GCP Holds Seventh Annual DC Fly-In


Last week, GCP held the Empowering Local Leadership Conference—it’s seventh annual DC Fly-In event. The conference was hosted in partnership with Northeast Ohio’s U.S. House of Representatives delegation—Congressman Dave Joyce, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, and Congressman Anthony Gonzalez. Thanks to the leadership of the House delegation and their staff, attendees from across the region connected to federally elected officials and policymakers.

Throughout the conference, attendees heard from a range of White House officials, including James Carroll, Director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control, who spoke about Ohio’s ongoing challenges with the opioid epidemic. Andrew Wheeler, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, addressed the group regarding EPA support for local municipalities. Finally, attendees heard from a host of White House officials about community revitalization efforts like Opportunity Zones, which GCP has played a key role in locally.

During the opening night reception on the Hill, Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman spoke and connected with local leaders. Day two of the conference convened on the Hill again with an Ohio Delegation Breakfast. Participants heard from a range of Ohio delegation House members, but also from national leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chair of the House Financial Services Committee. Officials from the EPA, Department of Homeland Security, and White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council rounded out this year’s conference, providing valuable information about available federal resources.

GCP thanks its sponsors for their support of this event, including leadership-level sponsors Westfield Group, Dominion Energy, MetroHealth, and BakerHostetler. Additional sponsors included CT Consultants, NOPEC, University Hospitals, and Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.


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  • Next up: GCP-Supported Hemp Cultivation Bill Headed to Governor

    GCP-Supported Hemp Cultivation Bill Headed to Governor


    Ohio Senate Bill 57 (SB 57) was introduced in late February and the bill would formally decriminalize hemp in Ohio by excluding it from the definition of marijuana that is used to enforce controlled substance laws.  The latest federal farm bill, enacted by Congress, removed hemp from listing under the Controlled Substances Act, allowing states to regulate hemp through their departments of agriculture.

    A vast majority of states have now enacted legislation to establish industrial hemp cultivation and production programs.  Ohio does not currently have any specific laws in place regarding hemp or hemp products, and hemp and hemp products are prohibited in Ohio because hemp comes from the same plant as marijuana – cannabis.  Therefore, hemp is currently considered a Schedule I controlled substance under Ohio law.

    SB 57 – a bill GCP supported – passed in July with a clause that specifies that it will go into effect immediately, instead of roughly 90 days after the Governor signs it.  The reason is because Ohio is behind other states and the Department of Agriculture needs to set up the program so farmers can plant and have a harvest next spring.  Also, the bill includes provisions allowing the release of CBD products that authorities have seized under some circumstances, and the legislature wants people to be able to get their products back quickly.

    In line with federal law, SB 57 would allow for the sales of hemp, clearly defining hemp and marijuana as different.  Our membership sees merit in aligning state and federal laws – as it relates to hemp – allowing for a responsible, reputable hemp market with the potential to expand jobs and increase prosperity in Ohio.

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  • Next up: GCP-Supported Hemp Cultivation Legislation Now Law

    GCP-Supported Hemp Cultivation Legislation Now Law

    Ohio Senate Bill 57 (SB 57) was introduced in late February and the bill will formally decriminalize hemp in Ohio by excluding it from the definition of marijuana that is used to enforce controlled substance laws.  The latest federal farm bill, enacted by Congress, removed hemp from listing under the Controlled Substances Act, allowing states to regulate hemp through their departments of agriculture. 

    A vast majority of states have now enacted legislation to establish industrial hemp cultivation and production programs.  Ohio did not have any specific laws in place regarding hemp or hemp products, and hemp and hemp products were prohibited in Ohio because hemp comes from the same plant as marijuana – cannabis.  Therefore, hemp was considered a Schedule I controlled substance under Ohio law.

    SB 57 – a bill GCP supported – passed in July and was recently signed by the Governor with a clause that specifies that it will go into effect immediately, instead of roughly 90 days after the Governor signed it.  The reason is because Ohio is behind other states and the Department of Agriculture needs to set up the program so farmers can plant and have a harvest next spring.  Also, the law includes provisions allowing the release of CBD products that authorities have seized under some circumstances, and the legislature wants people to be able to get their products back quickly.

    In line with federal law, SB 57 allows for the sales of hemp, clearly defining hemp and marijuana as different.  Our membership sees merit in aligning state and federal laws – as it relates to hemp – allowing for a responsible, reputable hemp market with the potential to expand jobs and increase prosperity in Ohio.


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  • Next up: GLMCC Supports Passage of USMCA

    GLMCC Supports Passage of USMCA

    Last week, the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition (GLMCC) announced its support for passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), after careful vetting with coalition members. GCP serves as a leading chamber of the GLMCC—a growing collective of chambers of commerce across the Great Lakes region that jointly advocate on core policy issues.

    The USMCA modernizes NAFTA to be more compatible with the economic environment of the present. It is especially crucial for the Great Lakes region that North American countries maintain strong trade relationships. Eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces make up the region and are responsible for 50 percent of the goods transported across the northern border, making it a $6 trillion economy.

    North American trade supports 12 million U.S. jobs, and the GLMCC recognizes the absolute necessity of preserving those positions. GLMCC has long held a "do no harm" position on any trade policy. In this case, upholding that policy prompts urging the Trump Administration and Congress to approve the USMCA.

    The legislatures of all three countries involved in the USMCA must approve the changes before it can be implemented. Mexico was the first do so in June 2019. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made efforts to have discussions with President Trump concerning the deal. The Trump Administration is set on passing the USMCA with Congress this year.

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  • Next up: GLMCC Leads Congressional Staff Briefing on Business Case for Immigration

    GLMCC Leads Congressional Staff Briefing on Business Case for Immigration

    Last week, leaders from the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition (GLMCC) held a congressional staff briefing in Washington DC in partnership with the New American Economy (NAE), a research and advocacy organization that promotes smart immigration policies that help grow the economy. The GLMCC supports long-term immigration reform that will enhance the region’s talent pipeline, grow the population, contribute to the local tax base, and create new businesses.

    During the briefing, which focused on the business case for immigration, the NAE highlighted its latest research about the impact of immigrants on the Great Lakes regional economy. Notably, Alesha Washington, Vice President of Advocacy at GCP and Director of the GLMCC, unveiled the Coalition’s white paper, Supporting Place-Based Immigration in the Great Lakes Region.

    For the small business community, place-based immigration policies are key to retaining and growing a talented workforce in emerging industries. The GLMCC continues to engage federal lawmakers on immigration reform that will infuse highly skilled newcomers into communities that need strengthened talent pipelines.

    To view the NAE’s latest research on immigrant impact in the Great Lakes region, click here. To learn more about the work of the GLMCC, click here.


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  • Next up: Governor DeWine Chief of Staff Meets with GCP Members

    Governor DeWine Chief of Staff Meets with GCP Members

    Last week, members of the GCP Government Affairs Council met with Laurel Dawson, Chief of Staff for Governor Mike DeWine. The meeting was a chance for leaders in the Northeast Ohio business community to express their policy priorities and talk about the economic vitality of our region. It also served as a valuable touchpoint for businesses and government to connect, discussing a wide range of issues like workforce development, transportation, and innovation.

    Laurel has led a highly respected professional career in public administration and management, with over 40 years of experience in the public and private sectors. She served as Cabinet Director to former Ohio Governor George Voinovich and as Chief of Staff to Congressman and later U.S. Senator Mike DeWine. Laurel is a graduate of Miami University and holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Development from American University.


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