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Fireside Chats with NCIA's Government Relations Team: Highlighting Advocacy
NCIA’s #IndustryEssentials educational webinar series are our new digital platform featuring a variety of programs to provide you timely, engaging and essential education when & where you need it most!

The Fireside Chat series of NCIA’s #Industry Essentials webinars are an exclusive opportunity for NCIA members to hear from our government relations team and guests about the latest developments in federal policy.

In our first fireside Government Relations webinar, Mike and Michelle chatted with other industry association lobbyists. On May 27, please join us for our latest installment with Chris Lindsey of the Marijuana Policy Project, Maritza Perez with the Drug Policy Alliance, and Justin Strekal of NORML for a discussion on the importance of advocacy.

For decades, cannabis activism, advocacy, and lobbying have been intertwined. Sometimes, it’s portrayed that “advocacy” groups and “industry” associations are at odds, however, you’ll be surprised to learn that while we may have differing opinions or strategies occasionally, we all still work incredibly closely together and consider one another friends. We hope you can join us for a discussion about how cannabis advocacy has changed over the years, an inside look at what’s next in state and federal policy, and learn more about why cannabis legalization can’t (and won’t) pass without addressing the harms of the war on drugs.


Michael Correia
Director of Government Relations
National Cannabis Industry Association

Michelle Rutter
Deputy Director of Government Relations
National Cannabis Industry Association

Chris Lindsey
Director of Government Relations
Marijuana Policy Project

Maritza Perez
Director of National Affairs
Drug Policy Alliance

Justin Strekal
Political Director

May 27, 2020 01:00 PM in Mountain Time (US and Canada)

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Chris Lindsey
Director of Government Relations @Marijuana Policy Project
Chris is a former criminal defense attorney from Montana where he currently lives. He became a medical marijuana patient in 2006, and went on to establish Montana's largest medical cannabis provider at the time, Montana Cannabis. Federal law enforcement later raided the business in 2012, profiled in the documentary film Code of the West. Now a federal felon, Chris has spent the past 7 years at MPP working as an advocate seeking to end the war on cannabis. Chris has been active in Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Alaska, and many of the western legalization states on behalf of MPP. In 2019, Chris helped draft and pass legalization in Illinois, making it the 11th legalization state in the U.S. and the first regulatory program to pass through a state legislature.
Maritza Perez
Director of National Affairs @Drug Policy Alliance
Maritza Perez is the Director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington, DC where she leads the organization’s federal legislative agenda and strategy to end the war on drugs. Previously, Maritza was a Senior Policy Analyst for Criminal Justice Reform at the Center for American Progress (CAP) where her portfolio included marijuana policy, policing, and prison and sentencing reform. Prior to joining CAP, Maritza was a Legislative Staff Attorney at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) where she began her legal career as a Soros Justice Fellow advocating for policies to end mass incarceration. Maritza graduated from Berkeley Law School and is an alumna of the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education Program.
Justin Strekal
Political Director @NORML
Justin Strekal is the Political Director for NORML, where he serves as an advocate to end the federal prohibition of marijuana and to reform our nation’s laws to no longer treat marijuana consumers as second-class citizens. Before working on drug policy, he focused on tax, wage, and campaign finance reform as well as managed electoral campaigns throughout the country for positions in every level of government.