Reported this week in the Daily Herald:
Community banks and credit unions are ready and willing to provide financial services to entrepreneurs in the state’s new legal pot industry. But they aren’t able to, at least not yet.
Marijuana businesses, even ones that will soon be legally licensed in this state, are considered criminal enterprises under federal law, which makes handling their money a crime in the eyes of the Department of Justice.
Until the agency changes its outlook or Congress changes the law — and efforts are under way to do both — those getting into the pot business can’t open a bank account, secure a line of credit or obtain a loan from a federally insured financial institution in their neighborhood.
Fortunately, there is already a bill Congress could act upon to resolve this issue. Earlier this year, Representatives Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) and Denny Heck (WA – 10), along with a bipartisan group of 16 other Republicans and Democrats, introduced legislation that would reform federal banking laws relating to marijuana businesses. HR 2652: The Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act of 2013 updates federal banking rules to resolve conflicts between federal and state laws and would allow marijuana businesses acting in compliance with state law to access banking services.
Under current federal banking laws, many legal, regulated legitimate marijuana businesses that follow state law are prevented from opening bank accounts and operating as any other businesses would, which could ultimately lead to crime such as robbery and tax evasion in addition to the already onerous burden of setting up a legitimate small business.
Please take a minute of your time today to utilize NORML’s Take Action Center to contact your elected officials and urge them to support this important legislation. You can do so by clicking here.
The 2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference is fast approaching. For three days from October 23rd through October 26th attendees will have the opportunity to interact with people committed to finding alternatives to the war on drugs while participating in sessions given by leading experts from around the world. This year’s conference is taking place in Denver, Colorado, where the drug policy reform landscape has just recently changed dramatically. In 2011, the conference hosted over 1,000 people representing 30 different countries. We wish to continue this stellar record of attendance and are pleased to offer scholarship assistance to allow a diverse group of people to participate.
We encourage you to attend the conference and have included the link to information about the National and International Scholarship applications here. Please be aware that although generous, our scholarships do not cover the full cost of attending the Conference. The deadline to apply for scholarships if you are from the US is August 2, for international attendees it is July 31.
Numerous NORML staff, board members and chapter leaders will be in attendance for this important bi-annual drug policy reform conference…hope to see you there too!
Allen St. Pierre
Daylin Leach has been an outspoken advocate on the issue of marijuana law reform during his tenure in Harrisburg. Senator Leach made a splash legislatively this year when he introduced Senate Bill 528, which would legalize and regulate the adult use of marijuana in Pennsylvania, the first time such a bill was introduced in the state.
Senator Leach was also featured as the keynote speaker at the first ever NORML Mid-Atlantic Conference which was held this March in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. You can view video of his remarks here.
State Senator Leach is now looking to take his advocacy to Capitol Hill. He is running for an open seat representing Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives that will be vacated by Congresswoman Alison Schwartz, who is stepping down from her post to pursue the governorship in 2014. While the Democratic Primary for this position won’t be held until May of next year, Senator Leach’s campaign is already kicking into full gear and he is emerging as an early favorite in the race. In a statement released to NORML, Senator Leach has made clear that he intends to continue his fight for marijuana legalization while serving at the federal level:
“We have spent billions of dollars nationally investigating, prosecuting, incarcerating, and monitoring millions of our fellow citizens who have hurt no one, damaged no property, breached no peace. In 15 years marijuana prohibition will be some quaint thing of the past that will be the subject of exhibitions at the Constitution Center. People will think it’s crazy that it was ever illegal. As State Senator in Pennsylvania I introduced legislation to end this costly, failed policy of marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization and regulation. If elected to the United States House of Representatives I will continue to fight for rational marijuana policies at the national level and work to bring an end to this discriminatory, ineffective prohibition.” – Pennsylvania State Senator and NORML PAC Supported US House Candidate, Daylin Leach
We need more passionate supporters like Senator Leach in Washington, DC. As public opinion swings further in the direction of full legalization everyday, we can only hope Senator Leach’s candidacy, and his potential future terms in the House of Representatives, inspires more of his colleagues to join him in the fight for reforming our country’s marijuana laws. With more federal elected officials who can speak as articulately about the problems of our failed prohibition and the benefits of moving to a legalized, regulated system as Senator Leach, we will see reforms occur at the federal level sooner rather than later.
