OC Register Piece Highlights Six Ways That Proposed Federal Bills Would Protect Both Consumers & Business

1 April 2017

1. Add criminal protections: Federal agents could no longer arrest people who are complying with their state’s cannabis laws and slap them with fines or jail time. The feds also couldn’t raid state-legal pot shops and seize their assets. No one could be deported or denied entry to the country for consuming weed in state where it’s legal. And Native American tribes would be protecting from punishment under federal marijuana laws.

2. Open bank access: Banks and credit card companies that handle marijuana funds would get immunity from federal criminal charges. That should help the industry move away from operating all in cash, since financial institutions would no longer have to worry about being penalized for money laundering if they take on cannabis clients.

3. Remove obstacles for research: A new process would make it easier for researchers to study medical marijuana by reducing approval wait times, costly security measures and layers of review that experts say stifle the number and quality of studies now taking place. And once researchers get approval, it would be easier for them to access marijuana for use in their studies. That should increase the volume of rigorous trials involving cannabis.

4. Eliminate tax restrictions: Marijuana retailers would be able to claim tax deductions and credits like any other business. That’s because the bills would make an exception for marijuana in IRS tax rule 280E, which says businesses dealing in Schedule I or II substances can’t write off common expenses such as rent, utilities or advertising. That should save businesses significant money each year.

5. Clear criminal records: Anyone with a federal charge for a marijuana-related activity that was legal in their state at the time or who was charged with possessing an ounce or less of marijuana could petition to have their records cleared. California’s Proposition 64 included a similar provision, though it could only apply to state charges.

6. Allow for federal benefits: People in legal weed states could no longer be drug tested for marijuana when applying for a federal job or denied access to subsidized housing. College students couldn’t be turned down for financial aid because they have minor marijuana offenses on their record. And health care workers at Veteran Affairs clinics could recommend medical marijuana to veterans.

Full Article: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/federal-748103-laws-cluster.html

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