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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Federal protections on cannabis added to spending bill



    Federal protections on cannabis added to spending bill

    Law-abiding patients, caregivers and businesspeople in states that allow medical cannabis will be protected from the long arm of The United States Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


    Federal protections on state medical cannabis laws, what is known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, now the Leahy amendment, have been included in a federal spending bill. On March 22, the House passed the spending measure with a vote of 256-167. The Senate passed the bill late Thursday.

    Those provisions have been included in an extensive $1.3 trillion federal funding bill which runs through Sept. 30. The 2,232-page omnibus spending bill will fund the government through the remainder of fiscal year 2018.


    “Good work by @DanaRohrabacher, @repblumenauer and everyone else who fought to continue these important medical marijuana protections,” Marijuana Majority Founder Tom Angell tweeted Wednesday about California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Oregon Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer.


    The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment has been federal law since 2014. Each time the House has voted on it since 2014, the bill has gained more traction.


    The provisions have been extended in federal omnibus bills at least eight times. The rider bill can only be extended in short increments, and Rep. Blumenauer told CULTURE on March 14 that it is “a reflection of how seriously flawed the budget process has been here in Congress. It is tied to Prohibition on expending federal money to interfere with otherwise state-legal activities. It has been limited, in some cases, to a few months or a few weeks because that is how the federal government has been funding its operations.

    Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment is a victim of the dysfunctional budget process.”


    “While I’m glad that our medical marijuana protections are included,” Blumenauer said in a press release posted on his website, “there is nothing to celebrate since Congress only maintained the status quo. These protections have been law since 2014. This matter should be settled once and for all. Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans, across every party,
    strongly favor the right to use medical marijuana.”


    Despite threatening to veto the bill, President Trump signed the spending bill on March 23.


    —Benjamin M. Adams

    http://sdcitybeat.com/culture/cannab...t-cannabis-la/
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    Newsy nuggets: New federal actions aim to protect cannabis laws and hemp farms

    Medical marijuana protections are renewed and Mitch McConnell aims to legalize hemp

    by Seth Combs, Benjamin M. Adams


    Legal hemp legislation to be introduced by… Mitch McConnell?

    Does California’s agricultural industry have a hero in Mitch McConnell? That might be the case, as the Senate Majority Leader from Kentucky has introduced a bill that would remove hemp from the federal list of controlled substances. Hemp is essentially the THC-free version of cannabis sativa and can be used to make clothes, oils, cosmetics and foods derived from the seeds.

    Sen. McConnell has been particularly vocal about the benefits of industrialized hemp farming since the 2014 Farm Bill first allowed for farms to grow it. His home state of Kentucky has particularly benefited from hemp farming and has become one of the nation’s largest producers.

    The new bill would allow for even more farming and essentially fully legalize hemp so that stores could safely carry hemp-derived products without fear of raids.


    Still, the bill is expected to get push back from organizations like the Narcotic Officers’ Association, who claim the bill is a bad idea because the hemp plant looks almost identical to the marijuana plant and that they’d have no way of knowing without lab tests.


    McConnell is expected to introduce the bill when he returns to the Senate in April. While California’s Proposition 64 allows for the cultivation of industrial hemp, a federal bill decriminalizing hemp would go a long way in appeasing farmers who might still fear federal raids.


    —Seth Combs


    Read the original article here.
    For the latest cannabis news and lifestyle trends, please pick up our sister magazine CULTURE every month or visit culturemagazine.com.



    MARCH 28, 2018 ISSUE

    http://sdcitybeat.com/culture/cannabeat/newsy-nuggets-new-federal-actions-aim-to-protect-cannabis-la/
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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Wonderful!! The next bill needs to protect residents of those states who have legalized recreational weed as well. We so need to end the war on drugs and make it a legalized with an age requirement to purchase, regulated for quality and quantity, taxed by the FairTax, some of the tax used to fund better education about the real risks and consequences, authentic warnings on packages, domestic only trade, no exports or imports, with establishments and operators from A to Z being licensed US citizens, and a portion of the taxes used to fund free on demand rehab for anyone who wants or needs it. This way only drug users pay the cost because drug purchasers are the only ones paying a tax to cover the regulation, enforcement, education and rehab, the way it should be, in my opinion.
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    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    ANY TAX COLLECTED SHOULD PAY FOR 100% OF DRUG REHAB AND DRUG RELATED DAMAGE TO OTHERS!!!

