Move May Force Producers to Move to a Cash-only Payment System
Eight months after the federal Department of Justice and Treasury Department announced new guidelines allowing banks to work with marijuana businesses, some of the credit unions in New Mexico sent letters to almost half of the State’s licensed medical marijuana producers saying they will no longer accept their business and proceeded with closing their accounts.
The credit unions claim that they are unable to comply with federal guidelines for servicing the accounts. This move leaves producers in the lurch, with either having to operate on a cash-only basis or scramble to find another financial institution willing to take their business.
In February, the Obama Administration announced new guidelines that will allow banks to legally provide financial services to state-licensed marijuana businesses. Twenty-three states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for medical use; two of those states (Colorado and Washington) recently legalized marijuana like alcohol.
A newly released 45-second motion graphic shows why it's time to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana in Oregon. You might recognize the narrator's voice from radio and telelvision.
Rick Steves, travel guru, narrates this animated video that explains how our current marijuana policies are failing us. Steves is launching a six-day, 11-city tour around Oregon in support of Measure 91.
Oregon's Measure 91 would create a regulated system that would refocus police time on serious crimes, hobble the black market cartels, and direct millions of dollars to education, drug treatment and prevention, and law enforcement.
Learn more at www.VoteYESon91.com .
Criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession will be replaced with a civil fine similar to a traffic ticket
Legislation adopted this year to remove criminal penalties for marijuana possession in Maryland will go into effect on Wednesday, October 1.
Maryland joins 17 other states and the District of Columbia that have decriminalized or legalized marijuana possession. In addition, Missouri passed a similar bill this year, which will make it the 19th state to do so when it goes into effect.
Senate Bill 364 makes possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a fine of up to $100 for a first offense, up to $250 for a second offense, and up to $500 for subsequent offenses. Third-time offenders and individuals under 21 years of age will be required to undergo a clinical assessment for substance abuse disorder and a drug education program.
“Decriminalization will free up law enforcement officials’ time and allow them to focus on more pressing issues than marijuana possession," said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and a 34-year veteran of the Maryland State Police.
"It will address some inequalities in our justice system, but, until we fully legalize and regulate marijuana, sales will continue to be conducted by criminals in an underground market," Franklin said. "Until that happens, we are not going to see the public safety benefits that are possible in a post-prohibition world.”
Patients, Families, and Advocates Thank Cuomo For Federal Request, But Urge Additional State Action to Save Lives of Critically Ill Patients
Patients Call on Governor to Create State-Based Emergency Access Program
The Cuomo Administration on Friday sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Cole following up on an earlier letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, sent on August 13. Both letters asked the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) to extend a narrow, time-limited exception to federal law to allow the importation of certain strains of medical marijuana from other states for use by children in New York with severe forms of epilepsy.
The letters follow the deaths of several children and a sustained campaign by advocates pressuring the Cuomo Administration to create an interim emergency access program for patients who may not survive the 18 months or longer that the governor has said he needs to get the full medical marijuana program up and running. New York passed a medical marijuana bill that Governor Cuomo signed into law in July, but the Administration has said the program won’t be up and running until at least January of 2016.
To establish emergency access for patients in need, medical marijuana can either be produced within New York state, or, with appropriate federal clearances, acquired from a different jurisdiction. The Cuomo Administration’s letters address one of those two options.
420careers.com, a marijuana industry job listing site, on Monday reported that the swiftly developing cannabis industry is generating an extraordinary and historic amount of jobs throughout the United States and Canada.
“The marijuana industry is producing more new jobs than many other industries in the United States,” said Colby Ayres, director of marketing at 420careers.com. "Each state that passes a medical or recreational marijuana law usually generates hundreds, if not thousands, of new jobs.
"Colorado currently has over 10,000 jobs associated with the marijuana industry and Washington state is quickly creating hordes of new jobs since legalizing marijuana in July," Ayres said.
Twenty-two states permit medical marijuana and two states (Colorado and Washington) permit recreational marijuana for adult use. Nearly a dozen other states have medical marijuana legislation initiatives and an estimated five states will vote to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use by 2016.
It has been predicted that over a dozen more states are likely to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use by 2018, which would potentially grow upwards of a $10 billion industry in the United States.
Some of more popular marijuana jobs currently offered on 420careers.com are: budtenders (dispensary patient consultants), cultivation experts, dispensary managers, writers, sales positions, delivery drivers, security staff, inventory staff, and various administrative and business development positions.
Five more organizations on Friday endorsed Oregon’s Measure 91 to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older. These groups are:
• American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 88 (AFSCME), the largest employee union in Multnomah County with approximately 2,600 represented employees. They join AFSCME Local 328 and United Food and Commercial Workers 555, which had previous endorsed Measure 91.
