U.S. Territory Could Make History in Legal Marijuana Industry

hawaii-marijuanaIt isn’t just U.S. states that are ready to jump on board – if they haven’t already – with legalizing marijuana. Legislators in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a U.S. territory, recently approved a bill to legalize marijuana.

By a margin of 18-1, with just one abstention, the CNMI House of Representatives passed the legislation. This piece of legislation seeks to end cannabis prohibition for adults over 21 and creates a system of taxed and regulated sales. It would also welcome medical marijuana and industrial hemp.

This is not the first time that the territory pushed for legalization. In May, the Senate approved a similar marijuana legalization bill. The proposal initially cleared a committee in the House, but its advancement was later halted in response to procedural concerns. It was said that revenue-generating legislation must originate in the House.

As a result, House lawmakers made a few changes to the Senate bill and filed a new proposal of their own. This piece of legislation then won approval by the full chamber.

“The people of the CNMI recognize that the prohibition of marijuana has been terribly misguided and harmful, and our leaders are in touch with the public’s sentiment on this issue,” Lawrence Duponcheel of Sensible CNMI said in a statement.

“Today, members of the CNMI House of Representatives showed their commitment to honoring the will of the people.”

If this bill is successfully enacted, CNMI will become the first U.S. jurisdiction to go directly from outlawing marijuana across the board to allowing recreational use. This is very unique, considering that the territory has no existing medical cannabis program; this is something that has been a precursor to broader legalization in a growing number of states.

It will also be an important milestone because it would make CNMI the first to legalize a system of regulated cannabis production and sales through an act of lawmakers, rather than a ballot measure. (Vermont passed a law earlier this year to legalize marijuana possession and home cultivation, however, the policy does not allow for any form of cannabis commerce.)

Justin Strekal, political director for NORML, commented on marijuana reform’s growing popularity with voters in an interview, saying that “The lawmakers and people of CNMI are on track to make history, and more U.S. policymakers would be wise to take notice before the upcoming midterm elections.”

The next step? The CNMI Senate is now expected to take on the House-passed marijuana legalization bill. These changes have the potential to open up enormous opportunity. Are you hoping to expand your operation or launch your business venture? Consider working with the team at Marijuana Merchant Account and jump in on the expansion of the marijuana industry.


What Does Pot Legalization Do To Drug Cartels?

unnamedUp until a few years ago the only way to get recreational marijuana was illegally. This benefitted mostly the drug cartels – and honestly, who wants to do that? With the rise of states offering legalized recreational marijuana, the cartels are likely to take a hit – but how much? And will this help eradicate marijuana cartels?

Probably not, since some states will never legalize recreational marijuana. But Arizona has strong beliefs in how to tame the cartels. Law enforcement leaders say the change will strengthen cartels, allowing them to infiltrate the legal pot market and driving them to sell more hard drugs. Advocates of legalization say it will undercut the cartels by eliminating a key segment of their business. Also, they could easily move into another drug, such as cocaine or heroin – the latter of which is gaining popularity in the states thanks to its pricing. Customs officers confiscated more than 4,100 pounds of meth and 863 pounds of heroin at Tucson sector border crossings last fiscal year. That’s a 46 percent increase in meth and a 77 percent increase in heroin over the last two years. The amount of meth seized so far this fiscal year has already surpassed last year’s.

Now that the cartels have competition with product that is regulate and more pure, they may panic. Even so, the border patrol seized more than 800,000 pounds of pot last year coming into the United States. If recreational marijuana is legalized in California, these numbers could drop – but they could find other ways to sell their product to states that do not have legalized pot. The Southeastern US is less likely to legalize pot than northern or western states, so this is a possibility.

What do we do? Well, there’s nothing much that we can do – except vote. And urge our lawmakers to help pass laws to legalize marijuana in some form. For some states it will be tougher, thanks to their I&R laws, but it isn’t impossible. This helps eradicate some of the cartels, and it helps keep everyone safe, thanks to the regulation of legalized marijuana.

The Police Have Spoken: Pot is the Least of Their Drug Worries

Cannabis leaf scattered on the dollars. Seamless imageWhile some in the media – and well-paid lobbyist – want to convince you that pot is evil, our police have a different take on the drug. The DEA released its annual survey of law enforcement officers from around the USA, and found that marijuana is the least of their drug worries. Literally, the least, as it came in last with only 6% of the surveyors saying that it was. While marijuana has never been at the top of the list, it was in the middle in the early to mid-2000s. While consumers have a relaxed view on pot, it’s interesting to see that it isn’t the biggest worry for police, and this could have an overwhelming effect on the government and its stance on the drug.

