Lawmakers Advocate Marijuana Banking Protocol Reforms

marijuana-money-profits-earnings-medical-marijuana-projectCash is King, but having a multibillion-dollar industry rely entirely on it can be a struggle! The whistleblower, Senator Cory Booker pointed out an issue that lawmakers must mull over. He says businesses, even those that sell medical cannabis cannot obtain bank accounts, access funds or issue payroll – even in a place like New Jersey, where medical marijuana has been legal for almost a decade (since 2010).  All these because marijuana is still classified as Schedule I under federal law.

“People are literally sitting on thousands of dollars in cash because no banks will open doors for them. They are settling invoices, buying equipment and paying employees in cash, which is a very dangerous system,” Booker said.

Advocating for the same, Sen. Bob Menendez says it is better to have a “legal, transparent process” than a practice where cash rules the day because the money is unbankable due to pre-set banking laws.

The two New Jersey Democrat senators spoke at a seminar courtesy of NJ Spotlight in Pennington.

Booker is backing the Marijuana Justice Act, which advocates legalization weed and obliteration of possession criminal records while Menendez’s bill looks to lay down marijuana banking procedures.

Sen. Menendez condemned U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a pro-anti-marijuana activist a who at one time said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Sessions has so far fought against legalization and any related efforts, even managing to reverse the 2013 Obama administration memo that begged for restraints on prosecution.

But marijuana banking activists and lawmakers still stand their ground.

“The Justice Department should now allow states that have decriminalized marijuana either for recreational or medical uses to operate,” Menendez said.

The Health Commissioner for New Jersey, Shereef Elnahal agreed that amending marijuana banking laws will broaden the marijuana marketplace, more so if New Jersey decriminalizes recreational cannabis.

“Obtaining capital is a major challenge for the medical cannabis dispensaries, and the existing laws only benefit the big players. So such reforms will diversify the market ensuring local entrepreneurs get support as well,” said the Health Commissioner.

The group declared to go up against Trump administration attempts to “weaken the Affordable Care Act.” The bill could be a bone of contention in the oncoming New Jersey congressional campaigns.

Elnahal announced that New Jersey would publicize the individual market and erect a command center to assertively advertise the next Obamacare enrollment period notwithstanding federal funding cutbacks to healthcare providers.


Marijuana Making Millions for Entrepreneurs in Colorado

Cannabis leaf scattered on the dollars. Seamless imageThe Marijuana industry is performing beyond everybody’s expectations.  Some have even labeled the cannabis business the “second gold rush” after discovering a few marijuana-made millionaires. Colorado boasts of a few entrepreneurs who can be said to have reached the top of the business ladder, some even featuring in one of the weekly editions of the People’s Magazine under a title “Colorado Marijuana Millionaires.”

This remarkable performance continues amid pressure from concerned parents and leaders to ensure minors do not use cannabis or related products. Tripp Keber is one of the Colorado marijuana millionaires and the CEO of Denver-based Dixie Elixirs. He specializes in manufacturing different types of cannabis edibles.

In an Interview with FOX 31, Keber discloses that one of the challenges he faces is branding and packaging. Remember, the law requires that these products must be packaged and labeled in a way that boldly shows that they are to be used by adults only.

The People’s Magazine featured Keber, along with two other women, an act that the former termed as an honor given the tainted reputation of the cannabis sector. Moreover, seeing women making millions out of a product with a questionable reputation is a sign we should change our outlook on Cannabis.

Dixie Elixir has been selling cannabis edibles in Colorado for some time now. Tripp Keber says he shifted focus to edibles in a bid to reach out to all demographics. At the top of the business’s priority is providing safe recreational as well as medical cannabis to those in need in the safest and most consumable way possible.

According to Tripp, he owes much of his success to the good name he has earned from maintaining different state and federal standards on safety as well as any other matters related to the business. While it took him years to meet these standards, Tripp has managed to sell Dixie Elixirs to all of Colorado, and the brand has become quite common on local TV.

The marijuana millionaire also encourages young entrepreneurs in Colorado looking to try out the cannabis sector to take advantage of the new accommodating rules and regulations.

Wrap Up

The primary requirement for getting a license for your cannabis business in Colorado is residing in the state for not less than two years. Perhaps that’s the first challenge you’ll encounter; getting a Marijuana POB account may not be a hassle. And the rest of the setbacks may kick in later as you familiarize with the industry.


New Bill Seeks to Bring Recreational Marijuana to New Jersey

medical marijuana payment processingEarly this month, President Donald Trump shared that he was leaning towards supporting new bipartisan marijuana legislation – delivering a blow to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been an outspoken opponent of marijuana. He lifted an Obama administration policy and freed federal prosecution to more aggressively pursue cases in states where marijuana has been legalized.

When addressing the media at the White House just before departing for the G-7 summit, the president said he would “probably end up supporting” the recent bill being circulated through the Senate by Gardner and Warren.

“I really do. I support Senator Garner,” Trump said. “I know exactly what he’s doing, we’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.”

