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Marijuana Lobby Ramps Up Efforts On Capitol Hill

Marijuana is leaving a bigger imprint on the Hill.
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Marijuana is leaving a bigger imprint on the Hill.

The marijuana lobby doesn't have as much cash as other groups, but they're making their presence known on Capitol Hill.

Polls show a rapid evolution in American's thinking on pot policy, which Aaron Smith of the National Cannabis Industry Association has witnessed first hand. "We did a lobby day 2010 when we founded the organization, and I think we had eight people out here and eight people from the industry," he says, "and that was double, twice as many as we had staffers in the room."

Now Smith says they have 60 lobbyists walking the marble halls of the Capitol trying to persuade federal lawmakers to follow the lead of what's happening in states across the U.S. He says lawmakers who oppose looser marijuana laws should be afraid of polls that show nearly 60 percent of Americans in support of regulating weed like alcohol.

"Ultimately, the members of Congress that don't register the will of their voters will lose their jobs and not be reelected," Smith says. "So that's something that I think is in all their minds. They see the same polls that we see."

Smith's group and other marijuana activists are spending tens of thousands of dollars on lobbying, which means their message may get drowned out by other industries that have millions of dollars at their disposal.

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