MJ News for 01/29/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:22 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/01/29/medical-marijuana-firms-face-cash-economy-banks-steer-clear/88tfUTUbcaYvZfA7fpuENN/story.html

Banks shun fledgling marijuana firms in Mass.

Christopher Borde and his partners had $500,000 in cash, the backing of former governor and US attorney William Weld, and a landlord ready to rent them office space. But, they discovered, the trickiest part of launching their business was getting a bank account.

Borde’s company, MA Care Connect, is a medical marijuana dispensary, and like many others coming into the new market, it is finding that banks want little to do with a business that is still illegal under federal law.

Borde estimated that he tried five banks, including one with which he had a long relationship, but most wanted nothing to do with his money. Finally, he succeeded at a large national bank, but only after he decided not to mention marijuana unless asked. He was not.

“We’re not the Colombian cartel,” said Borde, who helped launch a children’s television station and worked as an investment banker. “It’s a proper business.”

The conflict between federal and state marijuana laws has become a bigger issue as more states legalize the drug for medical and, more recently, recreational, uses. Dispensaries in the other 19 states that have legalized medicinal cannabis have run into similar banking problems, requiring entrepreneurs to hide the nature of their business, establish separate holding companies, or just haul around bags of cash.

Last week, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said that legal marijuana businesses should have access to the banking system and that the Obama administration would provide rules aimed at easing banks’ concerns, mainly by making these activities low priorities for federal prosecutors.

Bank officials in Massachusetts, however, are far from assured, worried what might happen under different administrations. Their preferred solution: changing federal law.

Among the wary bankers is Michael Tucker, chief executive of Greenfield Co-operative Bank in Western Massachusetts. He said he turned away several companies that inquired about setting up accounts tied to the medical marijuana businesses. It is not only dispensaries that worry Tucker, but landlords who want to lease offices to dispensaries or warehouses to growers.

If those property owners have mortgages with his bank, their monthly payments could be viewed as illegal drug money, he said. “You have relationships with people who are honest and good people,” Tucker said. “[But] we’re going to say, ‘We’re sorry, we’re not going to do business with you.’ ”

Massachusetts is expected to distribute the first medical marijuana licenses by the end of this week. Eighty nonprofit firms have submitted plans for 35 licenses in the hopes of being first to set up shop in Massachusetts in what is expected to become a lucrative business.

Nationwide, legal marijuana was a $1.5 billion industry in 2013 and is expected to nearly double to $2.7 billion this year, according to the National Cannabis Industry Association, a lobbying group.

In most circumstances, banks would welcome a booming new industry. But Massachusetts banks fear that doing business with growers, dispensaries, and even landlords that lease space to these businesses, would trigger additional layers of paperwork, more government oversight, and potential charges of money laundering.

Under federal law, marijuana is considered a controlled substance and banks are required to report any incidents of suspicious or illegal activity to federal regulators. That could mean filing a four-page report every time a dispensary or grower deposits money into the bank — potentially daily, local bankers said.

“There’s not enough value to us relative to the risk to dealing with medical marijuana dispensaries,” said Richard E. Holbrook, the chairman and chief executive of Eastern Bank, the state’s largest community bank. “There are too many downsides.”

Elsewhere in the country, legal marijuana businesses have run into the same problems. Taylor West, the deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, estimates that at least half the group’s 415 business members operate outside the banking system.

That means they have a lot of cash lying around. They pay employees with stacks of bills and buy money orders to send to utilities to keep the lights on. They also must increase security and vary hours of operation so they do not become easy targets for burglars. “The fact that these companies are forced to operate in an insecure way is unsustainable,” West said.

Some marijuana businesses have found ways to get a bank account by, for example, setting up separate holding companies that avoid any reference in their names to marijuana. Even then, once banks get a whiff of where the money comes from, they close the accounts.

Andrew DeAngelo, who operates marijuana dispensaries in California, is part of Green Heart Holistic Health & Pharmaceuticals, which is seeking a license for a Boston operation. In California, he said, his company had to move its account to at least six banks since launching operations there in 2006. Bankers would start feeling pressure from regulators asking questions about the business relationship and origins of the money, and close the accounts.