• Oregon Alliance for Retired Americans, which works to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens. The Alliance joins the Oregon State Council for Retired Citizens, as the second senior organization to endorse the campaign.
• Partnership for Safety and Justice, which works to reform the criminal justice system and achieve a more balanced approach to public safety. They join several other criminal justice organization like the ACLU of Oregon, the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
By Steve Elliott
The Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana; the bill now heads to the state House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 1182 would allow patients with certain medical conditions to use medical cannabis with a doctor's recommendation, reports WPMT Fox 43.
Cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), severe fibromyalgia, cachexia (wasting syndrome), Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome are on the list of approved conditions for medical marijuana.
Removed from the list since the bill's inception -- despite clear clinical evidence that cannabis helps -- were 39 diseases and conditions including muscular dystrophy, Crohn's disease, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, hydrocephalus, diabetes and lupus.
Prime sponsor Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) and co-sponsor Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery County) made the changes to "keep the bill moving" despite misgivings from some of their more timid colleagues. The bill passed on Wednesday on an overwhelming 43-7 vote.
AG Holder Made Unprecedented Efforts to Address Mass Incarceration and Failed Drug War
Drug Policy Alliance Calls On President Obama to Appoint Replacement Who Will Follow Through on Crucial Criminal Justice Reforms
By Steve Elliott
Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday announced that he will be resigning from office once a replacement is found. Drug policy and criminal justice reform advocates expressed disappointment he is leaving office, praising his leadership and calling on President Obama to nominate a replacement who will carry on Holder’s reform work.
Holder's career as AG, which spanned five and a half years, included a number of drug policy reforms to which he reconfirmed his commitment in a Thursday interview with Katie Couric. In the interview, Holder said science should be the basis for making decisions about the scheduling of marijuana, and that the sentencing of nonviolent drug offenders is a serious civil rights issue.
“Holder will go down in history as the Attorney General who began unwinding the war on drugs and steering our country away from mass incarceration,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “President Obama should replace him with someone who is going to carry on that legacy of reform.”
By Steve Elliott
Some political candidates seem to be in denial about their marijuana use, but a write-in candidate for governor of Rhode Island wants to make sure voters know she uses cannabis every day for both cooking and medicinal purposes.
"Yes, I do smoke cannabis, and yes, I do inhale," says Anne Armstrong in a campaign video posted online this month, reports Sam Levine at The Huffington Post. "It helps me. It helps me to focus, it helps to facilitate communication."
Armstrong posted on her Facebook page that she wants a state where "common sense, compassion, and cooperation can recreate Rhode Island into a place where everyone can live in abundance."
"It doesn't make people crazy, the way you've been told," Armstrong says of marijuana in the ad. "I hope that you will read and open your eyes and realize the truth that we've been lied to for a long time by our government."
Armstrong said in a speech earlier this month at Boston Hempfest that if she were elected governor, she would eliminate all penalties for growing, sharing and using cannabis in Rhode Island.
"I'm gonna site and use cannabis as I govern from my office," Armstrong said. "And I am gonna have my cannabis in the rotunda of the Statehouse and it is gonna be a people's cannabis garden."
Rhode Island permits the cultivation and use of marijuana for certain medical conditions.
3 Points for Voters to Consider When Reviewing Proposed Marijuana Laws
Cannabis Industry Expert Looks at Pros & Cons
Voters in seven states, one U.S. territory, and at least 17 cities and counties across the nation will face a marijuana initiative when they go to the polls in November. For some, the question is easy: They’re either for some level of legalizing marijuana or against it.
But for others, the issue is not so cut and dried. Decriminalizing marijuana can be good for the country – and it can be potentially dangerous, says Wall Street commodities expert Steve Janjic, CEO of Amercanex (www.amercanex.com), an electronic marketplace exchange for the cannabis industry.
“I’m a part of the industry, but that doesn’t mean I’m in favor of every measure to legalize pot,” Janjic says. “We need to proceed with care and thoughtful consideration of possible consequences, intended and unintended, of the decisions we make.
“We have the opportunity to fix some problems through decriminalization, but we don’t want to end up with even bigger problems down the road,” Janjic said.
The November initiatives range from legalizing recreational marijuana sales and use for adults in Oregon and Alaska to permitting it for medical purposes in Florida and Guam, to decriminalizing possession of small amounts in cities and counties in Maine, Michigan and New Mexico. Californians will decide whether to downgrade possession to a misdemeanor.
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is filing a committee with the California Secretary of State on Wednesday to support a 2016 ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in California. According to MPP, "It will be part of a broad coalition of local activists, community leaders, organizations, and businesses working to pass a measure similar to the one approved by voters in Colorado in 2012."
The new committee, the Marijuana Policy Project of California, will immediately begin raising funds to help place the measure on the November 2016 ballot. MPP was the largest financial backer of the Colorado initiative campaign.
