Marijuana Tax Facts for California

480007355Marijuana is a big tax builder for California, and some new law changes can make it an even bigger tax booster. The tax in Prop 55 is not new, but is an extension of a temporary tax increase approved by voters in the last election when they voted for Prop 30. Prop 55 would extend that tax by 12 years, but only for Californians earning more than $250,000. It’s estimated the tax would generate between four and $9 billion a year for public schools, and $2 billion dollars a year for health care for low-income patients.

So, that’s good right? Right, but it could be more. And with more legal issues in the way it could be a long road before the numbers are met. However, it can be met with a major blow to another filter-tipped friend: The cigarette. Prop 56 would also help fund the state’s Medi-Cal program by hitting cigarette smokers where it hurts most – their wallets. The measure proposes increasing the tax on a pack of cigarettes from 87 cents by $2 to $2.87. So, it could be adding tax revenue to the state and help curb smoking.

But let’s be real: It probably will not totally cut out cigarette smoking. The cigarette tax in NYC is over $4, and people still buy them. But, legalized marijuana is a whole other game. Not only is it for those who want a stress reliever, but it is also for those with medical issues who want a natural remedy. And pot seems to be a great natural remedy.

Merchants still need to be careful, because even if these taxes are totally enacted, there will be even more strain on marijuana businesses. You need to make sure that your business is following the state laws, county laws, and city laws as they relate to your business. You also need to make sure that you have a marijuana merchant account provider that understands your industry. This not only can help save your business from violating any laws, but it can help it from losing money from a merchant account provider who doesn’t know how your industry works.

2015 Legalized Marijuana Records Boom With Marijuana Payment Solutions

MarijuanaColorado’s legalized marijuana sales in 2015 may have hit two major records. While the numbers are not yet certain, the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division believes that the legalized products brought in over $900 million in 2015, doubling 2014’s numbers. The other big number belongs to the tax revenue for the state that the marijuana sales brought in 2015, which is upwards of $80 million. These numbers alone should legitimize the industry, but many still are wary of it.

Besides the fact that marijuana – in any form – is still a federally illegal substance, its legalization keeps growing state by state. Currently 22 states allow either legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana growth, sales, and usage. Colorado also allows for the production, sell, and usage of cannabis oil, a medicinal oil that is known to help children with severe autism and seizures. Even though this substance is proven to work, parents who try to take it from Colorado to their home state would face federal penalties if they were caught. This has led many to relocate to Colorado, helping fuel the large economic boom.

Aside from the Feds, some in the public are still questioning the green. While many believe it to be a gateway drug, for many the benefits outweigh the risks. You must remember that many believe the same about cigarettes and alcohol, both of which have been legalized and taxed by the Feds for decades, if not centuries. Merchants should not worry about the fear mongers, for they exist in almost every industry. What they should worry about is their payment options.

Payment options are growing with technology. From the standard options of cash, check, debit and credit cards, to BitCoin, PayPal and ApplePay, there are many types of payments that a merchant can accept. The problem comes when your payment processor will not allow you to accept all of these payment sources. Marijuana payment solutions are available, even for new businesses. A new business can be just as risky as one that is categorized as “high risk”, and a new marijuana business can bring double trouble for many processors. You need to do your research before signing with a processor, but cause not all will allow you to accept your preferred payment methods.

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Many States Predicted to Legalize Medical or Recreational Marijuana in 2016

Marijuana American FlagMany are declaring 2016 the year of the “Green Rush”. There is no year leading up to this one that has offered as many promises for marijuana legalization. At the moment, 14 states have the potential to legalize MMJ, adult-use cannabis or possibly both. This positive change is due to other pioneering marijuana markets and the growing support for cannabis in general.

The legalization of marijuana has become such a recurring topic that it has forced presidential candidates to reveal their position. The fate of marijuana in these 14 states will depend on either the ballot box or state legislatures. The following list details some of the states that have the best chances of legalizing medical or recreational marijuana – or both – later this year.


California has been declared the main electoral event for marijuana advocates this year. As the biggest medical marijuana market in the country, advocates are pushing for the legalization of recreational cannabis. If voters approve, the state will quickly generate billions of dollars in recreational sales. Among the groups pushing for this to get on the ballot are billionaire Sean Parker and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.


