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Eric Holder Just Announced A Major Shift On U.S. Marijuana Policy

Eric Holder Just Announced A Major Shift On U.S. Marijuana Policy.

Jan 23 (Reuters) – U.S. treasury and law enforcement agencies will soon issue regulations opening banking services to state-sanctioned marijuana businesses even though cannabis remains classified an illegal narcotic under federal law, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday.

Holder said the new rules would address problems faced by newly licensed recreational pot retailers in Colorado, and medical marijuana dispensaries in other states, in operating on a cash-only basis, without access to banking services or credit.

Proprietors of state-licensed marijuana distributors in Colorado and elsewhere have complained of having to purchase inventory, pay employees and conduct sales entirely in cash, requiring elaborate and expensive security measures and putting them at a high risk of robbery.

It also makes accounting for state sales tax-collection purposes difficult.

“You don’t want just huge amounts of cash in these places,” Holder told the audience at the University of Virginia. “They want to be able to use the banking system. And so we will be issuing some regulations I think very soon to deal with that issue.”

Holder’s comments echoed remarks by his deputy, James Cole, in September during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill.

Colorado this month became the first state to open retail outlets legally permitted to sell marijuana to adults for recreational purposes, in a system similar to what many states have long had in place for alcohol sales.

Washington state is slated to launch its own marijuana retail network later this year, and several other states, including California, Oregon and Alaska, are expected to consider legalizing recreational weed in 2014.

The number of states approving marijuana for medical purposes has also been growing. California was the first in 1996, and has since been followed by about 20 other states and the District of Columbia.

But the fledgling recreational pot markets in Colorado and Washington state have sent a new wave of cannabis proprietors clamoring to obtain loans and make deposits in banks and credit unions.

The Justice Department announced in August that the administration would give new latitude to states experimenting with taxation and regulation of marijuana.

But with the drug still outlawed at the federal level, banks are barred under money-laundering rules from handling proceeds from marijuana sales even in states where pot sales have been made legal.

The lack of credit for marijuana businesses, however, poses its own criminal justice concerns, Holder said.

“There’s a public safety component to this,” he said. “Huge amounts of cash – substantial amounts of cash just kind of lying around with no place for it to be appropriately deposited – is something that would worry me just from a law enforcement perspective.”

Holder did not offer any specifics on a timeline for action on banking services for marijuana. Cole in September said the Justice Department was working on the issue with the Treasury Department’s financial crimes enforcement network.

Critics of liberalized marijuana laws have said the lack of credit faced by pot retailers was beside the point.

“We are in the midst of creating a corporate, for-profit marijuana industry that has to rely on addiction for profit, and that’s a much bigger issue than whether these stores take American Express,” said Kevin Sabet, co-founder of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana. (Reporting by David Ingram in Charlottesville, Virginia; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Steve Gorman and Lisa Shumaker)

Activist Post: Marijuana: So Evil, the U.S. Gov’t Owns the Patent “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants”

Activist Post: Marijuana: So Evil, the U.S. Gov’t Owns the Patent “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants”
On January 1st, Colorado became the first state in the nation to legally sell marijuana for recreational purposes.

Hoax stories tell of blood raining in the streets of the state following the legalization, while Internet memes everywhere are pointing out the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration admits legal prescription drugs kill 100,000 Americans every year (while marijuana has never been linked to any overdose deaths).

This is also going to be a financial boon for the state, considering all the taxes it will rake in (an estimated $67 million a year, not to mention the millions of dollars saved in law enforcement costs for enforcing marijuana prohibition), and many are calling it a first step in nationwide legalization.

Regardless of whether or not you personally agree with marijuana legalization, would it surprise you to know that the U.S. government, via the Department of Health and Human Services, actually owns a patent on the use marijuana’s primary active ingredients as both “antioxidants” and “neuroprotectants”?

It’s U.S. Patent #6,630,507 titled ”Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants,” dated October 7, 2003:

Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.

Seeeerioussssslyyyyy dude. Marijuana is used to treat actual diseases and disorders; it hasn’t been shown to cause them.

Parents Matt and Paige Figi would certainly agree in regard to marijuana’s neuroprotectant effects; their six-year-old was diagnosed with the rare and often deadly Dravet Syndrome. She was having upwards of 300 seizures a week. After putting her on all manner of pharmaceuticals, the parents finally turned to medicinal marijuana. Now their daughter might have one seizure a week (but sometimes she doesn’t have any).

Medicinal marijuana, already legal in 20 states, allows people to use it for treatment of everything from chronic pain to glaucoma to arthritis to offsetting the effects of harsh cancer treatments. Speaking of, studies have also shown that cannabinoids have anti-cancer properties as well.

Meanwhile, marijuana still accounts for half of all illicit drug violations and billions spent annually in law enforcement costs in a country that puts more people in prison per capita than any other nation in the world, with nearly 700,000 people arrested per year for marijuana possession alone. In a recent study on the racially biased aspect of marijuana prohibition, the ACLU noted that the drug is actually overcriminalized, as cops averaged one pot bust every 37 seconds just in 2010; further studies revealed that more marijuana arrests did not contribute to less violent crime overall.

When put in contrast with the fact that alcohol, perfectly legal in the U.S., is responsible for 4% of deaths every year worldwide — more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence — the claim that marijuana prohibition is ultimately in the public interest is unconvincing at best.

Melissa Melton is a writer, researcher, and analyst for The Daily Sheeple, where this first appeared, and a co-creator of Truthstream Media. Wake the flock up!

Canadian Kids Smoke Most Marijuana In Western World: UNICEF

Canadian Kids Smoke Most Marijuana In Western World: UNICEF.

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