New Mexico Credit Unions To Close Medical Marijuana Accounts
Category: News | Posted on Fri, October, 3rd 2014 by THCFinder
Eight months after the Federal Justice Department and Treasury Department announced new guidelines allowing banks to work with marijuana businesses, some of the credit unions in New Mexico sent letters to close to 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 assert 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 2014, 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.
“It is disappointing to see that the banking industry in New Mexico is failing to protect medical patients and small businesses in light of the assurances the federal administration has provided and a robust and thriving medical marijuana industry in the state,” said Emily Kaltenbach, state director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “This abrupt move has all of us asking why they are unexpectedly ceasing to do business with the marijuana industry in New Mexico. We would like to know why they are unable to comply with the federal guidelines.”
Many banks have been afraid to open checking or savings accounts for legalized marijuana businesses out of fear of breaking federal law. As a result these businesses are forced to deal with large amounts of cash potentially creating a public safety risk for the industry.
“Even though the federal government is OK with banks and credit unions taking cannabis business deposits, they are not doing it in New Mexico,” stated Len Goodman, the executive director of NewMexicann who received a letter from the State Employees Credit Union (SECU) dropping their account. “We will not know for a few days or weeks whether we can find a work around with other kinds of financial institutions or not. In the meantime starting this Wednesday, all transactions will be cash only.”
The licensed producers who have received letters are having trouble finding other financial institutions in the state willing to take their business.
William Ford, executive director of R. Greenleaf Organics also received a letter from SECU indicating their business account would be closed. Ford expressed his concern that while Wells Fargo does the banking for the New Mexico Department of Health and the state’s medical cannabis program, and undoubtedly makes a profit from that business, they are unwilling to do business with the producers. “A bank that does business with our state and profits from that business, should be expected to follow our state laws and provide services to all law abiding entities in the state. If they don’t agree with the laws of our state then they shouldn’t be our bank,” stated Ford.
Last February, in a joint statement, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, said the new guidelines give “greater financial transparency” to an industry that remains illegal in nearly every state. It also makes clear that banks would be helping law enforcement with “information that is particularly valuable” in filing regular reports that offer insights about how marijuana businesses work.
The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation’s leading organization of people who believe the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. DPA works for drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights.
New Michigan Marijuana Rules Being Debated Today
Category: News | Posted on Wed, October, 1st 2014 by THCFinder
A proposed set of rules altering the nature of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program (MMMP) will be considered by a Joint Committee today in Lansing.
The rules met stiff resistance from medical marijuana community members during a hearing on the proposed changes earlier this year. Members of Americans for Safe Access- Michigan, Cannabis Patients United, Michigan Moms United, The Michigan Cannabis Cancer Project, The Human Solution and others raised concerns regarding the proposed fee changes- and a first-in-the-nation all electronic registration process.
Current fees to enroll in the MMMP are $100 for two years and $25 for two years for people receiving federal assistance under the SSI program. The proposal would change the fee to $65 for two years for everyone, eliminating the discount for those financially disadvantaged ill and injured Michigan residents.
Also proposed: eliminating all paper records and creating an all-electronic database. All supporting documents- driver’s license, medical records- would have to be scanned into a computer and then transferred to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), the branch of government charged with the administration of the MMMP. Currently those records are photocopied and sent in via traditional mail delivery.
Activists complained that the most rural and most impoverished of the MMMP participants would find this standard a hardship. Others pointed out that LARA and their predecessor in controlling the MMMP, the Department of Community Health, had never competently managed to administer the issuance of cards and the conducting of background checks while using paper records. To entrust a totally new system to the people that couldn’t manage a paper records system that the state has been using for years seemed overly optimistic to the hearing participants.
Alaska In Shock After Reporters Resignation
Category: News | Posted on Tue, September, 30th 2014 by THCFinder
By now, most people have read the story of the Anchorage, Alaska reporter Charlo Greene. For those of you who haven't heard the story yet, you might want to log on to Instagram or Facebook every once in a great while. In case you've missed the hype, Greene managed to really get people talking by quitting her job on live television after declaring her love and support for the cannabis plant. She also revealed that she is the head of the Alaska Cannabis Club, a marijuana business located in Alaska. But last Sunday, Greene finally announced her role in the club and resigned from her reporting job on live TV in a way that some people think may have been a little over the edge.
While in the middle of the evening news, Greene stated, "Now everything you've heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana." Greene's next statement shocked everyone. "And as for this job, well, not that I have a choice but fuck it, I quit." The ballsy reporter then walked off the camera, which then is aimed at the main anchor, looking like someone had just spit in her morning coffee. After a brief but stunned silence, the anchor apologized for the clip and moved on with the news.
Now, if you've seen the movie Waiting, you'll understand the hilarity of what happened on the news stations Twitter/Facebook accounts. The station director, Bert Rudman, claimed that Greene had been "terminated for the use of inappropriate language". Unfortunately for Rudman, we all have seen the YouTube clip. She straight up quit. And much like the scene in Waiting, where Justin Long resigns from his job, the boss has to backpedal and try to make himself look like the good guy. "You didn't quit... You walked in and I fired you! You're fired! Get out of my sight!" We can only imagine that Greene's resignation was handled the same way.