It should not be a surprise that heroin was named the most worrisome drug, with 38% of the vote, followed by meth with 33%. With its measly 6% of the vote, marijuana either is typically in the news for its legalization in states, or attempts to keep it illegal. Ohio just struck down a vote to legalize medicinal and recreational marijuana, though most states who have offered the vote to its citizens have faced a different outcome. The tax revenue the drug brings in (it is currently taxed at 10% in Denver, Colorado) helps tremendously, as does marijuana tourism. Even so, it is still a federally-illegal drug. This complicates things for those who wish to travel outside a certain area with the drug, and those who wish to fly home with it are liable to be arrested. But this change in law enforcement’s eyes could lead to a change in the Fed’s way of looking at pot.

Coincidence or not, Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders from Vermont introduced legislation to decriminalize pot federally. This, plus the DEA’s survey findings, could lead to a change. However, the recent turn-down of legalized pot in Ohio may prove fatal, as elected officials are careful not to bite the hand that feeds when it comes to voting for things that their constituents are against. Regardless, legalized marijuana is expanding in various states every few months. In October, it was Oregon. In January, it will be Alaska. This leads to new and exciting business ventures. Marijuana merchants know that this is a very lucrative – but troublesome – industry. The main trouble comes from the banks that process payments, as they are controlled by the Feds. Merchants need to look for an ACH check processing source, like marijuana-merchant-account.com, that is experienced with legalized marijuana sales, to help keep their new business account operating smoothly.

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Legalize Marijuana? Former DEA Agent Now Says Yes

DEAProponents of the mixed debate to have recreational marijuana legalized in the US state of Arizona have got a shot in the arm from an unlikely source. A former special agent of the state’s Drug Enforcement Administration who spent six years of his career convicting felons of the act of using marijuana now says the use of the drug should be recognized.

The officer who served as the DEA’s New Mexico and Miami Marijuana Coordinator has now gone vocal in favor of a legislation that would orchestrate a complete free program of recreational marijuana in the state of Arizona.

From his several years spent fighting the use of illegal drugs including marijuana, the former law enforcement officer has had a change of thought arguing that he had time enough to see injustice in the system. He has faulted the law against marijuana saying that it has destroyed the lives of many young and brilliant persons.

The agent who is currently a member of a movement known as Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) has argued that as an officer he was bound to do things he did not personally agree with. In his position he had to enforce the law as that is what his job demanded. So he had to put up with some hard times in the job. His about-face is seemingly his way of righting the wrongs he might have unwillingly stood for. The strict marijuana laws, according to him, have ruined lives and so need to change.

The use of marijuana is widespread in the United States among teenagers and the youth or young adults.  Annual surveys in the country concerned with the drug use have indicated a rising trend in the use of this drug despite the very strict rules against the cannabis sativa.

Students in their early grades are found to be addicted to the drug. Those who are caught face the full arm of the law and get their lives at crossroads. These are some of the concerns that have been dominating the debating platforms where contenders are pushing for the legalization of the drug in the country.

Some strong arguments for the legalization of marijuana are supported by the medical side of the weed. These people wonder why the state would spend so much cash on medicinal drugs every fiscal year yet a powerful drug like marijuana whose health benefits are well known remains prohibited.

Now it remains to be seen if the proponents of the legalization of the recreational marijuana will have their way. If this happens, the impact of the legalization is likely to be felt in the nation’s economy and dealers will have to contribute taxes through their marijuana payment processing systems. At the end the nation’s economy will directly benefit from the drug.

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Legal Marijuana Industry Sheds Light on Its Long Illegality

Medical Marijuana Payment ProcessingMillions are locked up every year for drugs in the United States, and a big percentage of those are for marijuana possession, usage, or manufacturing. The rush of states to legalize pot have made many wonder what happens to those who were locked up before its legality. The green brings pleasure to many and cash to some, and while the Feds still outlaw it, the rapid legalization of states may soon turn the tide on what once was a promising war on drugs.

Legal or not, there will always be pot smokers. The states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use (such as Colorado), and the states that have turned possession into a simple ticket (New York) are setting the stage for the rest of the United States to bring leniency to the users to the drug. What separates marijuana from drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin, is that marijuana is grown and dried, with the majority of the time no additives. No processing other than sunlight, and no kitchen chemicals. While the new legality in many places should affect the prison sentences of pot dealers, traffickers, and users, it more than likely will not. In the early 2000s, Congress passed laws to bring leniency to crack cocaine prison terms. This change did nothing to tens of thousands who were already incarcerated for the crime, and the same will probably happen with marijuana.

However, these new legalization’s make it a great time for a merchant to hop onto the medical marijuana bandwagon. Twenty-three states, plus Washington DC, have legalized medical marijuana, and others, such as Colorado and Georgia has legalized medicinal cannabis oils for certain chronic and terminal conditions. This is a rewarding industry, and it can be lucrative, as well. While rewarding and lucrative, it can be a pain in the neck to file a reputable medical marijuana payment processing account. Luckily, it can be done if you do your research. One of the top-rated over the last 10 years is MMA. Ten years is a long time in any business, and the knowledge of MMA’s staff can help you get the right foot in the door with the local governments to ensure your medical marijuana business is not only following the laws, but also following payment processing mandates, as well.

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