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Banks Willing to Work With Marijuana Business, But Waiting for Federal Clarification

October 30th

OLYMPIA, WA — Many banks in Washington State are willing to provide financial services to the state’s new recreational marijuana industry, but are unable to under current federal law. Reported this week in the Daily Herald: Marijuana businesses, even ones that will soon be legally licensed in this state, are considered criminal enterprises under federal […]

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Congressional Reps Urge New Direction with New Drug Czar Pick

September 30th

WASHINGTON, DC – Five Democratic members of Congress are calling on President Obama to use the naming of a new drug czar as an opportunity to take a big step toward fully embracing a drug policy based on science, reason, and facts. The five representatives made their call in a letter sent to the White House Thursday. The […]

Read Congressional Reps Urge New Direction with New Drug Czar Pick in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

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Oregon Governor Signs Law Authorizing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

August 15th

SALEM, OR — A bill that will expand the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to allow the licencing and regulating of medical marijuana dispensaries was signed into law Wednesday by Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber. The bill, House Bill 3460, will give the Oregon Health Authority the ability to license, regulate, inspect and audit medical marijuana dispensaries in […]

Read Oregon Governor Signs Law Authorizing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

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WA, CO Congressmen Introduce Federal Bill to Allow Banking for Marijuana Industry

July 11th

WASHINGTON, DC — US Congressmen Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Denny Heck (D-WA) introduced a bill Wednesday, along with 16 bipartisan co-sponsors, to reform federal banking laws as they apply to marijuana related businesses, both in the existing medical marijuana industry and the forthcoming recreational marijuana industry in their respective states.

The bill, US House Bill 2652, the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act of 2013, would allow regulated, state authorized marijuana businesses — either medical or recreational — to have access to financial institutions.  The bill would update federal banking rules to resolve conflicts between federal and state laws, promoting community safety and financial security, according to the bill’s sponsors.

Currently, even the most basic banking services, such as business checking accounts or merchant credit card processing services, are largely unavailable to the marijuana industry.

Federal regulators impose stiff punishments and penalize banks and their employees for providing services to marijuana related businesses. The result is legitimate, licensed and regulated businesses have extreme difficulty accessing the banking system to accept credit cards, deposit r. . . . . READ MORE

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WA, CO Congressmen Introduce Federal Bill to Allow Banking for Marijuana Industry

July 11th

WASHINGTON, DC — US Congressmen Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Denny Heck (D-WA) introduced a bill Wednesday, along with 16 bipartisan co-sponsors, to reform federal banking laws as they apply to marijuana related businesses, both in the existing medical marijuana industry and the forthcoming recreational marijuana industry in their respective states.

The bill, US House Bill 2652, the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act of 2013, would allow regulated, state authorized marijuana businesses — either medical or recreational — to have access to financial institutions.  The bill would update federal banking rules to resolve conflicts between federal and state laws, promoting community safety and financial security, according to the bill’s sponsors.

Currently, even the most basic banking services, such as business checking accounts or merchant credit card processing services, are largely unavailable to the marijuana industry.

Federal regulators impose stiff punishments and penalize banks and their employees for providing services to marijuana related businesses. The result is legitimate, licensed and regulated businesses have extreme difficulty accessing the banking system to accept credit cards, deposit revenues, or write checks to meet payroll or pay taxes.

This forces legal, state-compliant marijuana businesses to operate as cash-only enterprises, inviting crimes such as robbery and tax evasion, adding to the burden of establishing a leg. . . . . READ MORE

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Oregon Medical Marijuana Dispensary Regulation Bill Heads to Governor

July 7th

SALEM, OR —  A bill that would expand the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to include licencing and regulating medical marijuana dispensaries is heading to the desk of Governor John Kitzhaber (D) after House members concurred Saturday with Senate amendments to the bill.

The Oregon Senate voted Wednesday to approve House Bill 3460, which was approved by the House in June.  Because of some changes made to the bill by a Senate committee, the House met Saturday to approve those changes.

The bill will now be sent to Gov. Kitzhaber, who is expected to sign the legislation into law.  Earlier last week, Gov. Kitzhaber gave final approval to two bills that reduce marijuana penalties for in the state.

