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The legal weed industry is trying to grow something else these days: political influence.
The National Cannabis Industry Association has spent $60,000 lobbying Congress and federal regulators during the first nine months of this year — double its lobbying expenses for all of 2013. Its political action committee also shelled out campaign money to help politicians in tough midterm races, including Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, where voters in 2012 approved the recreational use of marijuana.
And in another sign of pot’s growing legitimacy, the group held its first business summit and trade show earlier this year in Denver. And every April, its members — ranging from growers to dispensary owners — descend on Washington to lobby lawmakers and their aides.
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