    I DO NOT WANT TO PAY FOR DRUG REHAB OUT OF MY POCKET.
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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beezer View Post
    ANY TAX COLLECTED SHOULD PAY FOR 100% OF DRUG REHAB AND DRUG RELATED DAMAGE TO OTHERS!!!

    I DO NOT WANT TO PAY FOR DRUG REHAB OUT OF MY POCKET.
    Oh yes, absolutely. That's why I said the FairTax proceeds would be used to pay for regulation, enforcement, better education and drug rehab for anyone who wants or needs it. Plus, the establishments should also pay some fees for their license like people have to pay for liquor licenses. This way only those involved in the business either as growers, producers, sellers and users pay for whatever costs are associated with running a clean, safe as possible, legal, regulated, responsible recreational drug trade.
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    Legalizing Recreational Pot a Bad Idea for Illinois Employers
    02.09.18

    Written by Kevin Sabet

    To some entrepreneurs (and even Illinois gubernatorial candidates), marijuana legalization is all the rage these days. We’re promised “more tax money!”, “less crime!” and “miraculous medicine!” But a closer look at the evidence reveals a far different picture. In fact, take it from this former Obama administration drug policy adviser: The legalization of recreational marijuana will impose significant costs on taxpayers, resulting in workplace losses, car crashes, lost tourism revenue, administrative enforcement and a multitude of other issues.

    It’s true: One sector of the economy stands to make big bucks from legalization, and that’s Big Marijuana. Its goal is to fool us into believing their billion-dollar industry will somehow benefit employers and taxpayers. Remember Big Tobacco? It’s like a watching a car crash happen all over again in slow motion.

    Speaking of car crashes, add that to the list of things we have to worry about with legal marijuana. According to AAA, crashes related to pot doubled after legalization in Washington, and a recent Denver Post investigation found an increase in pot-related car crashes,confirming data revealed by law enforcement.

    Pot is also causing significant disruptions in the workforce in legalized states. Workers in those states are testing positive for marijuana at much higher rates than the rest of the country, and some companies—like a large construction firm in Colorado—can’t find people to pass a drug test.

    Marijuana legalization also opens the door to myriad lawsuits against employers. The marijuana industry has vowed to make employee “rights” to use pot a priority. The head of the pot lobby has said that firing pot users is “simply unfair, and it cannot be allowed to stand.” They’ve won in some courts.

    While the Big Marijuana industry claims that legalizing recreational use will lead to an influx of state tax dollars, evidence shows that the costs of legalization outweigh any potential tax revenue. Based on research in states that have legalized recreational marijuana, the public health costs related to Big Marijuana are at least 25 percent greater than the increased tax revenues, due to workplace accidents, hospital admissions, traffic crashes and increased law enforcement costs.

    And there are so many more costs we cannot even begin to quantify. This includes increased use of other drugs, greater marijuana use, controlling an expanded black market, sales to minors, public intoxication and other burdens.

    Let’s take a look at Colorado, whose “great experiment” with marijuana is hurting its health care system and roadways—and worst of all, its kids. In fact, there are now more black and Hispanic youth arrested for pot now than before legalization in Colorado. While rich white men get richer and marginalized communities remain forgotten, social justice has hardly been advanced. Tax revenue gained from marijuana was much smaller than promised, and the Denver Post reported pot taxes wouldn’t solve the state’s budget problems. One study showed uncollected payments among marijuana-related patients at a hospital in Colorado totaled at least $20 million over a six-year period. And a recent study released in May showed that ER visits by teenagers in Colorado have quadrupled since marijuana was legalized.

    Even Colorado’s own “pot czar,” Andrew Freedman, has said marijuana tax revenues are often wildly overestimated, saying, “Everybody was really excited about the tax revenue, and now everyone wants to know where it went.”

    Don’t let Big Marijuana fool you into believing their billion-dollar industry will somehow benefit you. Legalizing recreational marijuana only benefits Big Marijuana—at the expense of employers, taxpayers and families.


    https://illinoisfamily.org/marijuana...ois-employers/

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    It seems the taxes collected for legal maryjane is an incentive to our gov'ts coffers. Better to collect than have a total underground economy.

    As far as what drugs can make you ok to work - you can partake in highly addictive heroin, cocaine, meth and it will not be traced by drug tests after 3 days use. Mary Jane is traceable up to a month of use. Now a Mary Jane high is gone in a few hours and is not addictive whereas heroin, cocaine, meth are highly addictive. Perhaps drug test/job related tests should be updated. Would add that most accidents also include use of RX Xanex, valium with the maryjane. In other words more than just weed.

