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Marijuana Retailers Give Customers The Chance To Round Up Purchases To Fund Legalization Efforts

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Marijuana retailers in states across the U.S. will be giving customers the option to donate to federal cannabis lobbying by rounding up their purchases to the nearest dollar under a newly announced campaign from a national advocacy group.

The U.S. Cannabis Council (USCC) said on Monday that one of the organization’s members, the multi-state operator Curaleaf, spearheaded the first official month of the “Legalize” campaign in February. Customers have been able to round up their purchases to contribute to federal reform lobbying and electioneering efforts at nearly 140 of Curaleaf’s stores across a dozen states.

Two additional USCC members, MariMed and Standard Wellness, are also teed up to have their dispensaries start participating in the campaign this spring. A spokesperson for USCC told Marijuana Moment on Monday that they’re in talks with other retailers about potentially joining the campaign down the line as well.

Proceeds will go to USCC, which as a 501(c)4 organization is able to spend up to half of its revenue on electioneering to support pro-reform political candidates. It can also put donated funds toward its Super PAC Legalize America.

โ€œWe are excited to expand the Legalize campaign nationally,โ€ David Culver, senior vice president of public affairs at USCC, said in a press release. โ€œCustomers at regulated stores feel strongly that cannabis should be federally legal. Now they have the opportunity to directly support legalization at the checkout counter.โ€

The organization said that it “beta-tested” the campaign at three Curaleaf locations in New Jersey last September and October, and the results of that experiment informed their decision to roll it out nationally. The round-up option will be made available in 139 Curaleaf shops across 12 states: Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Dakota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

โ€œThe USCC campaign gives Curaleaf customers the opportunity to directly impact the movement to legalize cannabis across the nationโ€”a long overdue change that the majority of Americans support,โ€ Curaleaf CEO Matt Darin said. โ€œWe are proud to have launched the inaugural effort across our retail stores and engage our team members, patients and customers in making cannabis a prominent issue in 2024.โ€

Curaleaf got the campaign started in February and will temporarily suspend the donation drive at the end of the month as other members take over, but USCC said the plan is for Curaleaf to rejoin the effort later this year.

USCC did not provide data on how much funding for legalization efforts the campaign has generated so far.

The organization previewed the marijuana sales round-up plan when it launched its Super PAC last year.

While USCC didn’t detail what specific political objectives the donations will support, it reported lobbying on at several cannabis bills in 2023, including legislation to legalize marijuana, free up banking access for the industry and incentive state-level cannabis expungements.

For 2024, there’s an expectation that lawmakers will continue work to advance the banking bill, titled the Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has described it as a legislative priority after the measure cleared the Banking Committee last September.

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