Because the measure to legalize medical cannabis failed by such a slim margin back in 2014, MMJ supporter John Morgan is gearing up for round two. With the turnout in the presidential election predicted to be higher than in 2014, and the currently very strong support for MMJ in the state, many are expecting Florida to legalize medical cannabis easily. If this does come to pass, Florida will become the second-largest MMJ market, just behind California.


A poll conducted in 2015 has revealed that Maine is ready for the legalization of recreational marijuana – with support reaching around 65%. Two competing campaigns, the Marijuana Policy Project and a grassroots group, decided to join their efforts last October instead of having two competing campaigns. Their hope is that this collaboration will boost the chances of success. While Maine would not be the biggest cannabis market in the country, it would contribute towards the progress of the industry as a whole.


Nevada has been described as an easy target for recreational legalization. In fact, the state is already catering to out-of-state MMJ patients, thanks to a policy allowing medical marijuana cardholders from other states to purchase cannabis while in Nevada. According to Marijuana Business Daily, the campaign for recreational marijuana has already been placed on the 2016 ballot. The decision is now in the hands of voters.


Even though Pennsylvania lawmakers failed to reach a consensus bill in 2015, many advocates feel that MMJ in Pennsylvania will succeed in 2016. Many are afraid the state will replicate strict systems like in New York and Minnesota, which prohibit smokable cannabis. Because the state does not have a citizen initiative process, lawmakers will have the ultimate say-so. Fortunately, most officials are eager to legalize – including the governor of Pennsylvania.

Marijuana Payment Solutions

With so many states predicted to legalize recreational or medical marijuana, there is going to be a growing need for these businesses to secure payment processing solutions. Even with the expected growth, however, the industry is still frowned upon by traditional providers. This leaves many businesses with little to no options. Marijuana payment solutions from a high risk provider – like – provides businesses with the services they need.

For more information on what marijuana payment solutions can offer your business, contact MMA today

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Marijuana May Bring Forth an Argument over Federal Preemption

Marijuana Leaves on Top of PlantsFor everything under the sun, if state and federal law contradict each other, the Feds win. However, new court cases are challenging this rule, and the cases involve marijuana. Legalized marijuana merchants have a tough time finding everything from funding to marijuana payment solutions, so state law typically helps these merchants. However, the banks are held close by the Feds, so you see why this is a problem. With preemption arguments about to open, will the marijuana industry set precedent for other types of conflict in the courts?

Preemption concerns the conflict of state and federal law if a “conflict” arises between the two. With marijuana, the conflict is state legalization and the federal illegal status. The status of preemption concerns the “conflict” issue, wanting a clear definition of what a conflict actually is. Many claim that there is no conflict; that the Feds want their way, and the state (i.e. the citizens of the states) have voted to amend the law. They claim that no conflict exists, so federal preemption should not occur, and state law should take precedent. Congress has expressly indicated that its intention in enacting the Controlled Substances Act was not to totally preempt all state drug laws. States have long enacted their own criminal laws relating to marijuana possession, so there is no conflict. Or, at least if there was conflict is should have brought up decades ago.

There should be something said for state citizens who have voted to legalized marijuana. Not all states have legalized it via a vote; the attempt failed in Georgia a few years ago, even though medical Cannabis Oil has been hot new as of late. With our upcoming Presidential election looming, and many wanting a “non-insider” politician, will this have any effect on the ruling on federal preemption? Probably not, since the courts will rule before November. However, it will be interesting to see the effect the entire process has on, well, everything. From consumers to merchants to banks, and even politicians, this ruling will have a major impact one way or another.

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Can Native American Tribes Solve MMJ Banking Problems

unnamedFor the last few years, marijuana merchants have searched for legitimate payment processing solutions. Even businesses headed by experienced entrepreneurs with solid business plans have been rejected by banks and other financial institutions. Now cannabis companies might find banking solutions with Native American tribes. A new company called CannaNative, is currently negotiating with tribes in the western U.S. to bank with marijuana companies.

Anthony Rivera Jr., a partner with CannaNative, believes that tribes are the solution to the banking problem for cannabis in the country. With the Federal Reserve and other large banks denying cannabis companies access to their facilities, Rivera thinks they can utilize tribes throughout the western United States within six months to offer financial services.

The bank process would go something like this: companies would make accounts, armored car service would pick up cash deposits and transport funds to secure facilities on tribal land. The client would then have access to the funds electronically. Of course companies must reside close to a specific tribe to enjoy these services. Still there are many reservations in the western hemisphere of the US, from California to Arizona to Washington State to Colorado. Rivera says that they have a handful of tribes that are interested in doing business with marijuana merchants. But some critics don’t think the CannaNative business will be able to get off the ground since there have been some efforts for the federal government to find some type of banking solution for years. If a solution can be reached, there will be no need for CannaNative’s services.

