financial

Arizona: 4th of July Themed Billboard Highlights Benefits of Marijuana Legalization

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Backers of the ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona have launched an Independence Day-themed billboard to highlight the benefits of regulating and taxing marijuana.

“If Arizona regulates marijuana,” the billboard reads, “adults could buy American,” instead of buying marijuana that has been illegally smuggled across the Mexican border into Arizona. The ad also notes that revenue from regulated marijuana sales would “support schools, not cartels.”

The proposed initiative would initially generate an estimated $64 million in annual tax revenue, including $51 million for K-12 education and all-day kindergarten programs, according to an independent study conducted by the Grand Canyon Institute.

U.S.: Credit Union Fights In Court To Become World's First Marijuana Bank

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In a high-stakes, closely watched lawsuit, the founders of the Fourth Corner Credit Union, which wants to become the world's first bank focused on the marijuana industry, is suing the U.S. Federal Reserve for the right to do so.

There's more at stake that just the fate of the credit union, reports Joel Warner at the International Business Times. The results of the case could have a ripple effect across the cannabis industry, which everyone agrees is currently lacking proper financial services.

"This transcript is going to be read around the world and your decision will have an effect around the United States in a major, major way," Mark Mason, attorney for the plaintiffs, told Judge R. Brooke Jackson on Monday.

"This isn't something that is going away," Mason said during his impassioned oral arguments for the credit union, whose founders include several members of his immediate family. “This is something that is going to be a part of the next generation and the future, and we need to get it right. And if we are not going to have banking ... and have millions and millions of dollars on the streets where bad things can happen, that is not responsible.”

Colorado: Feds Reject Marijuana Bank

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The federal government has dealt yet another setback to attempts to provide banking services to the marijuana industry.

The Federal Reserve, in a Wednesday court filing, said it doesn't intend to accept any money connected to cannabis sales, because marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, reports the Associated Press.

The stance, taken in response to an attempt by a Colorado-based company, appears to signal a shift in the position of the federal government. Last year, the U.S. Treasury Department had issued rules for how banks can accept marijuana money.

"We're frustrated," said Andrew Freedman, in charge of marijuana coordination for Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. "We tried to do the most with the building blocks of instructions they sent us, set up the most rigorous solution. And we still are left with confusion."

The court filing came in a legal tussle between the Federal Reserve and Fourth Corner Credit Union, established in 2014 to serve Colorado's marijuana industry, now worth $700 million annually.

Fourth Corner can't open without permission from the Federal Reserve, which said in its court filing that "transporting or transmitting funds known to have derived from the distribution of marijuana is illegal."a

U.S.: MJPayment Offers Integrated Cash Management System To Marijuana Industry

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MJPayment on Friday launched what the company described as "an innovative and powerful cash management and logistics solution for the legal marijuana industry."

According to a prepared statement from the company, "MJPayment is taking the headache out of Cash Management with a complete financial solution that allows customers the flexibility to meet their changing demands."

The company is calling MJPayment "the first and only integrated financial solution for the marijuana industry." According to MJPayment, it "provides cash management, logistics, and payment solutions to the marijuana industry and their suppliers."

MJPayment says its partnerships allow customers to integrate everything from cash logistics and point-of-sale systems, to cashless consumer and supplier payment solutions.

The company says MJPayment provides a one-source helping hand by:

• Removing cash handling and security cost from client businesses

• Reducing administration costs

• Creating and maintaining a cashless business

• Paying bills and invoices electronically

• Providing cash management solutions for personal and business use

• Offering 24-hour customer support and rewards programs

"Our unparalleled experience is evident in our ability to deliver a wide selection of cost-effective solutions designed to fit each clients' unique needs," said Timothy Harrington, president of MJPayment. "We work to configure a solution tailored to a demanding customer base.

Colorado OKs Marijuana Credit Union

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana businesses in Colorado have plenty of cash flowing in, but are having a difficult time finding a legal place to put it.

Most banks still refuse to work with marijuana businesses, because they fear enforcement of federal banking laws, reports Alizeh Siddiqui at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). Cannabis, is, of course, illegal at the federal level. Now, a new credit union designed specifically for the legal marijuana industry hopes to offer a solution, reports Trevor Hughes at USA Today.

The Fourth Corner Credit Union plans to open within two weeks in Denver, offering to accept cash deposits and to allow members to make electronic cash transfers for payroll and rent, and to buy supplies.

"We are on the one-yard line," said attorney Mark Mason, who is advising the credit union's nine founders.

Banking regulators in Colorado granted Fourth Corner a charter on November 19, and now the union is waiting for the Federal Reserve to issue it a master account number, which would give it access to the U.S. electronic banking system. The credit union's organizers believe it will get the number without a fight, because the Federal Reserve is required give out numbers to organizations that have already been granted state charters.

Maryland: Study Says State Could Make $40 Million From Legal Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new study indicates that if Maryland legalized marijuana, it would bring Maryland more than $40 million in taxes revenues.

The study by financial advisory company Nerd Wallet found that the United States would make $3 billion in taxes if cannabis were legally sold; it then broke down what every state could expect in marijuana revenue, reports Megan Pringle at WBAL-TV.

Due to the illegal nature of marijuana in 48 states, it's hard to get good numbers on the amount of weed that's bought and consumed. To estimate what each state would get from cannabis sales, Nerd Wallet said it had to rely on how many people report smoking pot to the federal government -- so it's a pretty safe bet that there numbers are substantially low.

The study found that in Maryland, more than 145,000 people use cannabis. Based on that, and estimated tax revenues, if marijuana were legal, it would bring Maryland $40,548,337m, the study estimated.

California would make the most, at $500 million, while Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota would make the least, each with less than $10 million, the study showed.

Texas, Washington, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida are all estimated to get more than $100 million from legalization.

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