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.


Nevada Supreme Court Push to Settle Marijuana Distribution Battle

Nevada sign with marijuana leafThe legal battle over who can transport recreational marijuana to Nevada’s cannabis shops continues. Earlier last week, the Nevada Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction against the state’s newfound marijuana market; the state Department of Taxation is now unable to license marijuana businesses as distributors.

A request by the Tax Department for the temporary injunction sought by alcohol distributors was denied by the Supreme Court. The court also rejected the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada’s request to dismiss the case. So, the big question remains: will other businesses have just as much right to transport recreational weed to retail facilities as the alcohol trade?

The Nevada Supreme Court has placed this hold on distribution until it can hear oral argument from both sides. This hearing to settle who is allowed to distribute recreational cannabis is scheduled for the beginning of October 3 at Boyd School of Law at UNLV. This legal battle has been going on since June – when liquor distributors sued to stop the licensing of marijuana companies to do their own distribution – and neither group is showing signs of giving an inch.

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, “Alcohol distributors argue that they have the exclusive right under Question 2 to distribute recreational marijuana from grow facilities to retail establishments for 18 months. The Tax Department found that the liquor industry was unable to fulfill the distribution demands so it had to license other companies.”

This issue has already had negative effects on the marijuana merchants and the market as a whole. With all the legal snags, the state’s overall cannabis supply has suffered. So much so that Governor Brian Sandoval issued a Statement of Emergency over the summer to try and boost distribution of recreational marijuana to avoid people resorting to the black market.

Another huge issue merchants and medical marijuana businesses experience is finding payment processing solutions. Marijuana merchants in need of business funding and payment processing can find fast solutions with alternative lenders like Marijuana Merchant Account (MMA). Specializing in this industry, MMA can provide funds in as little as 24 hours. The “high risk” nature of the industry is not a problem.

The expectation is that this legal battle will be resolved by the end of this year, which will hopefully improve the atmosphere for all parties involved – including marijuana merchants.


Business vs. Public Health: Marijuana Merchants Have New Issues

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile the Feds, the state government, and opposing citizens are big issues for marijuana merchants, the California Marijuana Legalization Legislation may have inadvertently delivered a new issue for merchants to deal with: the balance of business versus public health. Apparently their promotions are for new business measure, without any effort to educate the public about marijuana. While this is something that should be corrected, it could lead to even bigger issues when marijuana merchants look for business funding.

A researcher at the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education concluded that “the Dept. of Consumer Affairs and dept. of Food and Agriculture showed more attention on collaborating with the marijuana industry and business development and paid less attention to the effects on public health or to controlling the growth of a large marijuana industry similar to the multinational tobacco industry”. Unlike other products, marijuana merchants are not experts on the substances that they are selling, and it is important that the state educate merchants and consumers. This issue could make it harder for local lenders who want to support marijuana businesses. Banks are usually the worst place to look for marijuana business funding, because banks are controlled by the Feds. The Feds consider marijuana in any amount to be illegal, even though twenty-two states have legalized it in some form. For many legal issues federal law trumps state and local law, so banks are hesitant to hand out loans.

Bank loans are always not the best idea for business funding because repayments are not merchant-friendly. With a bank loan, payments are due almost immediately, and even if your business fails, you must keep up payments, or risk forfeiting your collateral. This can quickly damage your business if you miss a payment, as well as your personal credit. Business funding is different. With business funding, the amount given is not a loan but rather an advance on your future sales. Payments are not taken in one large sum every month, but rather in a set percentage from your everyday sales. This helps you stay on top of your payments, and helps you avoid default on a hefty loan.

Contact us for Marijuana Business Funding today!


MMJ Delivery Service Companies Face New Tax Issues in California

ACH Marijuana Check ProcessingA new issue has recently come up for the California medical marijuana industry concerning delivery services. The dispensaries that use delivery services to transport cannabis to patients may face a new challenge on the tax front if they fail to use caution.

According to Jerome E. Horton, chairman of the state’s Board of Equalization, MMJ delivery fees are taxable in some cases. On the other hand, businesses could pay more in taxes than they owe if they do not realize that those particular delivery fees are not taxable. While the sales of cannabis are generally taxable under California law, delivery fees are not as long as certain conditions have been met.

For example, a dispensary must list the delivery fee separately on their invoice; this ensures that it can be independently verified. In addition, a third-party must be responsible for handling the delivery. The charge incurred cannot be more than what the dispensary actually paid the delivery service for the handling of that transaction.

If this is not documented and these conditions are not met, tax will apply to the seller’s entire delivery charge if it is made in connection with a taxable sale of cannabis products. In the event that this does occur – the fee exceeds the cost of the service to the dispensary – the difference between the price charged and the expense will be taxable.

