NCIA Public Policy Director Andrew Kline Departs for Law Firm Perkins Coie


Andrew Kline, who served for two years as the director of public policy at the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), has departed the Denver-based trade group for a role with multinational law firm Perkins Coie.

In a news release, Perkins Coie said Kline had joined the firm as senior counsel in its cannabis and business litigation practice groups.

“Andrew has a deep understanding of the cannabis marketplace -- legally, politically, scientifically, and business-wise -- which we know will greatly benefit our industry practice for clients across the country,” said Barak Cohen, the chair of Perkins Coie’s cannabis industry group.

Speaking to THCnet on Friday, Kline said he wanted to continue building upon his career in cannabis and help the industry advance.

“I spent three years in cannabis, 14 years as a federal prosecutor, and three years working for then-Senator and later Vice President Biden,” he said. “With Biden winning office, with the cannabis industry needing help at the DOJ, it just became apparent that I could leverage all of my experiences to help the industry thrive."

During his nearly two-year stint at the NCIA, Kline led the group’s Policy Council, which acts as a “think tank” and recommends “robust public policy.”

“It is a group of about 40 doctors, scientists, lawyers, entrepreneurs, cannabis executives, and together we developed public policy for the industry,” Kline told THCnet.

Through that coalition, Kline helped draft and file comprehensive public comments in response to proposed rule-making from the FDA, DEA or USDA.

In addition to informing and influencing regulators -- as well as members of Congress -- about cannabis policy, Kline spent the last two years working to improve the public perception of marijuana while advancing conversation about federal legalization.

“One of the first things I did was draft a regulatory framework for descheduling cannabis,” he said of his time at the NCIA.

Kline also oversaw the creation of several white papers, including resources on environmental sustainability, safe vaping, as well as forthcoming material on gender equality and the importance of robust cannabis research in the U.S.

“It is important that the United States leads in cannabis research and we should be at the forefront,” he said.

Kline was also instrumental in shaping the NCIA’s stance on issues like equal access to banking, and reforming outdated tax policies that put marijuana businesses at a disadvantage.

In a statement, NCIA spokesman Morgan Fox, said the organization was “incredibly grateful” for Kline’s contributions and his “tireless efforts to end prohibition."

“During his time at NCIA, Andrew displayed extraordinary leadership and was instrumental in coordinating with NCIA members and subject matter experts to develop educational and policy resources,” Fox wrote via email.

Rachel Kurtz-McAlaine, the NCIA’s deputy director of public policy, will take over for Kline at end of the month, Fox confirmed.

Prior to joining the NCIA, Kline served as the president of the National Association of Cannabis Businesses and held several high-profile government positions.

“Andrew’s depth of experience serving the cannabis industry will be a great resource and asset for clients looking to further grow and develop their businesses or who are facing legal and regulatory challenges,” said Sonny Allison, managing partner of Perkins Coie’s Denver office.

For its part, Perkins Coie has worked with several notable cannabis companies including Medicine Man Technologies, Cookies and Caliva.

The firm also advised multinational beverage company Molson Coors on the formation of its joint venture with Canadian cannabis producer Hexo Corp., as well as the development of its CBD-infused drinks which were just released in Colorado.

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