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Fans of Legal Marijuana Cheer

September 10th

The pros and cons of marijuana will take center stage Tuesday in Washington, D.C., when the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a landmark hearing on legalization.

Requested by committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the hearing was triggered by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement last month that federal authorities no longer will interfere as states adopt laws to allow medical marijuana or to legalize the drug entirely.

The hearing is on conflicts between state and federal marijuana laws. In calling for it, Leahy questioned whether, at a time of severe budget cutting, federal prosecutions of marijuana users are the best use of taxpayer dollars.

Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the nonprofit lobby group Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., said he hopes for a breakthrough in the hearing that would lead to changes in federal banking laws, allowing marijuana sellers to accept credit cards and checks, not just cash.

That would do a lot to legitimize the nation’s marijuana industry, safeguard. . . . . READ MORE

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Democrats Promote Bills to Loosen Restrictions on Marijuana Industry

June 5th

During a press conference on Wednesday, Democratic congressmen from Oregon, Colorado, Washington, and California announced that they will push for legislation to loosen the restrictions on state-legal marijuana businesses.

The five representatives sponsoring reforms hope to ease the burden for businesses in the cannabis industry by allowing them to file for federal tax deductions, open bank accounts, and operate without fear of property or forfeiture claims. They plan to introduce three bills — the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act, the States’ Medical Marijuana Property Rights Protection Act, and an amendment to the IRS code relating to state-legal marijuana sales — and will seek to attach these measures to other legislation moving through Congress.

“These are relatively minor technical adjustments,” said Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, “and in times past, things like this would find their way to be part of larger pieces of legislation.” The Hill reported that the sponsors believe the bills have “little chance at moving on their own,” but that they may make it to the president’s desk if they are included in, say, the broader farm bill bein. . . . . READ MORE

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