Pot Industry Takes ‘Suit and Tie’ Approach to DNC

Article by Mark K. Matthews, The Denver Post

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This isn’t your teenage son’s marijuana industry anymore; it’s your button-down dad’s business — at least at the Democratic National Convention.

Even as pro-marijuana activists marched this week in Philadelphia with a fake 51-foot joint, teams of industry leaders and lobbyists were busy doing the kind of work one would expect from the beer or pharmaceutical industry: holding receptions, talking to politicians and discussing regulations.

In other words, the boring stuff.

“We’re dealing with an industry that’s a lot more suit and tie,” said Michael Bronstein, co-founder of the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp. “That’s what it felt like — it was a Chamber (of Commerce) event, not a protest.”

The change in attitude is a reflection of how much has changed since the 2012 election.

Led by Colorado, four states now regulate pot like alcohol and about 20 other states have legalized medical marijuana, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. This year at least a half-dozen states will vote on recreational or medical use as well.

“In many ways the DNC was a coming-out party for us,” Bronstein said. “If you came here as someone interested solely in the cannabis industry, there was something for you every day.”

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