Former House of Representatives member Rob Curbelo, a Republican from Florida, has signed on as a senior advisor with the Cannabis Trade Federation, it was announced on Thursday. Curbelo said in a press release that his experience as a legislator with the non-profit cannabis industry advocacy group led to him joining its executive team.
“During my time in Congress, I worked closely with the Cannabis Trade Federation,” Curbelo said. “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 served two terms in the House representing Florida’s 26th congressional district, until losing his bid for re-election in last year’s midterm contests to Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. During his tenure as a representative, Curbelo supported cannabis policy reform, including an unsuccessful attempt to exempt cannabis companies with state licenses from tax code section 280E, which denies firms deductions common in most industries. He was also a co-sponsor of the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, which would protect states with cannabis regulation from interference by the federal government.
“In my home state of Florida, 71 percent voted in favor of legalizing medical cannabis, and voters in 33 states and D.C. have also decided to legalize cannabis in some capacity. This is a states’ rights issue. That’s why I was an original co-sponsor of the STATES Act and why I continue to support the goals of this legislation today.”
Neal Levine, the CEO of the Cannabis Trade Federation, believes Curbelo was a commanding advocate for cannabis reform during his time in Congress. “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,” Levine added.
Former Republican House Speaker Also Now Cannabis Advocate
Curbelo isn’t the first former House Republican to find a role in the country’s nascent cannabis industry. Ohio Republican and former Speaker of the House John Boehner is a member of the board of directors of cannabis firm Acreage Holdings. The company, which began as High Street Capital Partners in 2014, went public in the Canadian over the counter markets last year. Acreage Holdings has a market capitalization of approximately $2.4 billion, making it one of the largest cannabis companies in the United States.
Boehner has also signed on to an industry trade group. Earlier this month, he was named as the honorary chairman of the National Cannabis Roundtable, a group lobbying for marijuana policy reform. He will not serve as a registered lobbyist but will act as an adviser to the group.
“As the cannabis industry grows and matures, it’s vital that we work together for a common-sense legal framework for cannabis policy,” Boehner said in a press release.