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Marijuana banking debate returns to Congress and Rep. Perlmutter is optimistic

Eight years after it was first introduced, federal legislation that would give cannabis companies in Colorado and across the country access to the banking system is back in Congress. And its co-sponsors, Democrat and Republican, are sounding bullish. The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act, or SAFE Banking Act, has been introduced every Congress since 2013 by U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, an Arvada Democrat. It has passed the House on several occasions but never the Senate. Perlmutter expects that to change this year, he said during a conference call Friday. Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, has told Perlmutter that he expects the committee to debate and vote on the bill for the first time. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Colorado may see its biggest overhaul of marijuana laws since recreational legalization

They don’t make cannabis products like they used to, and there’s an increasing number of Colorado lawmakers who think that’s problematic. As recently as 2014, the vast majority of medical and recreational cannabis sold in Colorado was flower and only 11% was the high-potency concentrates consumed through dab rigs or vape pens. By 2019, concentrates took up a third of the market and flower was below 50%. With the rising popularity of high-THC concentrates, which are several times more potent than flower and edibles, come worries among deep-pocketed political groups and their statehouse allies that teenagers have too much access to it without enough knowledge of the effects. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

A Colorado Democrat wants to cap THC levels in marijuana products at 15%

The lone medical doctor in the Colorado legislature is looking to cut back the THC content on the most potent cannabis products, among other changes that would have major impacts on the state’s cannabis industry. State Rep. Yadira Caraveo, a pediatrician and Thornton Democrat, said she is still revising the bill she plans to introduce this month, but one of the main provisions would ban legal marijuana products above 15% THC — the psychoactive compound responsible for the marijuana high. The ban would apply to flower and edibles. THC in flower products can top off close to 30%, while concentrates generally run at 70-80%. “Even if it’s the start of a conversation, I think it’s an important conversation,” Caraveo told The Denver Post on Thursday. “We led the way with legalization, but it doe...

Cannabis industry may finally move past cash as Democrats look to loosen banking restrictions

Colorado’s cannabis industry has been forced to deal primarily in cash for years due to banking restrictions that pot advocates and banking lobbyists say put shops, growers and others at risk of theft. The industry is now cautiously optimistic this year that, with Democrats in power in Washington, its eight years of trying to lift those restrictions on banks and credit unions will pay off. Because marijuana remains an illicit drug under federal law — and banking the proceeds of illicit drug sales is a federal crime — credit unions and banks are limited in their ability to work with cannabis companies, and take risks when doing so. As a result, the large and growing marijuana industry still remains cash-only, seven years after legalization in Colorado. “We’ve got people who are still dealin...

Former Corona City Councilman Nolan accused of marijuana violations

Former Corona City Councilman Steve Nolan has been cited on suspicion of illegal cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale, the Riverside County jail log shows. Nolan, a 58-year-old former Anaheim police officer, was cited by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Investigations Bureau at his Rising Sun Road home at 3:20 a.m. on Jan. 14. The citations are misdemeanors. Southern California Edison is participating in the investigation, SCE spokeswoman Taelor Bakewell said. She didn’t have any further details. Marijuana growers sometimes illegally tap into electricity sources. Solar panels cover the roof of Nolan’s home. Read the rest of this story on ocregister.com.

Marijuana delivery, social equity reform and other Colorado cannabis trends to watch in 2021

Colorado’s marijuana industry experienced a banner year in 2020 — not in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, but because of it. Dispensaries across the state were declared essential businesses and allowed to operate while bars, restaurants and gyms were forced to close. That designation helped sales exceed analysts’ expectations. According to Roy Bingham, co-founder and executive chairman of Boulder data firm BSDA, the national market grew more than 45% to $18 billion in 2020, outpacing forecasts by about $2 billion, an increase attributable to “the COVID effect.” Cannabis consumers shopped less frequently but purchased more, including many newcomers with increased at-home time on their hands, he said. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Aurora says yes to recreational pot delivery in Colorado’s third-largest city

Aurora’s nearly 400,000 residents — at least the ones 21 or older — may be able to tap on a phone screen and order up pot gummies and marijuana flower for delivery to their doorstep as soon as early next year. The Aurora City Council on Monday night gave preliminary approval, by an 8-2 vote, to cannabis delivery in Colorado’s third-largest city. The ordinance will need a second vote in two weeks, and if it passes, deliveries of marijuana could begin in early 2021. That would likely make Aurora one of the first cities in the state where consumers can place an order for recreational weed from their couch and wait for it to arrive in the comfort of their homes. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Orange County’s Democratic leaders celebrate historic House vote to decriminalize marijuana

Published: Dec 4, 2020, 6:04 pm • Updated: Dec 4, 2020, 6:05 pm By Brooke Staggs Orange County’s all-Democratic congressional leadership celebrated Friday after the House approved a bill to decriminalize and tax cannabis at the federal level. The vote, they believe, reverses what supporters describe as a failed policy of criminalizing marijuana consumption, and it takes steps to address racial disparities in enforcement of federal drug laws. “Decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level is long overdue,” said Rep. Harley Rouda, D-Laguna Beach. Read the rest of this story on ocregister.com.

House votes to decriminalize marijuana at federal level

Published: Dec 4, 2020, 12:57 pm • Updated: Dec 4, 2020, 12:57 pm By Associated Press By MATTHEW DALY WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-controlled House on Friday approved a bill to decriminalize and tax marijuana at the federal level, reversing what supporters called a failed policy of criminalization of pot use and taking steps to address racial disparities in enforcement of federal drug laws. Opponents, mostly Republicans, called the bill a hollow political gesture and mocked Democrats for bringing it up at a time when thousands of Americans are dying from the coronavirus pandemic. Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.

Massachusetts cannabis retailers vow to fight marijuana delivery regulations poised for passage Monday

Massachusetts cannabis retailers have vowed a fight over controversial new marijuana delivery rules that regulators are expected to pass on Monday, which prioritize minority applicants and would enable courier companies to buy and sell marijuana wholesale without a brick-and-mortar business. “We’re not holding breath — it’s a done deal. Tomorrow is a mere formality at this point,” said David Torrisi, president of the Commonwealth Dispensary Association. “But we’ll be looking at legislative and legal action. Our fight does not end tomorrow.” The Cannabis Control Commission on Monday is set to vote on a set of draft regulations for recreational marijuana that include two license categories for delivery. The regulations will be a first for recreational pot, but delivery is already allowed for...

Colorado governor to mass-pardon 2,700-plus marijuana convictions

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis plans to mass-pardon 2,732 convictions of low-level marijuana possession through an executive order Thursday after signing a bill earlier this year that gave him that authority. “This really catches Coloradans up with where the law is today,” he told The Denver Post. House Bill 1424, passed by the General Assembly earlier this year, included a provision that allows the governor to pardon those who have convictions on their criminal records for possessing up to 2 ounces of marijuana — the current legal limit for medical marijuana users. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Southern California counties clear 100,000 cannabis convictions by July 1 deadline

As calls for criminal justice reform sweep the nation, California is taking steps to reverse some effects of the war on drugs, which continues to disproportionately impact people of color. California’s 58 county district attorneys had a deadline of Wednesday, July 1, to accept or challenge the state’s recommendation to clear the records of some 191,090 past marijuana convictions. The procedure was triggered by Proposition 64, a 2016 measure that legalized cannabis and reduced penalties for related crimes, and by Assembly Bill 1793, which requires justice officials to purge eligible crimes from people’s records. Because local prosecutors agreed with the vast majority of the state’s recommendations, tens of thousands of Californians are now free of criminal records for cannabis charges. In m...

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