When asked about the way she went out, Greene wasn't sorry for her choice of salty words but she did apologize to those who she may have offended. "I wanted to draw attention to the issue and the issue is medical marijuana. Ballot Measure 2 is a way to make medical marijuana real. Most patients didn't know the state didn't set up the framework to get patients their medicine."
While some people may think that the way Greene went about leaving was wrong, the internet shows very strong support of what she did. The world is a very unkind place and people are incredibly desensitized. Watching the news and hearing someone drop the F bomb will most certainly draw some attention. And Greene is absolutely getting that. The video has been liked, shared, and spread far across the vast internet universe and Greene is now said to be one of the marijuana heroes. She took a stand for something that she believed in and quit her job on live TV. Even if you don't support her language, you have to support the courage it takes to do something so incredibly brave. Charlo Greene, you are the real MVP.
Seattle's second marijuana retailer plans to open Tuesday!
Category: News | Posted on Fri, September, 26th 2014 by THCFinder
Finally! Seattle’s second I-502, legal marijuana retailer is getting ready to open at 23rd Ave. and E. Union St. in Seattle next week.
Ian Eisenberg, the owner of “Uncle Ike’s” at 2310 East Union St., confirmed today that his shop is licensed and while they have “a million things that have to all come together in the meantime” they’re planning on opening Tuesday.
And, well, that’s all we have for now. We’ll be talking with them next week and will fill in all the details then.
So, for now Seattle … You’ll soon have Uncle Ike’s to buy legal weed from in addition to Cannabis City. There are of course retailers in Bothell, Tacoma, Bellingham and more. Check out the gallery above for what’s open and where.
The revenue picture
Meanwhile, according to the latest published figures from the Liquor Control Board, legal weed in Washington has grossed more than $16 million with more than $4 million in taxes going to the state.
There are 233 growers licensed so far, exceeding the state’s goal of 2 million square feet of canopy. While there have been supply issues over the summer, most expect the legal cannabis market to have a solid supply chain — including infused products such as edibles, drinks and hash oils — by Thanksgiving.
The state’s goal for this first round of licenses is to capture roughly a quarter of the marijuana market. Seems we’re slowly but surely heading in that direction … though there’s plenty of black and grey market growers, sellers and buyers who insist the legal stores won’t knock them out of the market, especially Seattle’s essentially open market.
Marijuana Blamed For NASCAR Drivers Death
Category: News | Posted on Fri, September, 26th 2014 by THCFinder
A very tragic thing happened in NASCAR recently when driver Kevin Ward Jr. was killed after he was hit by a car driven by another driver, Tony Stewart. The facts are that Kevin Ward Jr. got out of his car in the middle of a race to confront Tony Stewart, and Tony Stewart’s car struck Kevin Ward Jr., killing him in the process. After an investigation was conducted, a grand jury decided to not press charges against Tony Stewart. Mainstream media, and the district attorney overseeing the investigation, used the tragedy as an opportunity to blame marijuana. Per USA Today:
Toxicology reports revealed Kevin Ward Jr., was under the influence of marijuana on the night he was struck and killed by a sprint car driven by Tony Stewart, Ontario County (N.Y.) District Attorney Michael Tantillo said Wednesday.
At a news conference to announce that a grand jury had declined to indict Stewart in Ward’s death, Tantillo said the level of marijuana in Ward’s system was high enough to impair judgment.
The exact level of marijuana in Ward’s system is not known, and never may be known. But regardless, I think it’s safe to say that marijuana was not to blame for this tragedy. I have consumed A LOT of marijuana in my time on this earth, and have been VERY high many, many times. However, not once have I jumped out in front of a car moving over 100 MPH in an aggressive fashion. According to reports, Tony Stewart revved his engine while other cars were breaking. But is he to blame? Of course not, because Mr. Ward had marijuana in his system, and despite no proof of when that marijuana entered his system, marijuana is to blame. What a sad, sad scenario on so many levels. My heart goes out to Kevin Ward Jr.’s family, who has to deal with the fact that their family member’s death is being ruled as being his own fault for consuming marijuana.
Seattle tosses out marijuana tickets
Category: News | Posted on Tue, September, 23rd 2014 by THCFinder
SEATTLE – The city has torn up nearly 90 citations given to people accused of publicly smoking marijuana after an investigation revealed a single cop wrote most of them.
Seattle officials on Monday dismissed the tickets over concerns Officer Randy Jokela was unfairly and arbitrarily targeting the homeless and African-Americans. On one of the tickets, Jokela wrote a note indicating he had flipped a coin about who to give the ticket to. Jokela was temporarily reassigned and faces an internal affairs investigation.
"The police do not write the laws. They enforce the laws," said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes. "You can't be a legislator out on the street."
Seattle has decriminalized simple marijuana possession, and the state of Washington permits both recreational and medical marijuana consumption and possession. Public consumption, however, remains illegal.
It's unclear, city officials said, whether Jokela was simply aggressively handing out legitimate tickets or if he was just making up the charges because he objected to the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana in Seattle. Jokela is accused of writing 80% of the marijuana tickets in the first six months of the year.
The city formally voided the 86 tickets on Monday morning.
Holmes, who backed the campaigns to decriminalize and then legalize marijuana, said Jokela's seemingly arbitrary approach to writing tickets was "abhorrent." He said social justice requires the law be applied evenly, and on Monday announced a new police policy aimed at educating users first before issuing them a ticket.
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