Still Rivera points out that tribes have been managing large amounts of cash since the 1980s, ever since casinos began to occupy tribal lands. He believes that their cash management systems can be adapted to the cannabis industry with the right support and strategies. Rivera and his partners are currently negotiating with cannabis merchants and tribes in the western U.S.

Marijuana Merchant Account (MMA) offers a variety of marijuana payment solutions for cannabis merchants. Your company does not need to wait for organizations like CannaNative to have comprehensive and legal banking solutions.

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Big New York Banks Say No to MMJ

Marijuana American FlagNew York recently awarded five medical cannabis businesses licenses to operate in the state. Despite official recognition, the winners will most likely have a hard time finding a financial institution to provide services. Although the Obama administration vowed to not prosecute merchants who operate lawfully, there is still too much ambiguity in federal laws in regards to responsibility and regulations for banks. Currently, regulations state that banks are responsible for monitoring cannabis accounts and ensuring compliance. Banks are also required to report any suspicious activities. Neglect to monitor cannabis accounts could result in severe punishment.

A handful of major banks like TD Bank, Key Bank, Wells Fargo, PNC Bank, and JP Morgan Chase have stated that they will not do business with the marijuana industry in New York or anyplace else unless the federal government gives more clarity.

This leaves the five licensees in New York with few opportunities with the big boys. However, some of the licensees are planning to bank with smaller institutions.

Columbia Care believes they will find a banking service soon that will give customers a variety of payment processing options like ATM or debit cards.

Empire State Health Solutions, a second licensee, says it is currently finalizing a banking deal. While another licensee, PharmaCann, is “in discussion” with New York banks. All 3 licensees declined to identify which banks they’re negotiating with.

As the market for medical and recreational marijuana grows, the needs for larger institutional services becomes more real. That’s why companies that manage to obtain licenses are fighting hard to do business with major banks as seen in New York, Nevada, Colorado, and California. Despite small gains in the state to state fight, all merchants agree that the market will only reach its full potential if the federal government makes a cohesive policy on banking with cannabis merchants.

Marijuana Merchant Account (MMA) offers a variety of marijuana payment solutions like debit cards, credit cards, checks, and more. Don’t wait on the federal government or big banks to support your merchant account.

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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, that is experienced with legalized marijuana sales, to help keep their new business account operating smoothly.

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Canada’s Medical Marijuana Money Growth


Marijuana Leaf with the colors of Canadian flag isolated on white

Marijuana Leaf with the colors of Canadian flag isolated on white

Canada is in the midst of a $3 million dollar medical marijuana financing boom. While medical marijuana patients are not as numerous as the country has hoped, this boom in financing can help get the word out – and get better supply. This mass of cash is something that may not happen in the USA, thanks to marijuana being a villain of the Feds, but it does show that it can bring a lot of funds in to the local and Federal economies. While raising funds and capitol for medical marijuana may be easy in Canada, finding someone to process the customer’s payments is not.

Oddly enough, while merchants are struggling to find a marijuana payment solution for their business, OrganiGram has somehow obtained a $5 million dollar line of credit []. While these funds will go to building and operating more grow houses for more supply, the supply will not matter is merchants cannot process their payments. This leaves many turning to either a “cash only” business, which is dangerous, or turning to a subpar processor. There are few processors who are experienced with the industry, and have the willingness to deal with the government when things get tough. Because of this, when an issue arises, processors will either hike up processing rates or all together drop the merchant.

What is curious about OrganiGram is not that they obtained the loan, but that they obtained the loan with few patients for the country’s medical marijuana program. Unlike the USA where people are trying to fake illnesses for a medical marijuana card, Canadians are not as into the program. Perhaps they are wary of it, or perhaps they just do not need or want it. This loan may be what the industry needs, and if it gets people talking about the Canadian medical marijuana industry, that’s great.

Medical marijuana merchants in the USA and Canada need to be careful when obtaining marijuana payment solutions. While OrganiGram somehow ended up with a $5 million dollar loan, this is highly unlikely for any other grower or dispensary. Be sure to go over all of your options before signing with a processor, as the wrong choice can hurt your business – and even your personal finances.

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