    Never want to see employers or our gov't allowing heroin, cocaine meth use to collect a tax. Addictive substances need to be removed from our citizens' access. Safe injection sites are the wrong road. Remove the drug carets whether they have a criminal record or not - GET OUT! Which means ALL ILLEGALS GOTTA GO NOW!
    Last edited by artist; 03-31-2018 at 08:58 PM.
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    California to tax pot as much as 45% - Oct. 31, 2017 - CNN Money
    money.cnn.com/2017/10/31/news/economy/california-cannabis-tax.../index.html
    Oct 31, 2017 - California marijuana consumers are going to have to pay a combination of state and local taxes that vary by municipality. Growers and sellers have their own taxes, too. Consumers will pay a sales tax ranging from 22.25% to 24.25%, which includes the state excise tax of 15%, and additional state and local ...
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    "An estimated $1 billion in new tax revenue would be directed toward specific new or expanded programs such as drug use prevention and treatment, helping at-risk youth, law enforcement, environmental clean-up and research."
    =============================


    If marijuana is legalized in California, where would $1 billion in new tax revenue go?



    An officer and citizen demonstrate the use of a Drager DrugTest 5000, a type of saliva swab test that can check for drugged driving out in the field. A California senator wants to expand the use of the roadside tests.

    By BROOKE EDWARDS STAGGS, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER |
    September 19, 2016 at 8:03 am

    If you probe why the polls show a majority of California voters support a statewide effort to legalize recreational marijuana, increased tax revenue inevitably comes up.

    UC Irvine student Giovanni Chavez, like many backers of legalized pot, says he’s primarily concerned about personal liberty and studies showing disproportionate prosecution of minorities for drug offenses.


    But after watching state and local governments struggle through recurring budget crises, the aspiring political consultant said state-regulated marijuana sales would provide a new and needed stream of tax dollars.


    “We could use the extra revenue,” said Chavez, 21. “And the fact that we would be able to interfere with the black market is huge.”

    Supporters of legal recreational marijuana use point to Colorado, which legalized cannabis for adults in 2012. There, taxes and fees on weed are helping to build schools, repair roads and stabilize city budgets.


    But critics of Proposition 64, California’s legalization initiative on the November ballot, point out tax revenue from legal weed would be dispersed much differently here.


    Letitia Pepper, a Riverside attorney who uses medical marijuana to treat multiple sclerosis but is a vocal opponent of the measure, noted none of it would be dedicated to the general operations of local governments or schools.


    Proponents acknowledge California’s measure includes key differences in how pot funds could be used. But they add that local governments and students still can benefit from the measure.


    An estimated $1 billion in new tax revenue would be directed toward specific new or expanded programs such as drug use prevention and treatment, helping at-risk youth, law enforcement, environmental clean-up and research.


    Jason Kinney, spokesman for the Yes on Prop. 64 campaign, said the restrictions on public use of the new tax monies was intentional. If public agencies were allowed to balance their general spending budgets with marijuana taxes, he said, it could create an incentive for them to encourage a bigger marijuana industry.

    “The state of California shouldn’t be forced to rely on increased marijuana usage to address future K-12 education, infrastructure and other ongoing budget obligations,” he said.

    Instead, Diane Goldstein of North Tustin – a retired police officer who’s campaigning for Prop. 64 – argued that tax revenue from the measure would be wisely used to offset some financial and social harms of the failed war on drugs via increased investment in education, research and treatment.

    REVENUE PREDICTIONS

    Right now, hundreds of pot businesses operating in California – some with local permits and many without – are paying state sales tax of close to 8 percent.

    In 2015, the state took in $58 million in sales tax revenue from some 974 registered dispensaries, including nearly 400 in Los Angeles County and 70 to 80 each in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, according to Board of Equalization data.


    That revenue is on track to nearly double this year.


    Under Prop. 64, all marijuana sales would be taxed an additional 15 percent starting Jan. 1, 2018, on top of levies on regulated growers of $9.25 per ounce for dry flowers or $2.75 per ounce for leaves. Medical cannabis patients would be exempt from the state sales tax.


    The independent Legislative Analyst’s Office predicts Prop. 64 state tax revenues would total from the high hundreds of millions of dollars to more than $1 billion each year.


