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HB 2107 Advances Through Texas House of Representatives We have been monitoring various State Congresses across the U.S. and what cannabis policy-related bills they have circulating through them this legislative session.  One of the biggest surprises for me personally is legislative action and support we are seeing in the state of Texas.  We are thrilled [...]

The post Medical Cannabis has Unprecedented Support in Texas appeared first on The Weed Blog.


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iSeekush May 10

Due to difficulty in obtaining financial services and because marijuana is a “cash only” business, marijuana-related businesses (MRBs) face staggering safety, security and operational issues.

Help is on the way for this $7.2 billion per year industry via the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act), 114 HR 2076, the stated aim of which is to create protections for depository institutions that provide financial services to MRBs, i.e., those touching marijuana at some point along the supply chain including cultivators, extractors and dispensers.

Marijuana banking law

The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, 21 U.S.C. Sections 801, (1970), (CSA) lists marijuana next to heroin as a Schedule I controlled substance having “a high potential for abuse” and for which there’s “no currently accepted medical use in treatment” and “a lack of accepted safety for use” “under medical supervision,” 21 U.S.C. Section 812(b)(1).

The CSA prohibits marijuana’s manufacture, distribution, dispensation and possession. Pursuant to the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, state laws conflicting with federal law are generally pre-empted and void, (U.S. Const., Art. VI, cl. 2); Wickard v. Filburn , 317 U.S. 111, 124 (1942), (“No form of state activity can constitutionally thwart the regulatory power granted by the commerce clause to Congress”).

This federal prohibition creates exposure for both MRBs and those providing them with financial services. Depending on amount of cannabis possessed, cultivated or sold, the CSA imposes penalties ranging from incarceration of 15 days to life and fines of $1,000 to $1,000,000. Any transfer or deposit of monies yielded from cannabis’ sale may deemed “money laundering” in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1956 for the “seller” and a Financial Recordkeeping and Reporting of Currency and Foreign Transactions Act of 1970 (Bank Secrecy Act) violation for the bank accepting the deposit and “failing to identify or report financial transaction involving proceeds of ‘the CSA’ violation,” 31 U.S.C. Section 531(g).

While still 100 percent illegal under federal law, state-legalized marijuana industry’s existence rests on three Department of Justice “policy clarifying” memoranda restraining U.S. attorneys’ CSA enforcement in legalized-marijuana states (hereinafter, collectively referred to as Cole Memorandum).

While reiterating marijuana’s CSA illegality, the Cole Memorandum instructs focusing federal resources on “most significant threats in the most effective, consistent, and rational way” listing “eight enforcement priorities” of preventing: distribution of marijuana to minors; marijuana sale revenue going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels; diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states; state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity; violence and use of firearms in marijuana’s cultivation and distribution; drugged driving and exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use; growing of marijuana on public lands and attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands; and marijuana possession or use on federal property.

In its February 14, 2014, dated guidance, the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) clarified that through adhering to institution-specific factors (particular business objectives, evaluation of risks associated with offering particular product or service, and capacity to effectively manage risks), banks may provide financial services to MRBs consistent with Bank Secrecy Act obligations by: obtaining and reviewing “marijuana-related business and parties” information from licensing and enforcement authorities including application, license and registration documentation; developing an understanding of business’ normal and expected activity including types of to-be-sold product and to-be-served customers (e.g., medical versus adult use); monitoring publicly available sources for adverse information about business and related parties; monitoring for suspicious activity, including the guidance’s specified red flags; and routinely updating customer due diligence information commensurate with risk (FinCEN guidance).

These FinCEN guidance “red flags” indicating state law or Cole Memorandum priority violations include MRBs: appearing to use license as a pretext to launder “criminal activity derived funds;” inability to demonstrate a licensed business operating consistently under state law or legitimate source of significant outside investments; concealing or disguising cannabis involvement; are, or have been, subject to a marijuana-related law or regulation enforcement action (including owners and operators); engaging in international or interstate activity including making/receiving out-of-state cash deposits or interstate transfers; or purporting to be a “nonprofit” while engaged in commercial activity inconsistent with classification.

The FinCEN guidance compounds compliance costs by requiring that a bank providing financial services to an MRB file suspicious activity reports (SARS) following aforementioned “red flags” or if it knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect that a conducted or attempted transaction: involves—or is an attempt to disguise—funds derived from illegal activity; is designed to evade Bank Secrecy Act regulations; or lacks a business or apparent lawful purpose.

Dangers/obstacles imposed by lack of financial services

First and foremost, MRBs and their employees, patients and vendors face physical criminal risk of robbery and assault. For example, while attempting to stop a June 18, 2016, robbery, Colorado dispensary security guard Travis Mason was shot to death.

Second, the “lack of financial services” access both imposes additional disbursement and “accounting and record keeping” requirements on MRBs, and causes a massive productivity loss. Third, because they lack financial services and receive all monies in cash, MRBs are forced to pay employees, landlord, taxes, utilities (electricity, water) and vendors in cash thereby “passing on” the criminal vulnerability, administrative burden and productivity loss.

