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National News - April 2019

Dogs Ingest Cannabis at a Dog Park 

Two dog owners say their pets became sick after walking off-leash at Mount Philo State Park in Charlotte, Vermont. One says her dog tested positive for THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, stating that her dog became wobbly and incontinent after they returned home. Blood and urine tests showed the presence of marijuana, which she believes the dog ingested while at the park. The owner placed signs around the park to warn other dog owners of the possible threat. Another dog owner also reported that her dog seemed sleepy and was having difficulty standing up after they returned from a walk with friends. She told the Burlington Free Press that the dog vomited and later improved. She says she learned her friends’ two dogs had similar symptoms. 

Banking Reform in the Cannabis Industry on the Horizon?

Thousands of cannabis businesses are popping up across the United States as more and more states begin to pass marijuana reforms for both medicinal and recreational use, however an important problem remains: banking access. Since cannabis remains illegal under federal law — and the federal government oversees all US banks and all credit unions — banks are often discouraged about granting bank accounts to Cannabis based businesses. The failure to find a policy solution at the federal level has created several economic challenges and costly unintended consequences. Congress needs to pass legislation that makes clear that banks can work with marijuana companies in states that have legalized it without fear of penalty or costly red tape as well as costly IRS audits.

Only one in about 30 banks or credit unions across the United States accepts a cannabis business as a customer. Those that do take on cannabis companies often charge them hefty monthly account and transaction fees, in part to help offset the extra costs they incur by doing so. While there is no law that says banks can or cannot do business with cannabis companies, banks are required to file reports to Uncle Sam detailing a customer's suspicious or illegal activities as they see fit, which can prove costly. 

Banks can be subject to large fines if it incorrectly reports on its transactions, or if a future bank regulator accuses it of not following the reporting guidance properly. The reporting can be extensive, often covering every single action a customer takes, as it is based on the premise that the illegal activity is happening underground and the money trail is necessary to find the criminals. One small credit union in Oregon that serves marijuana businesses filed 13,500 reports over the past two years for approximately 500 cannabis clients. The cost of these reports are passed on to the marijuana companies — often at a high premium — and then on to consumers. This can make it more difficult for sick patients to afford state-regulated medical marijuana products and can lead to higher arrest rates among people who can't afford to buy on the legal market and have to resort to getting their medicine elsewhere.

Denver Police Out in Full Force

With police out in full force this 4/20 weekend, a safe ride is 100 percent worth the cost. Two rideshare giants are taking the edge off by offering discounts for those celebrating/rallying for the cannabis cause in Denver and beyond. The promotions launch as the Colorado Department of Transportation amps up its efforts to keep stoned drivers off the road. The state agency’s recent survey called The Cannabis Conversation shows some alarming data. Out of 11,000 anonymous marijuana users and non-users:

• 70 percent say they have driven high within the last year
• 27 percent admit they drive high almost daily
• 10 percent of all users think it makes them a better driver
• 69 percent of all respondents know that if you drive high, you can get a DUI

Out of the non-users polled, 35 percent say they have been a passenger with a driver who is under the influence of marijuana.

Lyft is teaming up with 420 On the Block, CDOT, Super Troopers 2 and the Marijuana Industry Group to drive the message home to Denver: This 420, Don’t Smoke and Drive. For new and existing Lyft users, the ride share is offering: 

20% off of your next Denver ride, up to $4.20, until May 30, with the code 420DEN

20% off ride to 420 On the Block at the Fox Street Compound with promo code 420OTB18 (from 4/20 to 4/22, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.) 

Colorado State Patrol troopers warn that they will be out in “full force to keep the roads safe” throughout the month of April. CSP says it has issued over 3,000 marijuana related driving citations since legalization in 2014, with each citation comes high fines, time in court and stiff penalties.

The Cannabis Industry Creating Jobs Across the U.S.

How many jobs are there in the legal cannabis industry? It’s a common question—and one the government refuses to answer, because cannabis remains federally illegal. Employment data agencies such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics ignore all jobs related to the industry. Which is as shame, because legal cannabis is proving to be the greatest job creation machine in America, they are missing one of the most dramatic job booms in recent history.
There are now more than 211,000 cannabis jobs across the United States. More than 64,000 of those jobs were added in 2018. That’s enough people to fill Chicago’s Soldier Field, with 3,000 more tailgating outside. The cannabis workforce increased 21% in 2017, it then gained another 44% in 2018, and at least another 20% growth in jobs in 2019 is projected. That would represent a 110% growth in cannabis jobs in just three years, which is helping the economy. Hemp alone could also be a thing in the very near future.

Canna-Degrees Sweeping the Nation 

As a green gold rush in legal marijuana, and its non-psychoactive cousin hemp, spreads across North America, a growing number of colleges are adding cannabis to the curriculum to prepare graduates for careers in various Cana based industries such as; cultivating, researching, analyzing and marketing. Research shows there are high times ahead for all kinds of careers in cannabis, ranging from greenhouse and dispensary operators to edible product developers, marketing specialists, quality assurance lab directors and pharmaceutical researchers. Arcview Market Research, which focuses on cannabis industry trends, projects the industry will support 467,000 jobs by 2022. And even in many states where recreational marijuana remains illegal, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, some colleges have launched cannabis studies programs in anticipation of legalization or to prepare students for jobs in other states.

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