James Cole, former deputy attorney general of the United States and author of the ‘Cole Memo,’ which fundamentally shifted the legal landscape for cannabis in America, will be the featured keynote speaker at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s 2018 Cannabis Business Summit® & Expo. 

In a not-to-be-missed fireside chat with NCIA executive director, Aaron Smith, Cole will take Summit attendees behind the scenes for one of the most consequential developments in the history of the U.S. cannabis industry and give critical insight about what the future may hold under the current Justice Department.

“The Justice Department holds a huge number of cards when it comes to the future of our industry, but its inner workings and internal debates on cannabis policy aren’t well understood,” said Smith. “That’s what makes this keynote with Jim Cole so exciting and valuable for anyone trying to predict what comes next for the industry.”

Cole is the latest in a long line of influential business leaders and policymakers to connect with the cannabis industry by speaking at one of NCIA’s industry-leading events. Previous speakers have included former President of Mexico Vicente Fox, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and former California Lt. Governor and current gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom.

The Cannabis Business Summit® & Expo, which celebrates its 5th anniversary this year, is the most influential and award-winning cannabis trade show in the U.S. It is the flagship annual event for NCIA, the cannabis industry’s only national trade association, and is expected to draw more than 7,500 cannabis industry professionals to San Jose, Calif., July 25-27.

The ‘Cole Memo,’ issued in August 2013, outlined the Justice Department’s priorities concerning marijuana enforcement in states with legal, regulated cannabis programs. The memo, which focused on public safety issues like preventing trafficking and sales to minors, was widely interpreted to signal a federal ‘hands-off’ approach toward cannabis businesses operating in full compliance with state laws. The Cole Memo was rescinded by Attorney General Jeff Sessionsin January of this year, but the direct impact of that move so far remains ambiguous.

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization broadly representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

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