WeedVoice

An online media news aggregator and blog for the cannabis and hemp industry world-wide.

House democrats introduce bill to include cannabis businesses in coronavirus relief - Cannabis News

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) have introduced a bill to make legal cannabis businesses eligible for federal coronavirus relief aid meant for small businesses.

The legislation would grant the businesses eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program PPP, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and other aid. A $483 billion interim coronavirus aid package, which will replenish the small-business lending program, is set to pass the House on Thursday, but it excludes marijuana companies from receiving aid.

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Alex Gangitano ~ TheHill.com ~ 

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Montana: Recreational cannabis group seeks OK to gather electronic signatures - Cannabis News

A group working to legalize recreational marijuana use has sued the Montana Secretary of State for permission to collect signatures electronically as measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have stymied their ability to carry out the traditional gathering process.

New Approach Montana filed its request for an injunction on April 6 in Lewis and Clark County District Court to temporarily halt the enforcement of in-person signature gathering requirements so that the group can use a third party — DocuSign, a company specializing in electronic agreements and with whom New Approach has already arranged a contract — to facilitate the process.

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Seaborn Larson ~ Missoulian.com ~ 

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Colorado Governor Asks Congress To Let Marijuana Businesses Get Coronavirus Aid Funds - Cannabis News

“Unfortunately, a large number of small businesses in Colorado are not eligible for these loans due to their involvement in the state-legal cannabis industry, which is a major employer and tax revenue generator in our state,” Gov. Jared Polis (D) wrote in a letter to a Colorado congressman on Monday.

Even as many states deem marijuana businesses to be “essential” operations that can continue their activities during the coronavirus pandemic, ongoing federal cannabis prohibition means they can’t get access to relief funds available to other industries under COVID-19 legislation passed by Congress.

The governor of Colorado is seeking to change that.

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Tom Angell ~ Forbes.com ~ 

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Marijuana lobby calls for relief from states - Cannabis News

The cannabis industry lobby urged governors to provide state-based loans for their businesses because cannabis companies are not eligible to receive funds from the coronavirus relief package.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), a $2.2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress in March, prohibits businesses engaged in cannabis-related activity from receiving any small business loans.

Six groups, including the National Cannabis Industry Association and National Cannabis Roundtable, wrote a letter to state treasurers and governors to ask for their help on Thursday.

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Alex Gangitano ~ TheHill.com ~ 

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North Dakota marijuana legalization group changes plans - Cannabis News

Supporters of a ballot measure to legalize marijuana in North Dakota are delaying their effort to the next election cycle.

Legalize ND posted to its social media accounts on Thursday that due to the coronavirus pandemic, the group will aim for the June 2022 primary ballot instead of the Nov. 3 general election.

"Due to the virus all of our major avenues for signature collection have been cancelled or indefinitely postponed, and going door to door is not safe for both those knocking and those getting knocked," read the group's Facebook post.

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Jack Dura ~ Bismark Tribune ~ 

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Letting VA Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana To Veterans Won’t Cost Anything, Congressional Analysts Say - Cannabis News

A bill that would allow doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recommend medical marijuana to military veterans would have zero fiscal impact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said on Wednesday.

Two weeks after the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee approved the Veterans Equal Access Act, sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), CBO released its score of the legislation.

The office estimates that there would be no additional expenses associated with allowing VA doctors to issue cannabis recommendations.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Connecticut Residents Strongly Support Legalizing Marijuana, Poll Shows - Cannabis News

A majority of Connecticut residents favor legalizing marijuana, according to a new poll released on Thursday.

But even among those who oppose the reform move, a significant number said they could still be persuaded under certain circumstances, the survey found.

As lawmakers push to advance a governor-backed legalization bill, the poll showing that 63.4 percent of state residents support ending cannabis prohibition comes as a welcome result for advocates. 

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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New bill would change Utah’s medical marijuana program again

SALT LAKE CITY — A new bill again tweaking Utah’s medical marijuana program received a favorable recommendation from a Senate committee Monday, moving it to final passage in the full Senate.

Bill sponsor Rep. Jen Dailey-Provost, D-Salt Lake City, called the bill “critical” in helping the program, which launched at the beginning of this month, run smoothly.

Among larger changes, HB425 would lengthen the time of validity of an initial medical cannabis card; allow patients with a letter from a medical professional to purchase medical marijuana from a pharmacy through the rest of the year without a card; and remove a limit on the size of signage a cultivator of pharmacy can use.

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Ashley Imlay ~ Deseret News

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Mnuchin details IRS challenges with cash-only marijuana businesses - Cannabis News

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that the cash-only nature of marijuana businesses poses challenges for the IRS.

"This creates significant problems for the IRS," Mnuchin said at a hearing held by a House Appropriations subcommittee.

Many states have legalized medical or recreational marijuana.

However, banks have been hesitant to serve marijuana businesses even in states that have legalized use of the drug because they want to avoid violating federal anti-money laundering and illicit finance laws. That has led to cash-only marijuana businesses.

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Bill To Legalize Marijuana Sales Officially Passes Vermont House Of Representatives - Cannabis News

The Vermont House of Representatives finalized its approval of a bill to legalize the retail sale of marijuana on Thursday, but Gov. Phil Scott (R) said he’s not happy with at least one key component of the legislation.

