Rural California Sheriff, Auditor Spar on Pot Money Spending

BY PAUL ELIAS

ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A California county auditor is accusing a sheriff of improperly spending some of the $1 million his department received in fees from legal pot growers to go after illegal operators.

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Nevada Pot Emergency Shows The Real Size Of America’s Demand For Cannabis

Photo by Javier Hasse. 

This article was originally published on Benzinga, and adapted exclusively for HIGH TIMES.

Nevada started selling cannabis for adult use just a few of weeks ago. Just a few days into legalization, dispensaries were already running low on (or even out of) product. Almost every major media outlet in the U.S. has reported on this event, explaining the shortage was caused by distribution problems and inefficiencies, rather than by a scarcity of weed in the state.

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Pot Industry Insiders On Why The IRS Is Targeting Them—And How To Avoid Business Disruption

Photo by Javier Hasse. 

This article was originally published on Benzinga, and adapted exclusively for HIGH TIMES.

According to several sources in the Colorado cannabis industry, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been trying to prove that marijuana businesses have been illegally trafficking in weed. This would mean they aren’t entitled to the tax deductions they have been claiming (see Author’s Note at the end of this article).

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Small Light at the End of the Tunnel for Weed Industry’s Banking Hassles

Banking has been a pain in the collective butt of the legal weed industry.

With medical or recreational weed legal in more than half the country, wouldn’t you think the Federal Reserve would be dying to get its hands on some of the green being generated?

The federal government’s stubborn insistence on keeping cannabis a Schedule 1 drug adds to the confusion that has produced a sickly gray area, exposing the millions who work in the industry to an endlessly confusing, inconvenient and, worse yet, dangerous legal situation.

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Cannabis Investing Is a Moral Imperative

Last Thursday, a new bill was introduced that would effectively end the federal prohibition on medical cannabis.

While I was certainly happy to see this bipartisan effort created, I was also reminded of how frustrating it is that such a bill needs to be introduced in the first place.

Why do we have to ask permission to treat our own illnesses as we see fit?

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PNC Bank Starts Closing Marijuana Accounts—Advocates Blame Sessions

Fearing that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will make good on his threat to impose a crackdown on the legal cannabis trade, PNC Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in the United States, has decided to sever all ties with any organization connected to marijuana.

According to the Washington Post, PNC recently told national marijuana advocacy group, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), that it was permanently terminating its accounts because an internal audit showed the group distributes funds to assist in efforts to legalize marijuana.

‘‘They told me it is too risky. The bank can’t assume the risk,’’ said Nick Field, MPP’s chief operating officer.

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Marijuana Legalization Is Good for Commercial Real Estate—Contractors Too!

The legalization of marijuana is driving up the cost of commercial real estate in major cities all across the nation.

According to a report from Bloomberg News, marijuana startups hoping to secure retail space in highly populated areas in states that are working to launch recreational marijuana sales—like California and Massachusetts—can expect to shell out significantly more per square foot than what would have been required before legalization.

The report, which is based on the latest data provided by CoStar Group Inc, shows this inflation in rents is nothing that the cannabis industry hasn’t experienced before.

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Legal Pot to Boost California Economy by $5 Billion

California is preparing to launch a fully legal cannabis trade that stands to boost the state’s economy to the tune of $5 billion, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.

The piece, which is based on a new study from the University of California Agricultural Issues Center, says that, while the state’s newest version of a cannabis industry will undoubtedly generate impressive revenues, it will likely take some time before the entire scope of the cannabis community gets onboard with a fully legal system.

The study shows that around 30 percent of the state’s pot buyers will still frequent the black market in order to avoid paying taxes and other aspects of the legal trade.

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Colorado’s Pot Windfall Taxes Figure into State’s Recently Approved Budget

As legal weed in Colorado continues to rake in millions, the state released its budget last Friday. Anti-pot governors and federal legislators should take a good look at the pot tax windfall and how it’s going to be spent.

The budget not only manages to avoid what Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper called “draconian cuts” to hospitals and schools, it actually boosts school funding, averts the expected hospital cuts and secures millions of dollars for a new state-led program to combat homelessness, per the Denver Post.

Colorado’s Marijuana Tax Cash Fund, more than $105 million for the 2016-17 fiscal year, will be spent on health programs in public schools, housing for at-risk populations and a new treatment program to deal with the opioid crisis, according to public state data.

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Brits Waste Tons of Money on Policing Weed—But Not as Much as We Do

One of England’s important political parties, the Liberal Democrats, just announced that one million hours are annually wasted policing the country’s ban on weed.

The Liberal Dems gathered this data from official sources, reported the Independent. Research showed that a total of 87,247 police caseloads were opened in 2015—that amount cost taxpayers an estimated $2,500 per case.

This is a lot of police power and money for a country of 53 million people where cannabis is “freely available and widely used,” according to the Liberal Dems, who say they will legalize cannabis if they are elected in the upcoming elections scheduled for June 8.

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