Top Cannabis Lobbyists Working on Federal Regulatory Reform
Dan McFaul, Partner at Ballard Partners
McFaul vividly remembers helping his former boss, Rep. Jeff Miller, unpack his office about 20 years ago when he came to Congress. As they were taking things out of the boxes, they came across a photo that showed Miller – a conservative Republican from Florida – doing a marijuana bust while in law enforcement.
Still, Miller’s stance on the issue will soften when he becomes chairman of the Veterans Committee. Miller would hear veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who suffered from traumatic brain injuries and PTSD tell him that they had benefited from the use of medical marijuana.
“He went from that type of Reaganesque ‘just say no’ type of drug policy to that stance that has evolved into, ‘If a veteran gets relief from cannabis, who am I to say no he can’t?’ McFaul, who was Miller’s chief of staff and communications director, told Insider.
“It got me thinking about my own position,” McFaul added, “and that maybe I could move up if he did.”
Today, McFaul works for the lobbying firm Ballard Partners and has been there since 2017. He has several medical cannabis clients, including Trulieve, who acquired Harvest Health and Recreation Inc. in October. He is mainly pushing for financial reforms in the sector, including the passage of the SAFE Banking Act, and said he was surprised at the number of Republicans who had supported progressive reforms on the issue.
McFaul predicts that cannabis regulation will go in the same direction as same-sex marriage – that in 20 years, especially as more young people are elected to Congress, people will not be able to believe that there was a time where it was once illegal.
McFaul has extensive political experience in state, local and national elections. He served as a campaign manager for former Rep. Joe Scarborough, a Florida Republican who has since left the party, and also became its legislative director.
He was also part of President Donald Trump’s Presidential Transition Team, where he helped recruit and vet appointees to agencies including the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs.
The firm where he works today, Ballard Partners, is based in Florida but also has an office in Washington. It was founded by Brian Ballard, a longtime friend and fundraiser for Trump.