“Marijuana prohibition has had an enormously detrimental impact on California communities," said MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia. "It’s been ineffective, wasteful, and counterproductive. It’s time for a more responsible approach.
“A diverse coalition of activists, organizations, businesses, and community leaders will be joining together in coming months to draft the most effective and viable proposal possible," Kampia said. "Public opinion has been evolving nationwide when it comes to marijuana policy, and Californians have always been ahead of the curve.
“Marijuana is an objectively less harmful substance than alcohol, and that’s how it needs to be treated," Kampia said. "Regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol just makes sense.”
Rick Steves, one of America's most respected travel authorities, is launching a six-day, 10-city tour around Oregon to talk about travel and the need for marijuana reform in Oregon.
The Yes on 91 campaign will join him. On the November ballot, Measure 91 will regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older.
In "Travel as a Political Act: Ending marijuana prohibition in Oregon," Steves will share how travel has shown him how different societies tackle the same problems. Steves co-sponsored I-502, Washington's limited ballot measure to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana.
"One thing I've learned in 30 years of travel is that treating marijuana as a crime does not work," he said. "A better approach is to regulate it, legalize it and tax it. I'm an advocate for better policy, and that's what Oregon will get once Measure 91 passes."
With one exception, all the events are free and open to the public. To RSVP, click here.
Tuesday, October 7
First Congregational Church, 5:30 PM*
*Wine and Cheese Meet and Greet, $250/person (Limited space, reserve tickets in advance online)
Tuesday, October 7
First Congregational Church, 7 PM**
Wednesday, October 8
Ava Roasteria, Noon
Wednesday, October 8
Grand Ballroom, Noon
Thursday, October 9
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis, 5:30 PM
Thursday, October 9
ACLU Annual Membership Meeting
Friday, October 10
By Steve Elliott
A new study indicates that if Maryland legalized marijuana, it would bring Maryland more than $40 million in taxes revenues.
The study by financial advisory company Nerd Wallet found that the United States would make $3 billion in taxes if cannabis were legally sold; it then broke down what every state could expect in marijuana revenue, reports Megan Pringle at WBAL-TV.
Due to the illegal nature of marijuana in 48 states, it's hard to get good numbers on the amount of weed that's bought and consumed. To estimate what each state would get from cannabis sales, Nerd Wallet said it had to rely on how many people report smoking pot to the federal government -- so it's a pretty safe bet that there numbers are substantially low.
The study found that in Maryland, more than 145,000 people use cannabis. Based on that, and estimated tax revenues, if marijuana were legal, it would bring Maryland $40,548,337m, the study estimated.
California would make the most, at $500 million, while Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota would make the least, each with less than $10 million, the study showed.
Texas, Washington, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida are all estimated to get more than $100 million from legalization.
Measure 91: Kris Olson, one of Oregon's most respected prosecutors, endorses campaign
Oregon's former U.S. Attorney, one of the most respected prosecutors in the state, has endorsed Measure 91, which would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older.
Kris Olson has worked in justice and law enforcement for more than 40 years."I enforced our marijuana laws, and they don't work," she said.
"Filling our courts and jails has failed to reduce marijuana use, and drug cartels are pocketing all the profits," Olson said.
Olson joins several other high-profile supporters of Measure 91, including former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Bill Riggs and former Addictions and Mental Health Services of Oregon director Richard Harris.
Oregon farmers are forced to watch while consumers here buy millions of dollars in hempseed for food, clothing made of hemp and thousand of other products made from this cash crop, all grown in foreign countries.
Ryan Basile is an Oregonian, a farmer and an agricultural businessman. In this video, he alerts us all to unintended consequences of laws banning marijuana and how it's holding back an entire economy perfect for Oregon's climate.
Ryan knows that Measure 91 will compel the state Department of Agriculture to cut the remaining red tape and allow hemp growing and manufacturing in Oregon.
• Hemp plants are considered a dangerous narcotic simply because they're related to marijuana plants.
• Smoking hemp will NOT get you high.
• Hemp is a fibrous plant that can be turned into oil, wax, rope, resin, cloth, paper, pulp and food.
• Canadians make half a billion dollars a year on it, and about 90% of the hemp they grow is exported to the United States. Oregonians are seeing the consequences for our strange approach to hemp while Canadians are profiting off of us.
• Canadians have a 20-year lead on us in hemp research, and everyday it is illegal to grow hemp in Oregon we fall further behind.
"There is an entire hemp economy sitting on the sidelines waiting for voters to pass Measure 91," said Ryan Basile, a farmer and agricultural salesman from Oregon. "From fiber processing to clothing manufacturing, the hemp industry will create jobs and money for our economy."