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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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I-502 Compliant Marijuana Business Seminars Offered in Washington

July 8th

VANCOUVER, WA — Acinonyx Academy has announced the opening of a Vancouver, Washington location for Marijuana Business Seminars to comply with I-502 Recreation Marijuana Business rules.

“We are here to help the small businesses of our community. We plan on a series of community based educational opportunities – the first of which is a series of Marijuana Business Seminars. We want to help the people in our community who are already in the marijuana business to comply with the new rules being developed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. Our program will assist recreational marijuana businesses become part of the local economy and the local business community,” says Paula Tschida, founder of Acinonyx Academy.

The goal of these educational seminars is to assist small companies – the so-called Mom and Pop marijuana businesses. There are many small marijuana businesses already selling marijuana-infused products or growing marijuana for the Medical Marijuana Industry.

Acinonyx Academy’s program provides small classes focusing on different facets of the marijuana business so a businessperson need not take a class about the rules surrounding marijuana growing if their intention is to process marijuana-infused products or sell products at a retail level.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board issued a . . . . . READ MORE

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Latest Washington Marijuana Rules: Outdoor Grows, Concentrates In; Pot Logo Out

July 5th

OLYMPIA, WA — Washington state was the first in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana use, but image-conscious regulators there think the cannabis-leaf logo designed for state-licensed pot merchandise conveys the wrong impression of the Evergreen State.

Dropping the marijuana leaf as an official state symbol was one of several changes contained in the latest draft of measures proposed by a three-member panel devising new regulations for the state’s nascent marijuana industry.

The proposals, released on Wednesday and containing mostly minor revisions to an earlier plan, included rules governing cultivation, sales and taxation of pot due to take effect when state-licensed retail marijuana stores open next spring.

Washington and Colorado became the only two U.S. states to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use after approval by voters last November, though Washington’s law went into effect first.

Both states, along with 16 others, also have legalized pot for medical purposes. The federal government, however, still classifies cannabis as an illegal substance.

The abandoned pot logo, which was to appear on any recreational-use marijuana or marijuana-infused product sold in th. . . . . READ MORE

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Seattle Medical Marijuana Dispensary to Provide Grow Space Construction Services

July 2nd

SEATTLE, WA – Safe Access, a medical marijuana dispensary located in West Seattle, has recently announced that they will begin providing grow room construction services for medical cannabis patients in the greater Seattle area who wish to grow their own medicine.

According to their website, “Safe Access is committed to making the lives of medical patients more comfortable, so to this end we have launched a new construction and consulting service to help patients cultivate their own cannabis medicines.”

Safe Access was founded in 2013 and is located on Delridge Avenue across the West Seattle Bridge from downtown Seattle. Their stated mission is to provide “quality-controlled and affordable medication to medical cannabis patients, to ensure that patients receive the best medicine for each individual’s condition.”

A representative of the dispensary wrote, “Under Washington State medical marijuana law, patients with valid recommendations from their physicians are able to grow a certain number of cannabis plants. They may also work together to form growing collectives. At Safe Access, we are able to assist with any type of growing construction project conducted in accordance with state law. From small personal grows to cooperative growing facilities, we have the technical experience and expertise to optimize production and maximize efficiency.”

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Washington State Moving Towards Allowing Outdoor Marijuana Cultivation

June 21st

OLYMPIA, WA – The regulatory board overseeing marijuana legalization in Washington State is leaning toward allowing licensed growers to cultivate marijuana outdoors, citing the much higher carbon footprint of indoor and greenhouse cultivation, board members said.

The view, which all three members of the Washington State Liquor Control Board told Reuters they shared, represents a reversal from the draft retail marijuana industry rules the body issued last month.

Indoor marijuana grows have a higher carbon footprint, even in hydro-electric powered Oregon.

Indoor marijuana grows have a higher carbon footprint, even in hydro-electric powered Oregon.

“If they can provide the security parameters that we require for indoor or greenhouse, if they can provide for that outdoors, then it’s OK with me,” board member Ruthann Kurose said, after a public meeting on Wednesday.

Washington and Colorado became the first U.S. states to legalize recreational pot after approval by voters last November, although the use and sale of marijuana remains. . . . . READ MORE

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Washington LCB Reconsiders Allowing Outdoor Marijuana Growing, Hash & Dabs

June 20th

OLYMPIA, WA — When the initial proposed regulations for Washington’s forthcoming recreational marijuana market were released in May, outdoor growing of marijuana was not permitted.  Neither were hash, hash oils, and concentrates such as dabs, unless incorporated into edible marijuana products.