While this piece of legislation would not legalize marijuana, it would ease the federal ban on marijuana. At the moment, the marijuana industry is struggling to grow under a two-tiered enforcement system at the state and federal levels. If this proposal is successful, it would leave it up to each individual state to decide what the best approach to marijuana is within their state.

Don Murphy, conservative outreach director of the Marijuana Policy Projected, has called the bill the “most significant piece of marijuana-related legislation ever introduced in Congress.”

For consumers and merchants, this legislation would protect the individuals who choose to use or sell cannabis (as long as they are following state local laws). For example, the bill would amend portions of the Controlled Substances Act, ensuring that buying or selling cannabis would not be considered drug trafficking. Even so, some federal restrictions will remain (e.g. sales of non-medical marijuana to individuals under 21).

The Impact of New Legislation on Marijuana Merchants

Besides the ease in federal restrictions, how will President Trump’s support impact marijuana businesses? At the moment, marijuana companies are forced to operate in cash-only. They struggle to secure loans and merchant accounts from banks. The changes this bill would lead to would allow banks and financial institutions – currently fearful of federal prosecution – to freely work with any marijuana merchant adhering to state laws.

In the meantime, the marijuana industry continues to rely on high-risk providers like Marijuana Merchant Account. Your cannabis company can take advantage of a full suite of payment solutions that work for your business. These merchant services allow you to accept all card types for a convenient customer experience and utilize recurring payments for discount payments and memberships. ECheck processing also allows you to accept electronic checks over the phone or internet.

If you need secure payment processing, consider the many benefits of working with Marijuana Merchant Account. Your account can be setup in as little as 24 hours.


Canada Becomes Second Country to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Payment ProcessingCanada has just become the second country to permit widespread sales and use of cannabis. Legislation approved early this month pushed the country one step closer to making it a reality. Just days ago, on June 19, Canadian lawmakers announced that they had approved landmark legislation to fully legalize marijuana.

In a session that lasted six hours on June 7, the Senate voted 56 to 30 – with just one abstention – in favor of a version of the bill that includes several dozen amendments. One of those amendments would be laying down stricter rules for advertising for cannabis businesses. The new law, which is being called a ‘historic’ piece of legislation, will come into effect on October 17 this year.

In approving the bill, Canadian senators acknowledge that the country will face many new obstacles. For example, the nation will face international scrutiny. Specifically, over whether this new law puts Canada in violation of U.N. anti-drug treaties. The Canadian government will also have to inform its citizens that admitting to marijuana use could create problems when crossing the U.S. border (or prevent them from entering altogether). According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug with “no currently accepted use and a high potential for abuse.”

If all goes as expected, the Canadian government plans to launch legal sales in just a couple of months. In comparison, the approach and acceptance of legalization in the U.S. is very different from the experience thus far in Canada.

In the U.S., just 9 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis. As mentioned, cannabis is still very much illegal at the federal level. Marijuana merchants find themselves caught between the state and the federal government. Trying to operate smoothly and accept any payment besides cash is a real challenge for U.S. merchants, since banks shy away from the industry for fear of federal prosecution.

Medical marijuana in Canada, on the other hand, has been legal since 2001. In addition, recent estimates have set recreational marijuana sales in Canada as high as $3.3 billion by 2027; this is mainly due to the fact that businesses in Canada will be able to work nationally, unlike the cannabis firms in the U.S.

While there has been hints of change coming in the U.S., thanks to new legislation moving through Congress thanks to Sen. Gardner and Sen. Warren, marijuana businesses are still struggling to find the business solutions they need. Without a secure merchant account, they are unable to accept anything but cash from their customers, impractical not to mention completely unsafe.

To provide a solution to this every-growing problem, Marijuana Merchant Account offers wide variety of merchant services, including: payment processing solutions, ECheck services, business funding options and more. If your cannabis firm needs safe and convenient payment processing, contact the experts at MMA for more information on how to get started.


The Rise of Legal Marijuana Forces a Shift from “Say No” to “Delay”

Marijuana POBIn California, the year kicked off with long queues of eager customers waiting in the dark; outside medical cannabis dispensaries for their “budtenders” to open doors and allow them to start shopping when the clock ticks midnight.

And this year, the effect has gone far beyond the marijuana cash register. We have all come across the ads or heard the rumor— even minors have, yet the drug remains illegal for under 21s.

“As you leave SFO [San Francisco] airport, you see prominent billboards for Eaze [a surfacing weed delivery service] with the message ‘Marijuana is here,’” says Danielle Ramo, an Adolescent Drug Use psychologist from the University of California-San Francisco. “Did parents expect to see so many images of weed all over?”

With the surfacing of legal recreational cannabis imminent in more American states, drug prevention education has evolved significantly with most schools dropping the archaic “Just Say No” slogan for an approach that may be more effective for a Marijuana POB era where weed is readily accessible. This new strategy emphasizes decision-making and critical thinking rather than insisting on abstinence.