    That’s less than 1 percent of the state’s annual budget, or about what California brings in annually now from taxes on tobacco products.


    Keith Humphreys, a Stanford University professor who served on a state commission that studied approaches for legalizing marijuana, summed up the financial impact of Prop. 64 this way: “It’s not going to make us if we do, and it’s not going to break us if we don’t.”


    Tax revenue from legalized weed would first be used to cover “all reasonable costs” incurred by the state to administer and enforce the recreational cannabis regulations, according to the ballot measure.


    The Department of Consumer Affairs, which would oversee the new marijuana marketplace if Prop. 64 passes, doesn’t have an estimate yet of those administrative costs, according to spokeswoman Veronica Harms.


    The much smaller states of Oregon and Washington spend about $6 million and $8 million a year, respectively, on their medical and recreational programs.


    Colorado, which has the oldest and most robust recreational marijuana market in the nation, is budgeted to spend $16.3 million regulating legal marijuana this fiscal year, according to Robert Goulding, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Revenue.


    The program “pays it own way,” Goulding noted, with industry taxes, licenses and fees covering administrative costs while helping fund such things as school construction, youth education programs and poison control centers.


    Still, Prop. 64 opponents, including Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, say they’re concerned that tax revenue from legal marijuana sales won’t cover harder-to-quantify effects on public safety and health issues.


    WHAT ABOUT LOCAL BENEFITS?

    One statewide Colorado levy on pot provides cities with money to use as they choose. That allowed Denver to add $29 million to its general fund budget in 2015, the Denver Post reports.

    While Prop. 64 doesn’t provide new, dedicated revenue directly to cities and counties, proponents say there are still ways local governments can benefit from the measure.


    California cities that permit recreational marijuana businesses could increase income from sales taxes.


    There also would be opportunities for governments, schools, public safety agencies and nonprofits in cities that welcome the cannabis industry to compete for hundreds of millions a year in grants that will fund substance abuse programs, offset enforcement costs and more.


    Opponents of legalized pot argue all law enforcement agencies should be eligible for such grants, because the ballot measure would permit cultivation and personal consumption of marijuana at residences across the state.


    “They’re still going to have to deal with the problems of home grows and use, but there’s no money available to them,” said Andrew Acosta, spokesman for the No on 64 campaign.


    Kinney called such criticisms “disingenuous.” He pointed to a Legislative Analyst’s Office estimate that the state will save tens of millions of dollars each year in criminal justice costs if marijuana is legal.


    The measure also says cities and counties can ask voters to approve extra local taxes on cannabis.


    At least 18 California cities have already approved such levies on medical marijuana shops and farms. Among those is Santa Ana, which expects to collect $1.5 million in pot dispensary fees and taxes this year.


    Another 37 local measures appearing on ballots in the state in November call for new taxes on marijuana sales or cultivation. Officials predict those levies could generate up to $22 million a year in revenue for cities and counties.


    Pot tax breakdown

    After covering administrative costs, here are some uses for the remaining tax revenue if voters approve Prop. 64:

    $10 million
    annually for 11 years for public universities in California to evaluate the impact of legalization and recommend policy changes, if needed. Research will cover topics such as public health, public safety and prices.


    $3 million
    annually for five years to the CHP to develop protocols for determining when drivers are impaired by marijuana, with no good test available now.


    $10 million
    , increasing to $50 million annually by 2022, for grants to local health departments and nonprofits that support addiction treatment, job placement, mental health treatment and other services for communities such as Compton and Oakland that have been hard-hit by previous drug policies.


    $2 million
    annually to the UC San Diego Center for Medical Cannabis Research to study marijuana as medicine.


    The remaining revenue will be divvied up to include:


    60 percent
    to prevent young people from abusing substances by offering grants to schools and county health programs, funding treatment programs, helping at-risk youth and more.

    Estimated at $450 million or more a year.


    20 percent
    to help state environmental agencies restore waterways affected by cannabis cultivation and protect public lands from being used for marijuana activities. Projected to be upwards of $150 million annually.


    20 percent
    to the CHP to train officers for detecting DUIs and to offer grants to local law enforcement, fire protection or public health programs in regions where cultivation and sales are allowed. Expected to be some $150 million or more each year.


    Starting in 2028, legislators could funnel revenue to other programs. But they could never reduce the dollar amount going to youth programs, environmental agencies or law enforcement.


    https://www.mercurynews.com/2016/09/...legalpot-0920/

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