The lobbying arm of McGuireWoods has been retained by a startup marijuana trade organization to press federal lawmakers on cannabis industry issues ranging from taxation to health care.
The Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce, based in Costa Mesa, California, contracted with McGuireWoods Consulting, according to registration documents filed last week. Lobbyists listed as working on the organization’s issues are Robert Wasinger, Randal Meyer, Frank Donatelli, Michael Drobac and Amanda Armistead.
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Asked for information about the Global Alliance, a McGuireWoods spokesman said “membership is being assembled” and no additional details were immediately available.
The Costa Mesa address listed for Global Alliance is also the address for CMX Distribution, according to a Costa Mesa Planning Commission report. CMX, a marijuana distribution facility, is owned by Robert Taft Jr., who also owns a dispensary in the nearby Orange County city of Santa Ana. Taft could not be reached for comment Monday.
This is not McGuireWoods’ first marijuana lobbying client. The firm has represented Surterra Holdings, a cannabis product manufacturer and distributor, since 2017. McGuireWoods’ clients also include Altria, which purchased a $1.8 billion stake in cannabis company Cronos Group last year.
Global Alliance is one of at least three marijuana trade organizations to hire lobbyists this year.
The National Cannabis Roundtable, whose members include Acreage Holdings and Greenspoon Marder, retained Squire Patton Boggs in February. The Cannabis Trade Federation, a 501(c)(4) advocacy group, announced in January that it will work with 15 principal lobbyists and more than a dozen associates from five law and lobbying firms to advocate for federal legislation allowing states to regulate marijuana.
Wasinger, a senior vice president at McGuireWoods Consulting, formerly served as director of Senate and gubernatorial outreaching for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. He joined the firm in February 2017.
Drobac, who joined McGuireWoods from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in 2017, leads the consulting firm’s emerging technologies team. Drobac’s other clients include Amazon.com, TripAdvisor.com and the Small UAV Coalition. Armistead also joined the consulting firm from Akin Gump.