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Minnesota to Legalize MMJ, Creating $10M-$20M Market

Posted on  June 26, 2014 by  News Admin

A compromise between lawmakers in Minnesota has paved the way for the state to legalize medical marijuana and set up a dispensary system. But there’s a big caveat: The state will outlaw smoking of the plant, which changes the nature of business opportunities in the state vs. more traditional MMJ  markets. The measure, which Gov. Mark Dayton said he would sign, allows patients to consume marijuana in oil, pill or vapor form. Infused products – which make up anywhere from 20% to 50% of sales at dispensaries in other states – will therefore dominate the market. The list of qualifying medical conditions is extremely limited and doesn’t include the catch-all ailment of chronic pain, so patient numbers will likely be small. Annual medical marijuana sales could come in between $10 million and $20 million initially, according to Marijuana Business Daily’s early estimates. The measure also allows for the creation of eight dispensaries statewide, which will be supplied by two manufacturing facilities. Lawmakers have not established a timeline for licensing these businesses. Under the program, patients will qualify if a doctor, a physician’s assistant or advanced-practice nurse prescribes medical marijuana. All employees at medical marijuana businesses will be required to undergo a background check. Patients who are found to be using cannabis for non-medical purposes will be removed from the program. The bill is a compromise between a more lenient Senate bill, which approved up to 55 dispensaries, and a more restrictive House bill that would have made the plant available...

US Treasury Dept. Defends Rules on Banking and Marijuana Sales

Posted on  April 30, 2014 by  News Admin

WASHINGTON, DC — Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Tuesday defended the Obama administration’s guidelines to banks conducting transactions with legal marijuana sellers as congressional Republicans questioned whether the guidance amounts to tacit federal approval of a drug illegal in most states. The Justice and Treasury departments issued a roadmap in February that would allow the new businesses to make payroll, save money and pay taxes, a move that enables the legalized marijuana industry to operate in Colorado and Washington state. In 2012, the two states became the first to approve recreational use of marijuana. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, challenged Lew at a hearing, questioning whether guidance to banks on doing business with legal marijuana sellers represents a “rubber-stamp” by the federal government for a predominantly illegal activity. “Without any guidance, there would be a proliferation of cash-only businesses, and that would make it impossible to see when there are actions going on that violate both federal and state law and that … would be a real concern,” Lew told the House subcommittee on financial services. “We thought that the clarity, bringing it into daylight, was a better solution.” Ideally, Lew said, Congress would write a law to establish a policy. In its absence, the administration issued the guidelines that banks must review state license applications for marijuana customers, request information about the business, develop an understanding of the types of products to be sold and monitor publicly available sources for any negative information about...

Banks Get Guidance On Legalized Marijuana BusinessesOpeni

Posted on  April 30, 2014 by  News Admin

The Obama administration issued new rules today intended to ease the concerns of banks wanting to deal with businesses that legally sell marijuana. The rules, issued by the Treasury and Justice Departments, are intended to "move from the shadows the historically covert financial operations of marijuana businesses," said Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.Under the new regulations, banks wishing to do business with marijuana dealers must verify that they are properly licensed and must gather information about the types of products they sell and the nature of the customers they serve. Banks must also be alert for any signs that the dealers are engaged in improper transactions.Current rules require banks to notify federal regulators of suspicious activity by their customers, which currently would include any marijuana dealer because of the prohibitions under federal law. Under the new rules, the notices will still be required, but banks that believe a marijuana dealer is reputable will file a "marijuana limited" report. If a bank believes a dealer is not behaving under guidelines, the bank should file a "marijuana priority" report, which could be based on such factors as greater revenue than local competitors or an inability to demonstrate that revenue is derived exclusively from legal sales. The Obama administration issued new rules today intended to ease the concerns of banks wanting to deal with businesses that legally sell marijuana. The rules, issued by the Treasury and Justice Departments, are intended to "move from the shadows the historically covert...