Feds say Cannabis and Casinos Don’t Mix (Without Monitoring)
Federal regulators visited Las Vegas to address the casino industry last Thursday at the 2014 Bank Secrecy Act Conference. They announced that bets cannot be accepted from medical marijuana businesspeople unless such gamblers pass an extensive background check and have their bets monitored federally.
While announced in Las Vegas, the new policy applies to all casinos across the U.S. Similar directives given to the banking industry has led to medical marijuana businesses essentially being blacklisted from opening a checking or savings account.
As reported by Nathan Halverson for The Center for Investigative Reporting –In order for a casino to knowingly accept a bet from someone in the marijuana industry, they would need to perform what Dowling described as a “criminal background check” and then file regular reports every 90 days to federal regulators on the gambler’s activities.
Even So, Nevada Moves Forward on Medical Cannabis
Legal medical cannabis access may be coming soon to Sin City. On Monday, 18 medical marijuana dispensary licenses were issued in Clark County, the home of Las Vegas. Although medical marijuana was approved by Nevada voters in 2000, medical marijuana dispensaries were approved just last year and implementation has been slow.
U.S. Cannabis News
Last week, San Jose’s city council approved a restrictive ordinance that limits dispensary locations to a small grouping of industrial areas making up less than 1 percent of the city. The ordinance also limits dispensary hours, bars them from selling edibles that resemble candy, and requires them to grow all their medicine in the county. Opponents to the regulations say they have already collected enough signatures to put their own dispensary regulations on the ballot.
In Santa Cruz, the Board of Supervisors approved a November ballot measure to allow dispensaries to be taxed up to 10% of their gross sales. The county estimates the tax could bring in $900,000 annually. The money would be earmarked for enforcement of medical marijuana regulations.
New polling numbers showed a continued strong support for the medical marijuana measure that Floridians will vote on in the November election. One poll shows 70% support among likely voters for the constitutional amendment, another poll also released this week shows support at 66%. Because its a constitutional amendment, it needs 60% of voter support to pass.
Meanwhile, opponents of the measure gained an infusion of cash this week. Casino Magnate Sheldon Adelson, one of the wealthiest billionaires on the planet, donated $2.5 million dollars to the campaign to defeat Florida’s the medical marijuana measure.
The Boston Globe reported that DEA agents have been visiting Massachusetts doctors involved with medical marijuana dispensaries. They’ve allegedly threatened to revoke doctor’s licenses to prescribe drugs if they continue to work with state legal Massachusetts dispensaries. At least two doctors have cut ties with dispensaries as a result, and one gave up his DEA license saying he didn’t need it to do his job. The Globe reports this will likely slow the opening of some long-awaited dispensaries.
In North Carolina, medical marijuana advocates are currently marching 259 miles from Asheville to Raleigh to bring attention to a pending state medical marijuana bill. The action is called “March Against Fear.”
In South Carolina, Democrats voting in the party primary this Tuesday supported a non-binding question about allowing for medical marijuana use by a margin of three-to-one. South Carolina passed a limited CBD medical marijuana bill this year, but that will only help a small number of patients.
A war veteran who uses medical marijuana as a sleep aid to ease PTSD-related sleeplessness was fired from her job as a physicians assistant at a New Mexico Hospital after a drug test came back positive for marijuana. Donna Smith says she was only on the job four days before being fired. She also said she only used medical marijuana to aid in sleep, not when she was on the job. Smith is now suing Presbyterian Healthcare Services, claiming they violated her rights as a legal medical marijuana patient in New Mexico.
International Cannabis News
On Thursday, Jamaican government officials announced they are moving to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis and allow possession for scientific, medicinal uses. They will also allow for possession for religious uses — a major victory for Jamaica’s rastafari spiritual movement. Legislation is also being drafted to provide a path for people to get criminal records expunged if they have been convicted under the current law for smoking small amounts of marijuana.
The West Africa Commission on Drugs, headed by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, issued a report this week calling for drug decriminalization and for drugs to be treated as a public health issue to reduce regional instability in West Africa exacerbated by the illicit drug trade.
Read the report yourself: Not Just in Transit: Drugs, the State, and Society in West Africa.