Board of Equalization (BOE) Chairman Jerome E. Horton reveals that “As a seller of cannabis products, you must report your total sales on your sales and use tax return. If your total sales include nontaxable delivery charges, you should take a deduction for those amounts on the line for ‘Other’ deductions. If you don’t take the deduction, you’ll pay more tax than you owe”.

With investors warming to cannabis, many entrepreneurs are seeing dollar signs, and not just in the sale of cannabis itself. Eaze, a technology company that helps facilitate medical marijuana deliveries to patients, has raised $10 million in venture capital funding. This funding will allow the company to expand geographically while also improving its customer service.

Patients simply use their medical marijuana cards on the company’s websites, enter the strain, and the amount they wish to purchase. Eaze then contacts a dispensary, an independent driver is dispatched to deliver the marijuana and the delivery is made in 15 minutes or less. All of this occurs without Eaze ever physically coming into contact with the marijuana.

The creators of Eaze are not the only ones who have seen the possibilities in these types of services. Many entrepreneurs and investors are seeing the possibilities, but run into problems when trying to secure payment processing. Traditional banks are turning the medical cannabis industry away. And it goes without saying that cash is not a safe option.

Medical marijuana payment processing allows both retail and delivery dispensaries payment processing solutions. Patients will be able to pay with their credit card, debit card or savings account. With questions over regulations and taxes still popping up, medical marijuana payment processing offers a safe option for processing needs.

Contact us for ACH Check Processing solutions for your MMJ business.


Legalized Marijuana Helps All Industries – Including Real Estate

marijuana dispensary merchant accountMarijuana and real estate may seem like they do not go together, at least legally. When you think of the two words together, you may think of a big drug lord and his mega mansion. However, in today’s world legalized marijuana is quickly becoming a familiar feature, and this legality can help local real estate markets. It doesn’t help only because the proprietor is making big bucks, but it helps small downtown areas, and other commercial areas. This legalization has caused some to worry, but for areas who have legalized it, they are seeing the economic growth that it can bring.

One of the unknown or perhaps un-thought of, real estate issues that come with legalized marijuana is where it is grown. New York State, which has legalized medical marijuana, permits the marijuana to be grown in an enclosed greenhouse or warehouse. This brings the need for rentable space, or buyable space for those lucky ones who can afford to purchase property in New York. These are spaces that otherwise would be unoccupied, and thanks to the legalization of medical marijuana, they are now occupied, and the monies paid in rent is filtered back through the state’s economy. Other have found that hemp, a nationally legalized strain of cannabis, can be grown and used for other things. For instance, clothing, jewelry, and building materials. Hemp can be shipped around the globe, unlike it’s green cousin, and can be grown and processed (and used) without any odor.

While starting your own legalized marijuana business can bring you big bucks, it can also contribute to all aspects of your local economy. From providing jobs, to renting a retail space, to ordering takeout at local restaurants, the economic flow is endless. You need to make sure that you have your company in order, from employees down to marijuana merchant processing account, so that your business can fully contribute to your local economy. Not all areas are welcoming to the industry as soon as it is legalized, but after the local economy grows, they become friendlier to the new growth in the area.

For Marijuana Merchant Processing contact us today!


To Access Banking, Marijuana Merchants May Have to Build Community Relationships

STANLEY BROTHERS GROW FARMFor marijuana businesses that are looking for access to banking, the solution may be in building relationships with local banking institutions. Despite recent promises by the United States government not to interfere with the interactions between legal marijuana companies and banks, most financial institutions are still hesitant to work with them. This has made even the most successful marijuana merchants mostly cash enterprises. However, some marijuana merchants are gaining access to traditional merchant accounts through forging relationships throughout the community.

Cannabis companies like Mindful in Colorado, have acquired merchant accounts with banks by being active in the community. Mindful markets itself as a wellness centered business, and promotes the wellness benefits of Cannabis throughout the community. Mindful executives also familiarize themselves with zoning laws, and build relationships with local officials. A focus on the political aspects of the marijuana business is greasing the wheels for many marijuana businesses. Lobbying and educating legislators about the drug, is leading to proper and constructive regulation of marijuana is some parts of the U.S. This in turn lessens the threat posed by federal authorities on law-abiding cannabis operations.

This interaction with legislators may have worked. Last year, the U.S. Justice and Treasury departments issued guidance on how banks could legally interact with marijuana merchants, however some banks still feel like they have too much liability if things go wrong.

Banks aren’t the only ones who are nervous about doing business with marijuana merchants. Major credit-card companies are refusing to deal with them until more universal regulations are in place, and the threat of federal prosecution no longer looms over the industry.

As a result, many businesses keep large sums of cash on their premises, making them and their customers targets for robbery. Adding to the burden is the fact that businesses are penalized for paying taxes in cash, which cannabis companies must do.

