The Advocate: Weekly Cannabis News

House Committee expected to hold hearing on safe banking practices

U.S. Congress members are expected to take part in a cannabis-related hearing on Feb. 13th, hosted by the House Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee.

The hearing will address legislation introduced by representatives Denny Heck (D-Wa.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), who have been fighting for safer banking practices for the cannabis industry for the past several years.

If approved, the bill would protect credit unions working with legal operators from facing federal persecution.

“The legislation would provide credit unions and other financial institutions accepting deposits from, extending credit or providing payment services to an individual or business engaged in marijuana-related commerce in states where such activity is legal with appropriate legal protections, so long as they are compliant with all other applicable laws and regulations,” CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle said, in a letter to lawmakers.

Florida representatives appealing ban on smokable cannabis

On Tuesday, Florida House leaders released a proposal that would allow patients to purchase and smoke medicinal cannabis.

But before the bill was released, the Senate Health Policy Committee made significant changes, enough so that the original author of the bill has publicly deemed the new draft to be “worse for patients than doing nothing at all.”

The original proposal was intended to simply remove the ban, allowing for all patients to purchase and use dry flower. But the new changes made by the Health Policy Committee would require patients to receive the approval of multiple doctors before smoking cannabis.

Many advocates and lawmakers disagree with the changes, highlighting the required minimum of doctors visits that come with no guarantee of approval.

The measure “is a bureaucratic mess of red tape and additional boards that have to deliberate and approve whether a patient should be allowed to smoke medical cannabis after a doctor has already recommended it,” stated Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith to the Orlando Sentinel.

House Delegate in West Virginia calls for an adult-use market 

Earlier this week, Republican lawmakers rejected attempts by Democrats to remove cannabis from the state’s list of Schedule 1 controlled substances.

But that didn’t stop House Delegate Mick Bates from advocating for an adult-use market in an op-ed in the Register-Herald.

In the article, Bates highlights the current trend of growing industry demand, writing “it’s only a matter of time before it comes legal in a neighboring state.”

Research published by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy reported that the state could annually collect an estimated $194 million from tourists within a 200-mile radius.

Lawmakers in Tennessee pushing for extensive medical cannabis program

The “Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act” has officially been introduced to House and Senate members.

The bill, sponsored by two republican lawmakers, features a comprehensive list of qualifying conditions that would allow patients to “use the full plant” as they see fit. Unlike other states currently pushing for a medicinal market, representatives haven’t placed any limitations on products or methods of consumption.

Early supporters of the bill believe it may help curb the states ongoing opioid epidemic, which took the lives of 1,186 Tennesseans in 2016.

Supporters of the bill will have the backing of local public demand, which currently indicates a severe need for a medicinal program; recently, WKRN News released a poll that asked viewers if “now is the time to legalize medical marijuana” A total of 4,105 votes were collected, with 88% voting “Yes”.

John Kuster

As Social Media Coordinator, John oversees all things related to getting Revolution Enterprises' unique message out. An Iowa native, John joined the Revolution team to help educate, and inform the public on cannabis and all it has to offer. Prior to joining Revolution, John helped multiple companies grow and expand their reach, ranging from the tech industry to the world of international football. He is thrilled to be working in a rapidly expanding market, and is proud to represent Illinois patients and cannabis advocates across the globe.