“You don’t want an all-cash business,” he said. “It’s not safe.”

The state’s banks and credit unions have asked Senator Elizabeth Warren, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, to help in reconciling state and federal marijuana laws.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Health, which oversees the licensing of medical marijuana, has recognized the banking difficulties. Initially, it required applicants to have at least $500,000 in startup funds in corporate bank accounts. In November, the agency eased the rules to allow the money to be held in personal accounts.

Borde, the partner in MA Care Connect, said the local industry is hoping for a resolution to the banking problems by late spring, when the first dispensaries will probably open.

“What happens when we start collecting receipts, that’s when we have an issue,” Borde said. “I’m not sure.”

BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
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RE: MJ News for 01/29/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:24 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.policymic.com/articles/80421/two-huge-issues-notably-absent-from-obama-s-speech-marijuana-and-gay-rights

Two Huge Issues Notably Absent From Obama's Speech: Marijuana and Gay Rights

At the State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Obama did an awful lot of talking about the economy, the gender pay gap, foreign policy, and especially the gridlock in Congress preventing serious action on any of those fronts.

But the president was conspicuously silent on two major issues that have blown up over the past year: Marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington state, as well as gay rights.

The president steered notably clear of culture-war flashpoints, with no mention of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) designed to protect LGBTQ workers from being harassed or discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Though the act passed through the Senate, it's widely considered a non-starter in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

The president could have included LGBTQ rights in his swing about using "executive actions" to push through changes that can't clear a Congress controlled by the opposition. He could've declared a policy of non-discrimination in federal employment practices. But he didn't do that.

“The president’s message tonight failed to address the needs of LGBT workers looking for a fair shake in this economy," declared Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. "Not only was there no call for the House to pass a federal law to protect LGBT workers nationwide, President Obama also sidestepped his commitment to take action where Congress has left off, leaving out an order prohibiting discrimination by federal contractors."

Instead the gay community got barely a nod:

"... across the country, we're partnering with mayors, governors and state legislatures on issues from homelessness to marriage equality."

Meanwhile, despite the president's recent candid remarks on marijuana (namely, admitting that it's less dangerous than alcohol), recreational marijuana legalization in two states and a major U.S. city (Portland, Maine) was completely ignored. Not one mention.

Reason's Nick Gillespie recently denounced the president's "unfathomable, bottomless, contemptile cowardice on pot," pointing out that 87% of Americans think that marijuana is basically similar to alcohol and asking:

"What does it say about our elected representatives when even a president who grants that marijuana is no 'more dangerous than alcohol,' jokes about his past drug use and faces no more elections in his lifetime is terrified to go along with a massive and still growing majority of Americans?"

I'd argue that the omission of both issues speaks to an administration skeptical about ceding any political ground to the opposition, even when the political risks aren't very high. It's also possible that Obama doesn't feel like either issue is a particular priority to him, especially marijuana, where his position isn't much different than Mitt Romney's insistence that weed isn't "an issue of significance." (Tell that to the millions of Americans locked in prisons for doing what David Brooks did in college.)

All in all, liberals will probably agree with the president's words on economic justice and equal pay for women. But if you were expecting the president to take the lead on progressive social issues, it did a pretty mediocre job of that.

At least they can take solace in the fact that Mitt Romney would have been actively hostile to progressive social reforms rather than merely tepid. Take Huffpo Politics' theoretical Romney 2014 State of the Union as an example:

"Our legal system, nevertheless, remains strong. I am pleased to announce that we have made 25,000 arrests in Colorado in an effort to rid the state of the scourge of marijuana."

Exaggerated, maybe. But also maybe not that far off.

BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
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RE: MJ News for 01/29/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:28 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://articles.mcall.com/2014-01-28/news/mc-pa-medical-marijuana-0128-20140128_1_medical-marijuana-senate-bill-medical-or-recreational-purposes

Senate bill would legalize medical marijuana in Pa.