Medical marijuana dispensaries already exist in Oregon, but are operating in a legal grey area.  The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) allows patients to grow their own medicine or have someone else to i. . . . . READ MORE

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Oregon Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Dispensary Bill

July 4th

SALEM, OR — The Oregon Senate voted Wednesday to approve a bill that a House-approved bill that would expand the state’s medical marijuana program to license and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries statewide.

The bill, House Bill 3460, was approved without debate by an 18-12 bi-partisan, and now heads back to the House to approve some changes made by a Senate committee last week.  The House is expected to vote on the changes this weekend.

Medical marijuana dispensaries already exist in Oregon, but are operating in a legal grey area.  The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) allows patients to grow their own medicine or have someone else to it for them, but does not provide for — or prohibit — medical marijuana dispensaries from operating.

This has led to varied differences in toleration of the dispensaries based on the attitudes of local officials.  In some areas of the state, such as Multnomah County, which includes the city of Portland, dispensaries have been largely tolerated.  But providers have been raided in less tolerant areas of the state, with operators  fa. . . . . READ MORE

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Oregon Senate Committee Tweaks Medical Marijuana Dispensary Bill

June 30th

SALEM, OR — A committee in the Oregon Senate has amended a House-approved bill that would expand the state’s medical marijuana program to license and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries statewide.

Two significant changes were made to the bill Saturday by the Senate Committee on Rules following concerns voiced from the Oregon District Attorneys Association, who changed their position on the bill from “opposed” to “neutral” after the changes were made.

In the original bill, anyone with two or more prior convictions for distribution or manufacturing a controlled substance in the state of Oregon would be prohibited from operating a dispensary. Under the changes made Saturday, the restrictions were expanded to apply to anyone with one prior conviction, regardless of where that conviction took place.

The other significant change was the elimination of a provision included in the original bill that limited the criminal liability of existing medical marijuana dispensaries in the state if they are prosecuted before the new law takes effect.

Medical marijuana dispensaries already exist in Oregon, but are operating in a legal grey area.  The O. . . . . READ MORE

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Good, Bad Drug Measures Die Along with Farm Bill

June 20th

WASHINGTON, DC — The Farm Bill (House Bill 1947) died in the House Thursday morning as Democrats rebelled against deep cuts to food stamps. The vote to kill it came after the House had approved separate amendments that would have allowed for limited hemp production, but also would have allowed states to require drug tests for food stamp applicants.

But before the overall bill died, hemp advocates were able to pass an amendment offered by Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Thomas Massie (R-KY) that would allow hemp to be grown for research purposes. The amendment passed 225-200, despite a last-minute lobbying blitz against it from the DEA, complete with a DEA talking points memo obtained by the Huffington Post.

Still, despite the DEA’s concerns that allowing limited hemp production for research would make law enforcement’s job more difficult, a majority of lawmakers weren’t buying, and amendment sponsors and hemp advocates pronounced themselves well-pleased.

“Industrial hemp is an important agricultural commodity, not a drug,” said Rep. Polis. “My bipartisan, common-sense amendment would allow colleges and universities to grow and cultivate industrial hemp for academic and agricultural research purposes . . . . . READ MORE

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U.S. House Passes Amendment to Protect State Rights to Grow Hemp for Research

June 20th

WASHINGTON, DC – Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO), Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced an amendment to H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, the Farm Bill, that would allow colleges and universities to grow and cultivate industrial hemp in states where it is already legal without fear of federal interference.  The amendment passed today by a vote of 225 to 200.

“Industrial hemp is an important agricultural commodity, not a drug,” said Rep. Polis. “My bipartisan, common-sense amendment, which I’ve introduced with Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), would allow colleges and universities to grow and cultivate industrial hemp for academic and agricultural research purposes in states where industrial hemp growth and cultivation is already legal. Many states, including Colorado, have demonstrated that they are fully capable of regulating industrial hemp. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. The first American flag was made of hemp. And today, U.S. retailers sell over $300 million worth of goods containing hemp—but all of that hemp is imported, since farmers can’t grow it here. The federal government should clarify that states should have the ability to regulate academic and agriculture research of industrial hemp without fear of federal interference. Hemp is not marijuana, and at the very least, we should allow our universities—the greatest in the world. . . . . READ MORE

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