DFW NORML proudly presents the Texas Regional NORML Conference at the Norris Conference Center (304 Houston St. Fort Worth, Texas 76102-7404) in downtown Fort Worth from June 7 – 9. This historic event includes over a dozen speakers such as Keith Stroup, founder of NORML, Judge Jim Gray, the 2012 Libertarian Party Vice Presidential Nominee, expert cultivation and concentrate tips, medicinal alternatives to smoking, an exclusive screening of the new documentary American Drug War 2: Cannabis Destiny, patient testimonials, a hemp fashion show, reception and live art show, two after parties, vendors, prizes and more than a few surprises.
The primary goals for the Texas Regional NORML Conference are:
1.) Give Texans an honest, entertaining and interactive cannabis education.
2.) Showcase the strength of the Texas effort to end prohibition.
3.) Call all Texans to action because now is the time to get involved!
This historic event includes over a dozen speakers including Keith Stroup, founder of NORML, an exclusive screening of the new documentary American Drug War 2: Cannabis Destiny, expert cultivation and concentrate tips, a hemp fashion show, reception and live art show, two after parties, vendors, prizes and more than a few surprises.
Get your 3 Day pass for a $100 donation which includes all days of the conference, the reception, both after parties and a swag bag full of goodies provided by our generous sponsors. Discounted pricing available for students, seniors, veterans, media and NORML chapters.
The deadline for online registration of the Texas Regional NORML Conference is 6/7. Otherwise, you can register in person 6/7 – 6/9 for the same price!
(Click the names with links to view short videos with the speakers)
- Judge Jim Gray, 2012 Libertarian Party Vice Presidential Nominee and author of“Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It”
- Keith Stroup, Founder & Legal Counsel at NORML
- “Radical” Russ Belville of 420radio.org
- Mike Hyde – Founder of the Cash Hyde Foundation and father of Cash Hyde
- Cheyanne Weldon, Executive Director of Texas NORML
- Shaun McAlister, Executive Director of DFW NORML
- Erik Altieri, Communications Director & Chapter Coordinator for NORML
- Jamie Balagia – Public Information Officer and Attorney at San Antonio NORML
- Joy Strickland – Founder of Mothers Against Teen Violence
- Clif Deuvall – Co-chair of Texas at US Marijuana Party of Texas, Chairman at Texas Cannabis Party and Founder Norml of Waco Inc. at NORML
- Leslie Burgoyne, DFW NORML Family Law Attorney
- Reverend Russell Elleven – Unitarian Universalist Minister
- Derek Cross – Author at Hemp Healthy Today
- Allen Patterson – Chairman of the Tarrant County Libertarian Party
- Larry Talley – Strategist for DFW NORML, speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and retired US Navy
- Terry Nelson – Executive Board Member at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), former Border Patrol agent and Homeland Security Supervisor
- Toni Ann Hanskett-Mills – Patient Advocate for Medical Cannabis Patients with 28 yrs experience in Direct Patient Care
- Stephen Betzen – Founder of the Texas Coalition for Compassionate Care
- Margarita McAuliffe – Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Texas Moms United
Hope to see you in Texas soon!
A group of five bipartisan lawmakers have introduced legislation to make New Hampshire the third state to legalize and regulate the adult use of marijuana.
House Bill 492 legalizes the possession of up to an ounce or less of marijuana and the private cultivation of a limited number of marijuana plants for adults 21 years of age and older. HB 492 would also allow for licensed commercial cultivation and sale of marijuana. Full text of this measure can be read here.
Polling conducted in January of 2013 by Public Policy Polling reported that 53% of New Hampshire voters support changing state law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol, only 37% were opposed.
Including New Hampshire, there is now a total of six states considering legislation to fully legalize marijuana. It is imperative that your elected officials hear from you in support of this measure. If you live in one of the six states (Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont) considering the legalization of marijuana for all adults, you can click on the appropriate link below and go directly to your state’s action alert. You can also click here to see if your state is considering any legislation pertaining to marijuana law reform.
Tell Your Elected Officials to Support Marijuana Legalization!