One tactic they are adopting is the Being Adept curriculum. It is a proof-based course that has been in use by over 20 schools in San Francisco. This method along with other new-era drug education skills is based on decades of painstaking effectiveness research and current teaching practices.

The egg in a frying pan advert accompanied with the words “This is your brain on drugs,“ is no longer useful in drug education campaigns.

According to Ramo, “These are scare tactics are no longer effective. Today, school-based prevention is taking a very different mindset.”

In other words, more focus is now on facts, and not fear. What’s more, educators have realized that the conspicuously simplistic slogans like “Just say no” are no longer efficient. It is no wonder teachers are now urging students to check up data, contemplate on motives, talk about risks and think about on their goals and values.

The bottom line

Teachers are now expected to give engaging illustrations of the perceived dangerous effects of the drugs on the body while encouraging participation and allowing facts to unfold to the students. This means you are not merely going to tell the adolescent that his or her brain will resemble a frying egg when on drugs but you will give a demonstration of what takes place in the brain when someone is on drugs.


Debate to Make New Jersey Cannabis Legal Continues

legalmarijuananowlogoThe beginning of March, close to 150 people squeezed into a meeting room at the Statehouse in Trenton. The state of New Jersey then officially opened the conversation on marijuana legalization. The feelings on the topic were very divided. More than a dozen advocates and lobbyists spoke in favor of legal marijuana, while many others shared their reasons why recreational cannabis should not be allowed in New Jersey. As the meeting went on, six common themes emerged:

1.      All eyes are on N.J. – People traveled from far and wide to be apart of this hearing. Why? After all, the meeting was not geared toward any specific piece of legislation. Bill Caruso, an attorney with Archer Law in N.J. and a pro-marijuana lobbyist, explained. “Jersey sits in the middle of phenomenal wealth, phenomenal population centers and phenomenal transportation systems,” Caruso said, referring to the potential of a New Jersey marijuana industry.

2.      Data collection is paramount – Pro-legal weed lawmaker from Colorado, Pabon, shared the damage the lack of marijuana-related data has caused in his state. Even the president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (an organization opposed to recreational cannabis) agreed that there is simply not enough data available to determine the success of states that have legalized cannabis.

3.      There is much money to be made – Every marijuana legalization discussion turns to money at some point; New Jersey was no exception. The estimate is that New Jersey’s recreational marijuana industry would be worth about $1 billion per year. The recreational cannabis industry in the U.S. is worth $10 billion, which would increase if N.J. legalizes.

4.      N.J. has the potential to be the new industry leader – Considering New Jersey’s history in the pharmaceutical industry, the state could very easily become the new cannabis industry leader, surpassing Colorado.

5.      The black market is a very real problem – Those who oppose legalization, like Las Vegas police officer Todd Raybuck, say that there has been a significant increase in black market marijuana. Raybuck says that since Nevada’s recreational marijuana market went live in summer 2017, there has been a significant spike.

6.      This is just the beginning – Assemblyman Joe Danielsen, D-Somerset, announced that there would be three more hearings over the coming weeks throughout the state to continue to discuss the issue.

For now, the legalization of New Jersey marijuana is still up in the air. Although the recreational marijuana bills have been introduced in both the Assembly and the Senate, actions on the bills in either house are expected to be on hold. They await the review of the state’s medical marijuana program, as ordered by Gov. Phil Murphy.

Do you need merchant services for your cannabis business? The team at Marijuana Merchant Account can help you find the merchant account and payment processing solutions that are right for your business and have your account setup in as little as 24 hours.


California Puts Study of a Public Bank for Marijuana Industry in Motion

hawaii-marijuanaCalifornia has successfully circumvented federal law and created a state-held bank with the purpose of serving the marijuana industry. While many are excited that these plans have moved from words to actions, others are questioning how viable it is. This has led state Treasurer John Chiang and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to launch a new feasibility study. Chiang’s department will be focusing on the financial and operational issues, while Becerra is examining the legal.

At a recent news conference, Chiang voiced caution about the idea of a public bank, comparing it to – of all things – a potato chip: “Today we are taking the next steps in determining the practical considerations that could lead to the creation of a public bank. Is there a solution there? Maybe. Or is it like a potato chip? It tastes good going down but is ultimately of no nutritional value.”

The need for a public bank for the marijuana industry is not new one. Medical marijuana has been available in California since the mid-1990s. It is the recent boom in growth and acceptance that has more and more people jumping onboard with the public bank idea. As of now, legal cannabis business owners are forced to deal in cash only. Obviously, incredibly inconvenient and unsafe.

Why does a multi-billion-dollar industry find itself in this position? As of now, marijuana is still categorized as a Schedule I illegal drug at the federal level. Fearing entanglement in federal law, banks will simply not extend their services to marijuana merchants. This leaves businesses with a number of major problems. They are not only unable to process customers’ credit and debit card transactions (no merchant account), but they also deal with security issues dealing in cash only and having shocking amounts of cash on hand. They also face potential penalties for paying state taxes and fees in cash.