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Normal Taxes for Marijuana Growers? Think Again

The debate on whether marijuana cultivation should be considered a commercial activity or an agricultural undertaking rages on. But why should you care? Because the answer will significantly impact the federal taxes of anyone who grows and sells marijuana. Washington and Colorado have already decided how to tax marijuana at the retail level, but both are still trying to figure out how to tax marijuana production. The AP tells us that some lawmakers in both states say marijuana growers should not be eligible for the tax breaks given to farmers who grow "conventional" crops. Other lawmakers say that marijuana, while it is growing, should be treated just like hops and barley that go on to become highly taxed alcohol.

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Feds Green Light Marijuana Banking

The Department of Treasury today issued guidance for financial institutions that want to do business with the marijuana industry. The primary force keeping banks away from the marijuana industry has always been regulations issued by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) dealing with money laundering. The Bank Secrecy Act that FinCEN enforces requires banks to investigate their customers and to neither negligently or knowingly do business with bad actors. State-legal marijuana businesses have always fallen into the category of bad actors for the banks, so they avoided potential fines by refusing to provide banking services to marijuana businesses. Today's regulations, however, clarify that banks can provide services to marijuana businesses without running afoul of federal regulations, so long as they abide by the following:

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How To Protect Your Cannabis Brand, Part III

If you want to eventually own a national cannabis/marijuana brand, you should take steps to establish and protect your trademarks now. Since cannabis and cannabis paraphernalia remain federally controlled, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will not issue a federal trademark registration for products that fall into either category. However, it is possible to obtain protection for your trademarks in those states that have legalized the medical and/or recreational use of cannabis. Here is what you should do now:

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LCB Says No Delays on Licenses.

Despite the fact that Washington’s Liquor Control Board (LCB) has decided to allow people with non-compliant locations a 30-day extension to find new digs before being booted from the licensing process, the Board promises that those extensions will not delay the licensing process for those who found compliant locations from the get-go. The LCB sent

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How To Draft An Effective Marijuana Contract

Legalized cannabis has so far been confined only to certain states and cannabis remains illegal under federal law. If you have a marijuana business in a state where marijuana is legal, you need to draft your contracts so as to account for this state/federal dichotomy because if you don't, you may find yourself unable to enforce your contract.

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Cannabis Banking Laws That Work. Maybe Soon

Nothing much really new in this Fox News article, Colorado's pot tax revenues could go up in smoke, says lawmaker, but it does a really nice job in laying out the banking issues legal cannabis businesses are facing. The article explains why the lack of banking for marijuana businesses is causing problems for both the businesses themselves and the states that would like to collect taxes on marijuana revenues. It also provides a concise update on where the federal government (as relayed by Eric Holder) stands on all this.

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Cannabis In Oregon. Legalization Is Coming, And Soon!

I spoke this past Saturday in Portland, Oregon, at the National Cannabis Industry Association‘s Northwest CannaBusiness Symposium. My panel was on government relations and marijuana legalization and regulation. I shared the stage with Congressman Earl Blumenauer, a known champion of the marijuana legalization movement in Congress and a loyal Oregonian, and two other panelists. Blumenauer’s

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Illinois to its Medical Marijuana Patients: Your Cannabis or Your Gun

Last week the Illinois Department of Public Health was the first Illinois State agency to releasing draft rules for regulating patient access to medical cannabis. The rules are available here and DPH is accepting public comments through February 7 (more information available here). The rule garnering the most attention right now is proposed § 946.230(c), which lists what patient applicants must do to qualify for medical cannabis in Illinois. Most of the requirements are relatively unsurprising. Cannabis patients must certify that they understand that possession and use of marijuana is still a federal crime, that they will keep their records up-to-date, that they will not transfer or re-sell their medical marijuana, that smoking in public is not allowed, etc. Certainly nothing earth shattering. But there is this kicker at the very end of the list: