Marijuana CEOs Face Invalidation of Contracts Until Congress Acts

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — When Rent Rite Super Kegs West Limited filed for bankruptcy in Denver in 2012, the supplier of production materials and nutrients was denied protection by Federal Judge Howard Tallman because it was a marijuana-related business. “Federal law trumps state law,” said Bob Hoban, a cannabis attorney in Denver. “In any federal court, involving marijuana, the judge is bound to invalidate contracts or the party’s right to bankruptcy protection, because marijuana is still federally illegal.” Without bankruptcy protection, marijuana businesses are not allowed to dissolve or disappear without paying back debt obligations and instead face debt collection by judgment enforcement, which includes placing liens on real estate, garnishing wages, seizing property and freezing bank accounts. “It indicates that federal courts believe they are bound to strictly apply federal law to the detriment of marijuana businesses unless and until Congress acts or a federal appellate court finds that state

Feds Propose Taxing Marijuana, True Cash Crop

With all the upheaval in Washington, it isn’t likely that federal proposals to tax marijuana will pass anytime soon. Yet as Professor Paul Caron catalogs, economists are looking anew at the proposed Marijuana Tax Equity Act (H.R. 501). It would end the federal prohibition on marijuana and allow it to be taxed. Growers, sellers and users would not to fear violating federal law. But dealing with taxes would be another story. The bill would impose an excise tax of 50% on cannabis sales and an annual occupational tax on workers in the growing field of legal marijuana. Is that a good trade-off? Federal Proposals to Tax Marijuana: An Economic Analysis by Jane G. Gravelle & Sean Lowry focuses on potential federal marijuana taxes. The authors present justifications for taxes and they estimate levels of tax. They consider possible marijuana tax designs, as well as tax administration and enforcement issues such as labeling and tracking. Of course, statistics can be

Lawmakers block D.C.’s marijuana legalization

A plan to regulate and tax marijuana in the District fell victim on Tuesday to federal budget negotiators, who inserted an amendment into a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill that effectively overturns a voter-approved initiative legalizing recreational use of the drug in the District. But the measure appeared to go much further, also rolling back a law approved by the council this year eliminating criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The “rider,” which Republicans had indicated they would attach to the spending bill, prohibits federal and local funds from being used to “enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance.” It is similar to language first introduced in an amendment to a spending bill earlier this year by Rep. Andy Harris, Maryland Republican, who has publicly opposed loosening

Happy 710 Meaning: Twitter Trends ‘Dab Day’ On ‘New Stoner Holiday’


On July 10 — aka 7/10, 7:10, or 710 — “Happy 710” trended on Twitter when users began discussing the new, informal annual marijuana-related holiday en masse. The holiday was created to recognize the popularity of “dabs,” the slang term for high-THC concentrates and oils, according to High Times. So where does the name 710 come from? It’s not like 4/20, which has a few different rumored explanations, including one involving a police radio code. Instead, it’s something much more simple: “710” upside down spells “OIL.” Thus, a number of marijuana aficionados are saying that July 10 should be honored as “Dab Day,” the day each year when THC-laden oils and concentrates should get their due while getting their users stoned. Pot oil extraction is the process by which concentrated cannabis oil is removed from marijuana. This is usually done by forcing butane through the cannabis in a pressurized tube, a police official told

Berkeley Dispensaries Must Give Free Weed to Low-Income Patients


In a landmark decision to serve the underprivileged of the East Bay, the Berkeley City Council UNANIMOUSLY voted last week to provide small amounts of free medical marijuana to low-income and homeless patients. Whoa. According to the new ordinance, dispensaries in the area must give away weed equal to at least 2 percent of their sales to the appropriate demographic—defined as half the area’s median annual income: $32,000 or less for an individual and $46,000 for a family of four. “It’s an equity issue,” council member Darryl Moore explained to Reuters. “We want to ensure that those who are in need have access to the medication necessary to treat their condition.” Plus, the freebies can’t be schwag weed. The law includes a clause that the “medical cannabis provided under this section shall be the same quality on average as marijuana dispensed to other members.” But don’t think you can just walk

