. The future of the cannabis industry lies in the hands of those working hard to shape the laws and shift public perception and Surna is proud to be a part of that.
-David Traylor, Surna CBO