Now, regulators at the state’s Liquor Control Board said Wednesday that they are reconsidering those prohibitions following a briefing on over 1,000 pages of comments sent by members of the community.

In Wednesdays briefing, three major changes to the proposed regulations were expressed to the board.

The biggest change would be allowing outdoor cultivation of marijuana, which would require a smaller carbon footprint than indoor growing.  In the first draft of the proposed rules, all marijuana would have been required to be grown indoors, or in green houses with rigid walls.

“With the proper security, we feel that outdoor grows would work as well as indoor grows,” acknowledged Liquor Control Board rules coordinator Karen McCall.

The Liquor Control Board also had proposed banning hash oils and concentrates, unless they were incorporated into edible food products.  With the majority of the feedback from the community overwhelmingly in favor of allowing concentrates, the LCB is looking to see how they can be allowed th. . . . . READ MORE

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WA: Medical Marijuana Patients Protest LCB Oversight Proposal

June 20th

OLYMPIA, WA — About 250 medical marijuana supporters rallied at the state capitol in Olympia Wednesday to protest an amendment to pending budget bills that would give the state Liquor Control Board control over the state’s medical marijuana program.

The Liquor Control Board is charged with overseeing the state’s forthcoming recreational marijuana retail market, and medical marijuana patients worry that incorporation of the medical marijuana program into the LCB’s control could lead to taxation of medical marijuana, the regulation of medical use, and age restrictions requiring patients to be 21 or older.

Draft versions of both the House and Senate budgets would require the state Liquor Control Board to develop new recommendations for how to tax and license medical marijuana, and to deliver those policy recommendations to lawmakers by January.

Washington’s voter-approved I-502 levies a new marijuana excise tax of 25 percent on each producer, processor and retailer of recreational marijuana.  Advocates say that if such a tax were imposed on the medical marijuana industry, many patients would be unable to afford their medicine.

“There is no other medication that is regulated and controlled by the Liquor Control Board,” said Steve Sarich, head of the Cannabis Action Coalition, who organized the rally. “They are absolutely unqualified to determ. . . . . READ MORE

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US Court Records Show Nearly 500 Years in Prison Time for Medical Marijuana Offenses

June 15th

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — In spite of growing public support for medical marijuana, concern about overreach by the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies, and cutbacks in federal spending, the U.S. government’s war on medical marijuana is raging unabated according to a survey of court records by Cal NORML.

On Tuesday, Michigan medical marijuana grower Jerry Duval, a kidney and pancreas transplant patient with severe medical problems, began serving a ten-year sentence in the same prison as the Boston bomber. Duval joins a growing list of defendants in states that allow medical marijuana who have been charged by the Department of Justice for violating federal laws prohibiting medical marijuana.

According to a survey of US court records, news stories, and case reports compiled by Cal NORML (with help from Americans for Safe Access):

Medical Marijuana Patients In DC: Enroll Now

June 15th

WASHINGTON, DC — After a nearly fifteen legal and political odyssey–Washington DC voters like me voted at the nearly 69% level for medical access to cannabis in 1998!–the DC city government has finally issued the last of the necessary forms to in effect allow medical cannabis to finally be employed by sick, dying and sense-threatened medical patients.

With three medical cannabis dispensaries up and running, the only thing they lack are legally compliant patients.

Residents of D.C. that need medical cannabis, who possess a physician’s recommendation, can download the necessary forms here.

Medical Marijuana Patients In DC: Enroll Now was written by and appears in full on The Daily Chronic.

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Moving Toward Legal Marijuana Commerce in Washington State

June 13th

OLYMPIA, WA — Voters approved the marijuana legalization initiative I-502 in Washington state last November, and it is now legal to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, but a full-blown marijuana commerce industry doesn’t just happen overnight. The state is still months away from having a functioning system of state-taxed and -regulated marijuana cultivators, processors, and retailers, but the process is well underway, and by most accounts, it is going relatively smoothly.

Washington-State-Liqour-Control-Marijuana-LogoLast month, the Washington Liquor Control Board (LCB), the state agency charged with setting up the state’s marijuana industry, issued its initial draft rules. It took written comments on the initial draft rules through Monday and will issue revised draft rules later this month.

The LCB will hold public hearings on the rules for all three envisaged licenses — grower, processor, and retailer — in late July, promulgate final rules in August, begin accepting license app. . . . . READ MORE

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