Fourth, because insurance typically only covers up to $20,000 in “cash loss” and MRBs often have between $200,000 and $500,000 in cash on hand, theft can be a fatal blow to an enterprise. Fifth, even if it has a bank account, after writing a check to another MRB, an MRB’s account may be flagged and shut down creating huge business interruption issues. Further, following account closure, MRBs’ owners and employees often have their personal accounts closed and endure difficulty in obtaining home loans or credit cards.

SAFE Banking Act

Introduced on April 27, and co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colorado), Denny Heck (D-Washington), and Don Young (R-Alaska), the SAFE Banking Act provides a “safe harbor” for banks providing “financial services” to MRBs including:

  • Barring federal banking regulators from: terminating/limiting “deposit insurance” or “share insurance;” prohibiting, penalizing or discouraging from providing financial services to MRBs; recommending, incentivizing or encouraging a bank not to offer—or diminish—financial services to an account holder that is or becomes an MRB or the MRB’s owner, operator, or employee.
  • Immunizing both banks providing “financial services” to MRBs and their officers, directors and employees from prosecution under any federal law or regulation.
  • Amending the Bank Secrecy Act to require the secretary of banking to issue “modified SARS reporting regulations” that do not “inhibit” providing financial services to MRBs.

Presently before the House Financial Services Committee, The SAFE Banking Act mirrors predecessor “Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act,” which languished after being introduced both in 2013 and 2015.

However, because in the intervening four years legalized medical marijuana’s footprint has expanded to encompass 29 states and several U.S. territories, (eight of which—and Washington, D.C.—legalized recreational or “adult use” by those 21 years of age and over), momentum has increased.

Now, the SAFE Banking Act has a greater likelihood of being enacted.

The post Will SAFE banking act solve marijuana businesses’ banking issues? appeared first on Cannabis Business Executive - Cannabis and Marijuana industry news.


Source: http://www.cannabisbusinessexecutive.com/2017/05/will-safe-banking-act-solve-marijuana-businesses-banking-issues-2/

Provided Governor Phil Scott does not veto the measure when it hits his desk, Vermont will become the next state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The House approved measure S.22 by a count of 79-66, setting the stage for legal weed in Vermont for adults over the age of 21, effective July 2018. Should [...]

Source: https://www.marijuana.com/news/2017/05/vermont-legislature-votes-yes-on-recreational-marijuana/

Florida’s medical marijuana bill is in limbo. It failed to pass on the state’s last legislative session, May 5.

Since it failed to pass, new rules are slated to be issued by Friday, May 13 by the Florida Department of Health. Florida senate president, Senator Joe Negron, has also indicated that he would not be opposed to putting medical marijuana on the agenda for a special legislative session.

Florida’s medical marijuana bill provides an exemption from the state tax on sales, use, and other transactions for marijuana and marijuana delivery devices used for medical purposes, and requires the Department of Health to issue licenses to a certain number of medical marijuana treatment centers, among other things.

Failure hinged on the issue of the number of retail locations a licensed medical marijuana establishment could open. On the last day of the session, the House amended its proposal to impose a cap of 100 retail outlets for each of the state’s medical marijuana operators – the Senate proposed a cap of 10. The chambers couldn’t agree.

Now it falls to the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use to use its regulations to implement Amendment 2, which legalized medical marijuana last year and was enacted on Jan. 3. It must be implemented by October, with rules in place by July.

The bill has had a flurry of amendments since mid-April as legislators picked through it and tried to focus the rules – a total of 60 amendments, with 22 coming in just the last three days of the session, May 3 through May 5.

The Department of Health submitted their first draft of rules in February, which created public criticism about the restrictions for patient conditions.

“The next step is the issuance of a second draft, with a subsequent challenge period,” Jesse Kelley, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project, says. “And then after that they will issue their proposed final rules that will then be followed by a challenge period. After that, they will issue their final adopted version,” she says. “The second draft will happen very quickly, probably by Friday (May 13). If they listened to people who spoke at their public hearings, hopefully this new draft will be less restrictive. But there’s no way of knowing.”

Michael Bronstein, a political consultant who was on the policy committee for Florida for Care, an advocacy organization that wrote Amendment 2, said that they are still trying to assess the situation. “It’s been hard to get things through on the legislative side,” Bronstein says. “And the legislature really did wait until the last minute to address this issue. So there’s been a lot of back and forth between chambers and that is something that we are still actively trying to find out about.”

In a letter to CBE Press, Ben Pollara, executive director of Florida for Care, wrote that he is “truly sorry” to all patients that would have had some kind of reasonable access if the bill had passed. “However the choices we faced were “bad”, “worse”, and “the worst” (which is what happened,” he wrote. “Florida for Care will continue to fight.”

The post Florida’s medical marijuana program: What’s next? appeared first on Cannabis Business Executive - Cannabis and Marijuana industry news.


Source: http://www.cannabisbusinessexecutive.com/2017/05/florida-medical-marijuana-program-whats-next/

DENVER, May 10, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Colorado legislators today passed the School Finance Act (SB-296) to increase public school funding by $262 million for about 1,800 public schools and 905,000 students. Staring down the final day of the 2017 General Assembly, both the Senate and House approved the funding level to meet the higher costs of inflation and added student growth in the 2017-18 school year.