Though the House cast a strong initial vote in favor of the legislation on Wednesday, the measure required one additional vote to formally clear the chamber.

Members gave third reading passage to the bill in a voice vote. 

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Presidential Candidates Clash Over Marijuana Legalization At Democratic Debate - Cannabis News

The Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina on Tuesday revealed fissures in how the candidates view marijuana reform.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg doubled down on his opposition to legalization and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) faced questions about the logistics of his plan to legalize in all 50 days on the first day of his presidency.

The exchange began when a moderator asked Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) whether Sanders’s proposal to use executive action to legalize cannabis nationwide on the day he takes office and also expunge prior marijuana convictions was realistic. 

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Seven Governors Talk Marijuana Policy At Annual Conference - Cannabis News

Seven governors from across the country discussed marijuana issues at an annual policy conference on Friday.

Like last year’s event, the elected officials touched on a wide range of cannabis issues, from social equity to federal reform to competing with other legalized states.

One even joked about growing marijuana in the governor’s mansion… Here’s a roundup of what the governors said at Politico’s State Solutions forum.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Connecticut Governor Renews Call For Recreational Marijuana - Cannabis News

Connecticut may be the next state to legalize recreational marijuana.

Gov. Ned Lamont’s push for legalization was unsuccessful last year. However, during his State of the State address Wednesday, he said it’s necessary to keep residents safe.

“Legalized marijuana is just a short drive away in Massachusetts and New York is soon to follow. I believe that a coordinated, regional regulation is our best chance to protect public health by displacing illicit sellers and replacing them with trusted providers,” he said in his speech.

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CBS New York ~ 

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New York Governor Includes Marijuana Legalization In New Budget Plan - Cannabis News

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) included marijuana legalization in his budget proposal on Tuesday, setting the stage for another reform push in the legislature as the 2020 session gets underway.

The move comes as a new poll shows that voter support for ending cannabis prohibition is at its highest level ever in the state.

While Cuomo put a similar plan in his budget last year, he ultimately dropped it as it became clear that lawmakers could not come to an agreement on the finer points of legalization ahead of legislative deadlines.

His administration is optimistic that this year will be different.

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Marijuana legalization may hit 40 states. Now what? - Cannabis News

Changes in state laws could usher in even more confusion for law enforcement and escalate the pressure on Congress to act.

More than 40 U.S. states could allow some form of legal marijuana by the end of 2020, including deep red Mississippi and South Dakota — and they’re doing it with the help of some conservatives.

State lawmakers are teeing up their bills as legislative sessions kick off around the country, and advocates pushing ballot measures are racing to collect and certify signatures to meet deadlines for getting their questions to voters.

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Mona Zhang ~ Politico.com ~ 

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Pot politics: Some Northeast states regroup on legalization - Cannabis News

A year ago, marijuana legalization looked like it was on a roll in the Northeast — it had already passed in three of the region’s states and was a priority for governors in three more, including the populous New York.

Now, after legislative efforts stalled and a vaping sickness stirred new concerns, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut still want to make recreational pot legal.

And they and Pennsylvania’s governor have been comparing notes on how to do it.

“This year, let’s work with our neighbors ... to coordinate a safe and fair system,” New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week. His state hosted the four Democratic governors for an October summit on the issue.

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Hawaii’s Marijuana Decriminalization Law Is Officially In Effect - Cannabis News

Low-level marijuana possession is no longer punishable by the threat of jail time in Hawaii.

On Saturday, a cannabis reform bill that Gov. David Ige (D) allowed to go into law without his signature went into effect.

From now on, individuals who possess three grams or less of marijuana will face a $130 fine, without the possibility of incarceration.

Though the possession threshold is considerably lower compared to other states that have approved decriminalization policies, advocates are optimistic that this is a first step toward broader reform.

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Medical marijuana initiative added to November ballot in Mississippi - Cannabis News

The Mississippi Secretary of State set Nov. 3 as the date voters will decide on medical marijuana.

Delbert Hosemann sent the notification to the Mississippi Legislature Tuesday notifying lawmakers the measure would be added to the ballot.

The proposed measure includes 22 conditions people could consult a physician and have marijuana prescribed as a treatment.

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Melvin Carlock ~ WTVA.com ~ 

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Marijuana On The 2020 Ballot: These States Could Vote - Cannabis News

Some of these would be citizen-led voter initiatives where activists collect signatures to qualify a measure for the ballot, while others would be referendums that lawmakers place before voters.

Ever since Colorado and Washington became the first two states to approve marijuana legalization initiatives in 2012, additional states have joined them in each biennial election that has followed.

And 2020 could be a banner year for cannabis on the ballot.

There are at least 16 states where advocates believe marijuana measures could go before voters next year -- some considering full-scale recreational legalization while others would focus on medical cannabis.

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South Dakota Will Vote on Medical Marijuana Legalization in 2020 - Cannabis News

South Dakota residents will vote on legalizing medical marijuana in 2020 after a petition calling for a ballot measure secured more than 25,000 valid signatures.

A petition needs to garner support from at least 16,961 signatories in order to be placed on the ballot as an initiated measure in a referendum.

A group called New Approach South Dakota submitted the petition with more than 30,000 signatures on it last month.

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Martin Green ~ Grizzle.com ~ 

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