Colorado law sets up world’s first marijuana banks


DENVER — Seeking to move marijuana businesses away from cash-only operations, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed legislation Friday that tries to establish the world’s first financial system for the newly legal industry in Colorado. + caption The legislation seeks to form a network of uninsured cooperatives designed to give pot businesses a way to access basic banking services like checking. But approval from the Federal Reserve remains a hurdle. Out of fear of violating federal law, banks don’t work with marijuana businesses. That has led to concerns that the burgeoning marijuana industry could be a target for robberies. Mike Elliott, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, said a member of his organization was robbed a few days ago. The cash-only model has become stressful for businesses and their employees, he said. “We don’t a need a vault. What we need is checking,” he said. “We’re looking for a way to

Legal Marijuana Triggers Unexpected Windfall

When marijuana was illegal across the entire United States, the pot business in Mexico was fantastically profitable. It brought a ton of American dollars into the country for nearly five decades. Now that growing cannabis is legal in parts of the United States, however – and consumers can now simply visit a local dispensary to purchase home-grown marijuana – the impact on Mexico has been devastating. Before, a farmer working for the cartels in Mexico used to be able to command $100 a kilo for quality marijuana. Today, the price has crashed to $25 a kilo. It’s simple supply and demand at work. But legalization isn’t just affecting farmers. It’s taking a massive bite out of crime – both in Mexico, and in the United States. The No. 1 Crime-Fighting Strategy Since states like Colorado and Washington are seeing the positive effects of legalization, we can only expect other states to follow

No industrial hemp in Nebraska this year


Legislators earlier this year passed a bill allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp for research, but Nebraska’s nickname as the Cornhusker State is safe for the time being, as state officials work on regulations that will allow the fibrous plant to make the leap from weed to crop. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture — which LB1001 tasked with adopting rules and regulations for growing hemp — is researching the plant and programs in other states, but it won’t have a framework in time for planting this spring. “There will be no hemp research projects initiated under a program this year,” Ag Department spokeswoman Christin Kamm said in an email. Kamm did not respond to questions about a timeline for getting rules in place or when the first crop might be planted. Nebraska’s legislation, passed with overwhelming support on a 39-2 vote, will allow the University of Nebraska and the Ag Department to

Uruguay’s José Mujica: the ‘humble’ leader with grand ideas

Jose Mujica

For many years he would go to bed early listening to what ants whispered in his ear. Sometimes he would chat with a frog or two, maybe share a hunk of bread with some rats. José Mujica, aka Pépé, is a survivor from a world he himself wiped off the map. A former leader of the Marxist Tupamaros, the country’s main guerrilla group, he spent 13 years in prison under the military dictatorship in Uruguay, which held power from 1973 to 1985. Then he turned over a new leaf and devoted his efforts to restoring democracy. In November 2009 he was elected president, polling 53% of the vote. “Locked up, I almost went mad,” he says. “Now I’m a prisoner of my own freedom to think and decide as I wish. I cultivate that freedom and fight for it. I may make mistakes, some huge, but one of my few virtues is I

Colorado’s unregulated marijuana grow sites persist despite legal green rush

A short drive from the “green rush” of Denver’s legal marijuana boom, national forest police have been staking out a suspected cannabis plantation hidden deep in the woods that is anything but legitimate. Using aerial reconnaissance and tracking devices attached to resupply trucks, federal special agents were trying to locate the latest gang of armed drug traffickers responsible for more than 100,000 plants discovered growing in national forests since Colorado first began its limited commercial decriminalisation experiment five years ago. The full legalisation of retail marijuana suppliers and growers, which came into effect in January, might have been expected to mark the end of the matter as far as Colorado’s law enforcement authorities were concerned. But the persistence of unregulated grow sites on federal land is just one of many legal tensions exacerbated by the decision of states like Colorado and Washington to jump so far ahead of US national