“Educators were pleased to see legislators rally around the needs of Colorado’s students and put our schools on stable financial footing for the year ahead,” said Kerrie Dallman, president of the Colorado Education Association. “We’re far from realizing the promise of school support that Colorado citizens want to see for their children, but relieved not to be taking a giant step backward with more state budget cuts.”

However, the ongoing cut to schools in the state’s education budget, known for years in Colorado political and education circles as the ‘Negative Factor’, will remain at $828 million. The cut even gets a name change to ‘budget stabilization factor’ in SB-296.

“Colorado is thriving economically but that economic growth is not translating to our classrooms. We must resource all schools so students have caring, qualified educators, more one-on-one attention, inviting classrooms, and a well-rounded curriculum regardless of their ZIP code,” Dallman added.

Prospects for the state budget and public education improved from when the legislative session began in January. The act contains an additional $242 per pupil to bring average revenue for a Colorado student to $7,662 for the coming school year. Dallman notes that’s a significant bump to the $185 average per pupil increase projected only weeks ago, a figure that would have tacked on $50 million to the budget stabilization factor.

“I personally credit the modest budget increase to our dedicated members, who visited, called and emailed their legislators and told stories that resonated,” Dallman observed. “Educator voice and action drives our advocacy for school funding, and Colorado’s teachers and education support professionals made a tremendous effort during this session to communicate to legislators on both sides of the aisle. I believe our senators and representatives have heard our voice, they realize how past education cuts have hurt our classrooms, and they responded with added school funding wherever they could find it.”

Though Colorado students and educators dodged a massive cut this year, many budget stressors remain that threaten the livelihood of school communities in future years and weigh heavily on a state experiencing a well-documented teacher shortage (Denver Post, April 13).

The constitutional amendment Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) only allows a public vote to increase taxes, taking this power away from the legislature. An older constitutional amendment, Gallagher, periodically reduces the taxation rate of residential property and cuts into public school funding, as happened this year. Revenue from legalized marijuana, even under a newly-approved higher tax rate, will continue to support many programs outside of public education and the remainder will not come anywhere close to shoring up the $828M funding gap.

“The numbers speak for themselves — without adequate funding, teachers cannot do their job, and the next generation of Coloradans suffer,” Dallman concluded. “If we’re serious about every child’s future, let’s get serious about investing so that as a state, we are equipping our teachers with the tools needed for success. Our Association won’t be satisfied until the budget stabilization factor is completely wiped out of the state education budget.”

SB-296 heads to Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), who is expected to sign the School Finance Act into law.

Attachments:

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/b64a4208-58ed-4144-844c-8d1a70a4598c

CONTACT: Mike Wetzel
Colorado Education Association
7204545729
[email protected]

Source: https://weedmeme.com/news/colorado-legislature-comes-through-for-students-with-last-minute-deal-to-increase-school-funding

WeedRSS May 10 · Tags: weedmeme, weedrss

Jamaica Star Online
Children may be able to sell ganja lawfully
Jamaica Star Online
Warning that it could become lawful to sell ganja to a child, while unlawful to provide the same child with alcohol or cigarettes, the Child Development Agency (CDA) says parliament must act quickly to close loopholes in existing laws. “As the State


Source: https://weedmeme.com/news/children-may-be-able-to-sell-ganja-lawfully-jamaica-star-online

WeedRSS May 10 · Tags: weedmeme, weedrss
Strain Overview The Scoop: Often confused with the strain made famous by the Seth Rogen inspired movie (Pineapple Express), Pineapple is a masterfully balanced hybrid with lineage tracing back to Ed Rosenthal. An old school sleeper strain, Pineapple was originally cultivated by utilizing a select phenotype of Ed’s Super Bud. Mildly relaxing and seriously motivating, [...]

Source: https://www.marijuana.com/news/2017/05/pineapple-marijuana-strain-review/

Chicago hip hop artist / comedian, Mikey to the P has released a new video that we think your fans would love! It would look great on your blog for a comedy spin. It looks like you don’t have anything posted yet for today 4.20. See the details below!

The post Video: Introducing Weed (Infomercial Parody) appeared first on Hail Mary Jane.


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Asheville Citizen-Times
Wicked Weed cancels July Funkatorium Invitational
Asheville Citizen-Times
ASHEVILLE – Wicked Weed Brewing has announced it will cancel its Funkatorium Invitational, previously known as Funk Asheville, which was this year to be held in July. The celebration of sour and wild ales featured food from local chefs and beer from a …
Wicked Weed Funkatorium Invitational date moved, will be “reimagined”Beer Street Journal
The Beer Nut: Springdale to host ‘We’re Funk’d Sour Stroll’Wicked Local Lancaster

all 5 news articles »


Source: https://weedmeme.com/news/wicked-weed-cancels-july-funkatorium-invitational-asheville-citizen-times

WeedRSS May 10 · Tags: weedmeme, weedrss
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