cannabisnews.com: Medical-Marijuana Bill Triggering Challenges
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Medical-Marijuana Bill Triggering Challenges
Posted by CN Staff on May 24, 2010 at 04:44:50 PT
By John Ingold, The Denver Post
Source: Denver Post 
Colorado -- Even before Gov. Bill Ritter has signed into law new rules for Colorado's medical-marijuana industry, the next moves in the ongoing chess match of cannabis regulation and adaptation are already taking shape.Last week, a team of attorneys who specialize in medical-marijuana cases met with several dozen potential plaintiffs in preparing a lawsuit to challenge the rules as unconstitutionally restrictive.
At the other end of the spectrum, prosecutors and others who believe the legislature overstepped its authority in liberalizing marijuana regulations were pondering their legal options.City councils that have been unreceptive to medical-marijuana dispensaries began taking steps to formally ban them  something the new rules would allow them to do. Meanwhile, dispensary owners and independent marijuana growers engaged in a mad scramble for dance partners to comply with the rules' requirement that dispensaries grow at least 70 percent of the marijuana they sell.The rules  spelled out in House Bill 1284 and Senate Bill 109  require dispensaries to be licensed at the state and local levels.Dispensary owners must pass a criminal-background check and have lived in the state for two years, with some exceptions. Local governments or voters can ban dispensaries but not small-scale caregivers, who could serve no more than five medical-marijuana patients.Lawyer and medical-marijuana advocate Jessica Corry said the five-patient caregiver limit, the residency requirement for dispensary owners and the option for local dispensary bans are "an incredible slap in the face to the (state) constitution." Snipped   Complete Article: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_15148611Source: Denver Post (CO)Author: John Ingold, The Denver PostPublished: May 24, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Denver Post CorpWebsite: http://www.denverpost.com/Contact: openforum denverpost.comCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/medical.shtml 
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on May 24, 2010 at 21:55:46 PT
If Gov. Bill Ritter signs, lawsuits will follow.
US CO: Editorial: The Unwelcome Backlash - The Reactionaryhttp://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v10/n380/a09.html?397Pubdate: Sun, 23 May 2010
Source: Daily Camera (Boulder, CO)... "The bill is overly punitive to the industry -- for instance only allowing five patients per caregiver and allowing communities to ban them outright. It faces a flurry of lawsuits." ...
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on May 24, 2010 at 21:51:05 PT
FoM,
Comment #1 is good news.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 24, 2010 at 06:17:12 PT
Press Release From ASA
Congress Tries To Stop Denial of Banking Services to Medical Marijuana Providers***Letter sent Friday by 15 Members of Congress to Treasury Secretary Geithner.WASHINGTON - May 24 - - Fifteen Members of Congress sent a letter Friday to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urging him to issue "written guidance for financial institutions," which would commit the Department to not targeting those institutions whose account holders are in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. The patient advocate group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has received dozens of reports over the past couple of years from medical marijuana providers in California, Colorado and other states who have either been denied financial services or had their existing bank accounts terminated with little-to-no justification."It seems clear that legitimate state-legal businesses are being denied access to banking services, which does not serve the public interest," stated the letter authored by Colorado Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), who ASA has been working with to bring this issue to the attention of Treasury. The Congressional letter, which was co-signed by Representatives from Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin, asserted that the denial of financial services produces "an increased risk to public safety with potential theft or robbery that any cash-only or cash-reliant business faces," and is "an affront to fundamental fairness."Some federal prosecutions of medical marijuana cases have included the charge of "money laundering," which according to the government simply means depositing proceeds from a dispensary into a bank account. However, multiple states now expect medical marijuana dispensaries (and by extension, patients) to pay sales tax. "While financial institutions may have valid concerns," said ASA Government Affairs Director Caren Woodson. "The risk to banks is minimal, whereas their refusal to work with state-compliant medical marijuana providers jeopardizes countless people and delegitimizes lawful businesses."ASA has received reports over the past two years that financial institutions such as Bank of America, US Bank, Wells Fargo and Chase have either refused to work with medical marijuana suppliers altogether or more specifically refused to provide credit card transaction services. Gary Kishner, a spokesperson for Chase, told Boulder Weekly that Chase refuses to do business with dispensaries due to "financial operational and compliance risk," but Kishner was unable to explain what that meant. ASA estimates that this widespread financial obstruction has directly impacted hundreds of dispensaries in multiple states.In October 2009, the Justice Department issued its own guidance on enforcement of marijuana laws in medical marijuana states. However, this shift in policy has appeared insufficient for quelling fears in the banking industry. "Americans for Safe Access is working with Congress to obtain a Treasury policy similar to that of the DOJ," continued Woodson. "We appreciate the leadership of Representative Polis and others as we attempt to remove federal obstacles from the implementation of safe access to medical marijuana at the local and state levels."Further Information:Congressional letter to Treasury Secretary Geithner: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Congressional_Letter_to_Treasury.pdfU.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's recent statements before Congress: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMCHmU-nFAMOctober 2009 DOJ directive: http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/archives/192 
URL: http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/05/24
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