The Clock Is Winding Down On Medical Marijuana For Kids In Illinois

Children suffering from epilepsy would be eligible to use a form of medical marijuana under a measure that gained bipartisan approval in the Illinois House this week. Legislation allowing minors with epilepsy to use cannabidiol, a cannabis derivative,passed 98-18 on Wednesday with support from several Republican lawmakers who had previously opposed the law, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Support for legalizing cannabidiol, or CBD oil, is spreading in the U.S. — even in traditionally conservative states. Florida and South Carolina are considering legislation on CBD oil, already legal for patients with some conditions in Colorado, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. Meanwhile, the clock is winding down on the Illinois General Assembly’s spring session, with little more than a week left for the state Senate to approve the bill. “It’s crucial that the Illinois Senate passes the measure quickly,” Nicole Gross, one of the Illinois parents of children who have epilepsy who lobbied for the bill, told The

Are your kids dabbing?


Adults don’t know about it, but kids do. We learned about it from kids on the street. It’s called “dab.” “‘Dab’ is marijuana cooked down into a highly concentrated paste,” said Det. Larry McKinnon of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. ‘Dab’, also know as BHO or Butane Hash Oil, was popular in the 70s, but it’s making a comeback — and more potent than ever. “It’s big out West. We haven’t had a problem with it here yet, but we are anticipating it. Whatever starts out there, eventually comes here,” said McKinnon. Children can easily get information about it. All they need to do is push a button on their smartphones. “Everyone has heard of Instagram. Just enter #DAB and immediately, more than 400,000 pictures come up,” said McKinnon. Part of the danger of ‘dab’ is in its production. Highly volatile chemicals are used, and amatuer scientists are blowing themselves

Uruguay Understands You Can’t Tax Legal Weed If You Want to Undercut Black Market

Uruguay is the first nation in the world that’s embarked on the project of legalized and regulated marijuana. In many respects, Uruguay’s legal marijuana market is more tightly controlled than those emerging in Colorado and Washington. The government, for example, will be a primary distributor of the product, and all users will have to register with it. But Uruguay’s government has had a moment of clarity, at least, on the counterproductivity of taxes. Via Reuters: Uruguay will exempt marijuana production and sales from taxes in a bid to ensure prices remain low enough to undercut competition from black market pot smuggled in from Paraguay, according to consultants advising the government on a legalization plan… “The principal objective is not tax collection. Everything has to be geared toward undercutting the black market,” said Felix Abadi, a contractor who is developing Uruguay’s marijuana tax structure. “So we have to make sure the price is low.”

Controversial Weed Growing iOS Game Pulled from App Store


A new iOS game called “Weed Firm” has been pulled out from the App Store for containing controversial content, reports App Advice. The game enjoyed top ranking on the Top Free iPhone Apps chart on Tuesday just before being removed from the App Store. Industry observers are now wondering how the game, with its controversial content, was approved by Apple in the first place. Apple had recently booted out games with similar content, such as “Go Kane!” when it first appeared on the App Store. According toPocket Gamer, Apple claimed the game broke one of its rules. “Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users. It is the developer’s obligation to understand and conform to all local laws,” Apple’s policy read. The game “Weed Firm” lets players grow and trade cannabis products as a virtual business. The player is put in charge of

U.S. Says Legal Marijuana Growers Can’t Use Federal Irrigation Water

Marijuana growers operating legally in Colorado and Washington state took another hit from the federal government on Tuesday when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that pot growers are (still) not allowed to use federal irrigation waters. Since 1902, the bureau has been charged with maintaining dams, power plants and canals in the 17 “western states” — from North Dakota, Nebraska and Texas to Washington, Oregon and California. As such, the agency also provides irrigation for millions of acres of agriculture in Washington and Colorado, the two states that recently made recreational marijuana legal for adults. AP Mike Corral cuts branches from a marijuana plant as he prepares a harvest in Davenport, Calif. But the bureau wants weed growers to know that, at least at the federal level, the times they aren’t a-changing. So, on Tuesday it reclarified a law that has been in place for decades.  

