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California Bill Encourages Banks to Work With Pot Businesses

Category : Latest News

LOS ANGELES
California legislators considered a plan Monday intended to encourage more banks to do business with marijuana companies that have been frozen out of thousands of financial institutions.

Most Americans live in states where marijuana is legally available in some form. But most financial institutions don’t want anything to do with money from the cannabis industry for fear it could expose them to legal trouble since the federal government still considers marijuana illegal.

The conflict between state and federal law has left businesses in California’s emerging legal pot industry in a legal dilemma, shutting many out of everyday services such as opening a bank account or obtaining a credit card. It also has forced many businesses to operate only in cash — sometimes vast amounts — making them ripe targets for crime.

An Assembly bill would authorize state regulators to share detailed sales, cultivation and shipping information collected from cannabis companies with banks, a step supporters hope will provide additional assurances to financial institutions that a pot shop or grower is operating within the law.

During the Obama administration, the Justice Department issued guidelines to help banks avoid federal prosecution when dealing with pot businesses in states where the drug is legal.

But most banks don’t see those rules as a shield against charges that could include aiding drug trafficking. And they say the rules are difficult to follow, in effect placing the burden on banks to determine if a pot business is complying with all legal rules.

Cara Martinson of the California State Association of Counties told members of an Assembly committee that the bill represented an incremental step until a solution is reached at the federal level.

“This could help move the ball,” she said.

The number of banks and credit unions willing to handle pot money is growing — it’s over 400 nationally — but they still represent only a small fraction of the industry.


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Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana Use in Public Housing Introduced in Congress

Category : Latest News

A bill that would permit the use of medical marijuana by residents of public housing in states with legal medicinal cannabis programs was introduced in Congress last week. The measure, the Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act of 2019, was introduced on Thursday by Democratic Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a nonvoting delegate from the District of Columbia.

Under current federal regulations, those who use drugs that are illegal under federal law, including cannabis used medicinally, are ineligible for federal public housing assistance. Landlords are also permitted under federal law to evict residents for using cannabis or other drugs. Norton said that the law should be changed for those residents of public housing who are using cannabis medicinally in accordance with state law.

“Individuals living in federally funded housing should not fear eviction simply for treating their medical conditions or for seeking a substance legal in their state,” Norton said.

Norton noted that for the past several years, Congress has prohibited the Department of Justice from using federal funds to prevent jurisdictions from implementing their medical marijuana laws. The Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act would extend similar protection to individuals who use marijuana in federally assisted housing in compliance with the state’s marijuana laws.

The bill would require the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to develop regulations that restrict smoking marijuana in federally assisted housing in the same manner and to the same locations as restrictions for smoking tobacco. Spokespeople at HUD have not yet responded to a request for comment on Norton’s bill, according to the Associated Press.

Federal Cannabis Policy Should Reflect Public Opinion
Norton said that federal law should be changed to reflect the changing views of Americans in regards to cannabis policy.

“Increasingly, Americans are changing their views on marijuana, state by state, and it is time that Congress caught up with its own constituents. With so many states improving their laws, this issue should have broad bipartisan appeal because it protects states’ rights.”

Norton’s bill has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services for consideration. Last month, the committee approved another cannabis reform measure, the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019, by a vote of 45-15. The bill would protect cannabis business who are operating in accordance with state law from interference by the federal government.

Norton is also leading the drive to remove congressional restrictions that prohibit the District of Columbia from using local funds to regulate the commercialization of recreational cannabis. On Saturday, she was a featured speaker at Washington, D.C.’s 420 celebration, the National Cannabis Festival.


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Bahama Buds wins best Overall Dispensary 2018

Category : Latest News

Coos Bay, OR.

Bahama Buds in Coos Bay most captures what I consider to be the spirit of the coast: like a roadside tackle shop that also sells used Blu Rays and tractor parts, Bahama Buds brings in a disparate selection of locally-sourced goods and basic conveniences, plus services related to regional non-cannabis interests. An entire wall is dedicated to canned and pickled vittles from a local septuagenarian, while nearby glass-door coolers are stocked with game meats culled by neighbors from neighboring lands.

Additionally, Bahama rents out crab pots and kayaks, offers guided nature tours, and sells custom surfboards. The overall vibe is something like a farmer’s market that overtook a water-sports retailer, or the other way around. But the flare shouldn’t overshadow the weed. I had a hard time choosing between top-shelf flower options from well-known Portland producers, tougher-to-stock craft growers, and all-but-unknown farms of impressive quality. The Ube Ice Cream from 5500 Farms won my purchase—a solid Gelato cross with a rubber-and-fuel nose signature to the genetic family. link to original article

(Matt Stangel for Leafly)


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