HARRISBURG — Sydney Michaels wore a pink jogging suit, a pink eye patch and a feeding tube that sustains her life.

With hands folded, she sat quietly on her dad's lap as he patted her service dog and her mother used a microphone to urge lawmakers to support a bipartisan bill the small-town family believes will help Sydney overcome the epileptic seizures that could one day kill her.

"Sydney is now 4 years old and is stuck on three anti-epileptic drugs which offer her no relief," Julie Michaels, of Connellsville, Fayette County, said Tuesday at a rally at the state Capitol. "Senate Bill 1182 will give our child a chance — a chance to experience life."

Senate Bill 1182 would legalize marijuana for medical purposes under a system of regulation and security to be developed by the Pennsylvania State Police and departments of Agriculture, Health, and Drug and Alcohol Programs.

The bill would establish state oversight of nonprofit "compassionate care centers" that would work with nonprofit "commercial medical cannabis farms" or manufacturers to grow and dispense so-called "Charlotte's Web." It is a strain of marijuana with strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and weak levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient for getting high. It can be consumed in a pill or oil form or inhaled.

Julie and Paul Michaels — and dozens of other parents with similar stories of heartache and pain — want Pennsylvania to approve marijuana for medical use, as 20 other states and the District of Columbia already have done.

"We strongly urge all Pennsylvania legislators and Gov. [Tom] Corbett to support this bill," Julie Michaels said at the rally, led by Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, a former Allentown attorney.

Leach, one of the Legislature's most liberal members, has been pushing passage of a medical marijuana bill for years with no success. His party is in the minority in the Senate and House.

But this time around, Leach has picked up support from an unlikely co-sponsor: Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, one of the General Assembly's most conservative members.

In addition, the bill has the support of Dr. Lidia Comini Turzai, the wife of House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny. She wrote a letter of support for the bill that was part of written testimony offered at a Senate hearing on the pros and cons of medical marijuana.

"This is a lot easier for me than it is for him politically," Leach said of Folmer during the hearing.

Corbett was unmoved politically.

Spokesman Jay Pagni said the governor, a former state attorney general, is opposed to legislation that would legalize marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. Corbett has met with the families and is sympathetic to their plight, Pagni said, but he believes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is the sole arbiter for determining if a drug is safe.

Leach's bill was drafted to include tough security measures to ensure medical marijuana would be tightly controlled by the state, Folmer said. Quoting from Abraham Lincoln, Folmer added, "Prohibition … goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes.'"

The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association supports the bill, too.

But Folmer and Leach may need more than the nurses, families and Lincoln to get their bill to a vote in the Senate and House. Medical marijuana elicits as many divergent views in the medical field as it does in the Legislature.

"Medical marijuana is a real conundrum," Dr. Tony Stile, a psychiatrist from Pittsburgh, said in a media conference arranged by the Pennsylvania Medical Society, representing the state's physicians.

The doctors on the conference call were speaking individually, not for their employers or professional associations.

Noting that different kinds of cannabis exist and that limited, poor-quality studies suggest a wide variety of ailments for which it might be useful, Stile asked, "What are we prescribing when we prescribe medical marijuana?"

Some people become addicted to marijuana, and since it's not well researched, the risks exceed the benefits, Stile said.

"Who's going to be accountable for bad outcomes?" he asked.

But Dr. Lee Harris, a neurologist from Abington, Montgomery County, said patients with multiple sclerosis in medical trials had reduced pain and fewer muscle spasms with controlled use of medical marijuana. In contrast to Stile, he said the medical data supports the use of medical marijuana.

A few medications using some of the chemical ingredients of marijuana can be legally prescribed, the doctors noted. For instance, Marinol, an oral medication made with synthetic ingredients found in marijuana, is indicated for use for people with anorexia and to reduce the nausea common during chemotherapy.

BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
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RE: MJ News for 01/29/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:33 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/01/29/medical-marijuana-will-be-on-florida-ballot/

Medical marijuana will be on Florida ballot

The Florida Supreme Court has narrowly approved language for a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana for medical use, guaranteeing the measure a spot on the state’s November ballot.