The President Forgets To Lie About Marijuana, And Prohibitionists Are Outraged

Prohibitionists were outraged by President Obama’s recent observation that marijuana is safer than alcohol—not because it is not true but because it contradicts the central myth underlying public support for the war on drugs. According to that myth, certain psychoactive substances are so dangerous that they cannot be tolerated, and the government has scientifically identified them. In reality, the distinctions drawn by our drug laws are arbitrary, and marijuana is the clearest illustration of that fact. “As has been well documented,” Obama toldThe New Yorker’s David Remnick in an interview published on Sunday, “I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.” When Remnick pressed him to say whether marijuana is

Marijuana-friendly real estate agents and other enterprising businesspeople looking to make a bundle from Colorado’s weed industry.

Real estate agent Rona Hanson walks around a suburban home west of Denver that was recently put on the market by another realtor, liking what she sees. The 3,000-square-foot midcentury brick bungalow is in fine shape, with a picturesque horse farm across the street and front-porch views of the snow-topped Colorado foothills. But what most excites Hanson about it, why she’s eager to show it to her clients, is the 50-square-foot bedroom in the far corner of the basement, a bland space with small windows near the ceiling and a basic attached bathroom. Not your typical selling point for a house, but to Hanson, it’s perfect—a perfect grow room for a dozen recreational marijuana plants, the maximum Colorado residents are now allowed to cultivate per household. The room offers high enough ceilings to accommodate grow lights, has easy access to water and drainage via the bathroom, and the small windows

Eric Holder Just Announced A Major Shift On U.S. Marijuana Policy

Jan 23 (Reuters) – U.S. treasury and law enforcement agencies will soon issue regulations opening banking services to state-sanctioned marijuana businesses even though cannabis remains classified an illegal narcotic under federal law, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday. Holder said the new rules would address problems faced by newly licensed recreational pot retailers in Colorado, and medical marijuana dispensaries in other states, in operating on a cash-only basis, without access to banking services or credit. Proprietors of state-licensed marijuana distributors in Colorado and elsewhere have complained of having to purchase inventory, pay employees and conduct sales entirely in cash, requiring elaborate and expensive security measures and putting them at a high risk of robbery. It also makes accounting for state sales tax-collection purposes difficult. “You don’t want just huge amounts of cash in these places,” Holder told the audience at the University of Virginia. “They want to be able

Managing marijuana in Uruguay

After recently legalising pot, officials now must pick the kind, who will grow it, the price and much more. Montevideo, Uruguay – Uruguay, about to become the first country in the world where the state will fully regulate production, sale and distribution of marijuana, will spend the next few months selecting a good quality strain of the crop that can be sold at a price similar to current illegal prices. Uruguayan President José Mujica signed law 19.172 on the regulation of marijuana on December 23. But it won’t go into effect until April, 120 days after it was approved by Congress and once the government has established specific regulations for the new legislation. Since the 1970s, consumption and possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use have not been penalised in this South American country of 3.3 million people sandwiched between Argentina and Brazil. But cultivation, sale and distribution of the

Marijuana advocates lay groundwork for legalization in Mass.

Advocates of marijuana legalization, emboldened by successes with ballot questions in Colorado and Washington state, are laying the groundwork for such a battle in Massachusetts in the next presidential election year. “In 2016, Massachusetts will find itself in the crosshairs for cannabis reform,” said Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of NORML, a national group that favors the legalization of marijuana. Massachusetts voters passed measures that decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug in 2008 and allowed its use for medical purposes in 2012 — both with more than 63 percent support. Buoyed by such results, advocates have launched a similar effort to both get a question calling for the drug’s legalization for adults on the 2016 ballot and to raise enough money for victory. But some critics and lawmakers caution that passage is far from guaranteed. Despite its liberal reputation, Massachusetts has a strong traditional strain that will