This Week In Cannabis 7/18

The Right to Know. The Right to Grow.

Cash Crop in a Green House
It seems that bankers may soon have green thumbs, too. Huffington Post is reporting that the House of Representatives recently passed an amendment by a vote of 231-192 that OK’s financial institutions offering traditional banking services to state-legal businesses in the marijuana industry.

The amendment doesn’t so much allow banks to open their doors (or tellers), but it does prevents the Federal Government from spending funds to penalize financial institutions that choose to provide banking services to state-legal marijuana businesses.

And there’s more, too. The House also rejected another amendment that would’ve blocked the release of Treasury Department guidelines designed to help streamline the process of banking with marijuana businesses.

The Senate will have the final say on it though and like the amendment that financially hamstrings the DEA from going after state-legal operations, it could spend some time on those lawmakers’ desks before getting final approval.

Regardless of the Senate’s ultimate decision, it is proof of a less-than-subtle shift in the politics of pot.

WA MMJ in the Weeds?
As recreational sales of marijuana kick off in Washington State, the Marijuana Business Daily is questioning how medical marijuana will fare in what promises to be a very smoky future.

Unregulated and seemingly unsure of where they stand, dispensaries fear that with a regulated recreational marijuana industry that their days are numbered. State legislators failed come to a consensus in the recent past about whether to stick or twist on the medical marijuana industry, and some foresee the recreational side taking the medical’s spot in the sun—either through state-sanctioned bans or more stringent regulation of it.

Some dispensary owners have adopted a “if you can’t beat them, join them” outlook, and have applied for recreational licenses. Others have adapted and contemplated a to shift, offering more CBD-heavy products in the hope of attracting a growing marijuana population of oil users.

For the time being though, medical marijuana purveyors can enjoy shelter from the fees and taxes levied on their regulated brethren as well as more plentiful supply.

Colorado Tourists Really Packing It In
Statistics continue to flood in concerning Colorado’s fledgling recreational marijuana legalization. Perhaps one of the most interesting findings from a state study is the percentage of recreational users from other states in some areas.

The study determined that nearly 50% of recreational sales in Denver and a whopping 90% in resort towns were to non-Colorado residents.

With only Colorado and Washington currently selling marijuana legally (come on Alaska and Oregon!), the flourishing green tourism is not likely to dry up anytime in the near future.

Medical marijuana, however, still continues to dominate sales.  Through May is responsible for $165m in sales (in comparison to $90m in recreational sales), which is believed to be a result of higher taxes and better availability. This trend could be something to watch for in the future as Washington State is also in the midst of the medical and recreational spoils.

Although high tourism influxes can be bothersome for local residents, all things considered, it’s not a terrible problem to have. At all.

D.C. Decriminalization Makes Debut
Thursday brought a particularly contentious decriminalization effort to a close in Washington D.C. reports the Washington Post, as the 60-day Congressional review period expired. It means that the D.C. Council-approved bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana comes into effect.

Holders will now be fined $25 by D.C. police officers as well as have their marijuana confiscated. Secret Service, Capitol and Park Police, however, will still adhere to the federal statutes and can arrest those found with any amount of marijuana.

It’s not quite legalization (although that is also in the works…), and some House Republicans are still intent on scuttling decriminalization, but it is another step forward for marijuana efforts in the U.S.