Advocates have already collected well over the 683,000 signatures necessary to qualify the measure for the fall ballot. County officials have already validated a sufficient number of signatures. The court challenge was all that stood in their way.

In an 84-page opinion, the court ruled by a 4-3 margin that the proposal’s ballot summary was sufficiently clear. Republicans, led by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R), had challenged the language as misleading.

Justices debated whether the language made clear that medical marijuana could only be used to treat “debilitating” diseases, like cancer, AIDS and Parkinson’s. The three justices who dissented said the ballot summary was “seriously deceptive” and would do voters “a severe disservice.”

“Today’s ruling leaves the issue of medical marijuana in the hands of Florida’s voters. I encourage every Floridian to read the full amendment in order to understand the impact it could have on Floridians,” Bondi said in a statement after the court’s ruling.

The proposed amendment will share the ballot with a heated race between Gov. Rick Scott (R) and his predecessor, former Gov. Charlie Crist, who last won office as a Republican but is now a Democrat.

Crist, once dubbed “Chain Gang Charlie” for his tough-on-crime stands, says he supports legalizing marijuana for medical uses; Scott opposes the bill. Crist is heavily favored over former state Sen. Nan Rich in the Democratic primary.

Some Republicans worry the proposed amendment will drive turnout among younger voters, who disproportionately vote Democratic. Several Republicans recently voiced fears that the amendment was little more than a Trojan horse for the Crist campaign.

Opposition to the medical marijuana push is likely to come from Save Our Society from Drugs, a group run in part by Betty Sembler. Sembler’s husband, Mel, is a former ambassador and major Republican donor. The group’s executive director told the Tampa Tribune that the loopholes in the proposed amendment would create “de-facto marijuana legalization.”

In an interview earlier this month, Ben Pollara, who is running the pro-amendment campaign, said his group would aim to raise and spend at least $10 million.

If the amendment passes, Florida would join 18 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing medical patients to use marijuana. Two states, Washington and Colorado, allow legal purchases for non-medical use.

A Quinnipiac University poll conducted in November showed a huge majority of Florida voters, 82 percent, backed allowing adults to use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes the drug. Just 16 percent of voters said they opposed marijuana for medical use.

The same poll showed a slim plurality — 48 percent — supported allowing adults to possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Forty-six percent said they opposed recreational marijuana use.

BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
Scroll up


RE: MJ News for 01/29/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:36 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2014/01/29/let-50-cannabis-flowers-bloom-federalism-makes-a-national-consensus-on-marijuana-unnecessary/

Let 50 Cannabis Flowers Bloom: Federalism Makes A National Consensus On Marijuana Unnecessary

President Obama says he opposes marijuana legalization but thinks Colorado and Washington should be able to try it. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who sought to run against Obama in 2012 as a Republican presidential contender, takes the same position.

You might call this policy federalism—but not if you are Barack Obama. According to the president, he has the authority to enforce the federal ban on marijuana even in states that have legalized the drug. But he chooses not to exercise that authority, because he is curious to see how these experiments turn out.

In an interview with The New Yorker published last week, Obama said “it’s important for [legalization] to go forward, because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.” A few days later, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney emphasized that Obama is “not endorsing any specific move by a state” but is instead “talking about the issue of disparities in prosecution of our drug laws that an experiment like this may be addressing.”

BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
Scroll up


RE: MJ News for 01/29/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:40 pm
by Weedhopper | 1.210 Posts | 4031 Points

Never can get a Politician to be honest,,because he gets elected on lies in the first place.

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RE: MJ News for 01/29/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:05 pm
by Rosebud | 499 Posts | 2113 Points

http://money.msn.com/investing/14-cannab...watch-in-2014-1 This is a interesting article... Wish i knew how to post it....

To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.”
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RE: MJ News for 01/29/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:13 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

good article there Rose. :)

BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo

Last edited Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:13 pm | Scroll up

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