michael bennet

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U.S.: Senators Introduce Industrial Hemp Water Rights Act to Protect Farmers

US Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced bipartisan legislation which would allow farmers to use water they own through private water rights to grow hemp, if the crop is grown legally.

In 2014, in a pilot program created by the 2014 Farm Bill, permission was granted to state Departments of Agriculture to license farmers to grow industrial hemp. However, the Bureau of Reclamation prohibits the use of federally-controlled water for growing hemp, as the plant is listed in the outdated Controlled Substances Act. The conflicting policies are creating confusion for farmers who grow industrial hemp with water from federal reservoirs.

U.S.: Senators to Attorney General Sessions: Reassure Hemp Industry You Will Uphold the Law

Jeff Sessions Uphold Law

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Recently, U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Al Franken (D-MN), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to address their constituents’ concerns regarding the hemp industry’s access to financial services by confirming the Department of Justice will respect Congress’ recent actions on industrial hemp pilot programs.

US: Senators Seek Federal Guidance For Marijuana Business Banking

weed and cash.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Four senators from three states that have legalized recreational marijuana asked federal financial regulators Thursday to issue guidance for financial institutions wishing to offer banking services to marijuana businesses.

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote a letter to the six top federal financial regulators asking multiple agencies to work together to issue joint guidance to financial institutions from regulators across the federal government.

Currently, many legal marijuana businesses in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, and other states with recreational or medical marijuana are forced to run their businesses on a cash-only basis. Banks fear being penalized by the federal government, which still considers marijuana illegal.

This inability to open bank accounts or accept non-cash forms of payment means the businesses have to keep large amounts of cash on hand. Businesses must pay their taxes in cash, creating a logistical challenge for state and local governments to collect taxes.

In 2014, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued guidance on how financial institutions can serve legal marijuana businesses in states that have legalized recreational or medicinal marijuana, but without clearer guidance from all federal regulators to provide certainty in the regulatory environment, most banks and credit unions are still not serving marijuana-related clients.

U.S.: Senators Ask White House To Clarify Federal Marijuana Laws

Senators-PattyMurray,MariaCantwell,MarkUdall,MikeBennet(OmakChronicle)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Senate delegations from Colorado and Washington are seeking clarification from the Obama Administration on the regulations which will impact the legal marijuana trade in those two states.

Democratic Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall of Colorado and Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray of Washington on Monday wrote a letter to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Attorney General Eric Holder, calling for "a clear, consistent and uniform interpretation and application" of federal marijuana laws in relation to their home states, reports Jonathan Topaz at Politico. The letter warns about the current uncertainty surrounding federal cannabis laws.

"We believe the federal government should support Colorado and Washington state's effort to establish a successful regulatory framework in a way that achieves greater certainty for local officials, citizens, and business owners" in the marijuana industry, the senators wrote.

The uncertainty regarding the implementation of federal cannabis laws "may undermine our states' ability to regulate the industry adequately," the senators said.

All four Democrats said they look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to ensure lawful and successful implementation of marijuana legalization in their states.

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