Some marijuana merchants are turning to venture capitalists for funding, while others are masking their merchant accounts as health care companies in order to gain access to payment processing. MMA provides competent and comprehensive marijuana payment processing for entrepreneurs trying to increase the profits of their business. Contact us today to see how MMA account managers can give you access to the payment options you and your customers deserve.


Virginia Governer Legalizes Liquid Cannabidiol for Epilepsy Patients

State of Virginia map pinVirginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law a Virginia bill legalizing cannabidiol for patients suffering from severe epilepsy. Cannabidiol is a non-intoxicating form of cannabis that is used to combat certain mental disorders as well as physical conditions. Virginia is now the 12th state in the past year to legalize cannabidiol. Yet, critics of the bill claim that it’s essentially a paper dragon signing as cannabis production is not legal within the state.

Cannabidiol is non-psycho active meaning it does not intoxicate users to feel a high. Unlike THC, this means that users of canibidiol have minimal side effects making it a preferred option among healthcare providers. Cannabidiol does not interfere with mental facilities because it does not use the same pathways within the brain as THC. Cannabidiol even goes so far as to serve as a foil for the negative side effects of THC such as paranoia and and memory impairment.

Research studies on human subjects have been extremely limited with cannabidiol. To date, the overwhelming majority of clinical trials have been on animals. However, in those trials, cannabidiol has shown positive results in reducing nausea and vomiting as well as combating cancer tumors and cells making it a natural research choice for cancer research efforts. It also combats psychosis disorders, is an anti-convulsant, an anti-depressant, and effective against neurodegenerative disorders.

Organizations supporting legalization efforts around the nation decry the bill as useless as cannabis production is illegal in Virginia. Federal law prevents cannabis being transported across state lines meaning that while its use is legal in Virginia, in order to supply it federal law must be broken at some point along the way. This creates a highly risky environment for merchants in an already risky industry.  As it stands now, merchants have a hard enough time finding medical marijuana payment processing for their business much less dealing with Federal laws restricting their supply. The high risk nature of the industry creates complications not present in other industries that further impair the market’s development.

While the headline seems like a positive step, the reality is the lack of reconciliation between state law and Federal law make the signing a moot point. Legalization for cannabidiol is a positive step for medical marijuana patients, but access to cannabidiol remains a risky proposition. Thus, the Virginia Governor’s decision is not widely lauded as a major step forward for legalization efforts within Virginia.

For Marijuana Payment Processing contact us today!


Potential Bill Could Provide Big Opportunities for Marijuana Companies

medical marijuana payment processingA new measure introduced to Alaska’s state legislature could potentially create opportunities for expansion minded cannabis companies in other states. This measure would ban applicants seeking a recreational cannabis license from accepting third parties.

The result of this piece of legislature would give established companies the upper hand over the smaller startups and individual entrepreneurs. This ban will make it extremely difficult for these startups and entrepreneurs who would most likely have to be entirely self-funded.

According to California cannabis attorney, Ben Adams, “Everybody except corporations that are well-funded are going to be (out of luck), because either you have the money to do this on your own, or you’re prohibited from getting investors”.

In addition, it would be a very simple task for existing companies in other states to bypass the proposed one-year residency requirement for individuals seeking licenses. As of right now, the only requirement by the state of Alaska is that the agent be a state resident while also having and maintaining a registered office. This individual could be an attorney, accountant or even a secretary. In light of this, it would be easy for out-of-state, existing companies to sweep in and take over the market.

Another hit to startups and individual entrepreneurs is that there could be a potential plant-count limit for certain cultivation license categories. However, these regulations do not include a limit for major producers – another plus for the larger organizations.

This bill makes Alaska unique in comparison to other recreational marijuana states. It includes six different license types: home grower, producer, processor, retailer, broker and boutique producer. So far, the only license with plant count limits are the boutique permits and home grow permits. Boutique producer permits would experience a limit of 50 plants, while home grow permits would have a limit of six plants.

This bill has a long journey before it becomes a law. The first scheduled hearing before the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee was set for March 5th and can last until the 19th of April. It will take time to see what decisions will be and what the market dynamics in Alaska are going to look like, especially for startups and individual entrepreneurs.

For those interested in opening a business in the marijuana industry, it can be very difficult if not impossible to receive funding. Why? On the federal level, marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 substance. In light of this, traditional financial systems are hesitant or refuse to offer their services.

Fortunately, there are providers that specialize in offering high risk, marijuana merchant accounts to businesses in this situation. For example, is your online source for high risk merchant accounts, check processing and payment gateways. Take advantage of the simple application process and low rates.

Apply for a marijuana merchant account today!