Category Archives: Informational

PNC Bank announces shut down of Marijuana Policy Project account

PNC Bank announces closure of MPP accounts

One of the nation’s leading marijuana legalization groups says PNC Bank has notified it that it will close the organization’s 22-year-old accounts, a sign of growing concerns in the financial industry that the Trump administration will crack down on the marijuana business in states that have legalized it.

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) lobbies to eliminate punishments for marijuana use but is not involved in growing or distributing the drug — an important distinction for federally regulated banks and other institutions that do business with such advocacy groups.

Nick Field, the MPP’s chief operating officer, said a PNC Bank representative told him in May that the organization’s accounts would be permanently closed July 7 because an audit of the accounts revealed that the organization received funding from marijuana businesses that handle the plant directly.
“They told me it is too risky. The bank can’t assume the risk,” Field said.

A wise decision on their end

Although marijuana businesses are legal in some states, many banks will not provide services to sellers or growers because the drug is banned at the federal level.
But policy and advocacy organizations such as the MPP have been spared. A bank’s severing ties with an organization that accepts donations from such businesses signals a new level of concern in the banking industry.

PNC Bank declined to discuss its relationship with the MPP, but a spokeswoman said that “as a federally regulated financial institution, PNC complies with all applicable federal laws and regulations.”

The bank has held the MPP’s accounts since the organization was formed in 1995.

Some advocacy groups say the abrupt closing of the MPP’s accounts is an unpleasant side effect of growing uncertainty about protections for the marijuana industry in states that have legalized it. The industry enjoys loose protection via a combination of legislative amendments and memos from the Justice Department that effectively allow states to operate medical and recreational marijuana businesses without federal interference. But many advocates worry that the Trump administration is changing course to enforce federal laws and dismantle key protections for the expanding industry.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a longtime opponent of marijuana legalization. During a Senate drug hearing in April 2016, Sessions — then a Republican senator from Alabama — said, “We need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it’s in fact a very real danger.”

When asked during his confirmation hearing in January whether he would enforce federal drug laws as attorney general, Sessions replied, “I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law.”
The Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Last week, Sessions wrote to congressional leaders asking for the ability to prosecute medical-marijuana dispensaries. Sessions implored members of Congress to reconsider a rule enacted in 2014 to prevent the Justice Department from using federal funds to block state laws that legalize medical-marijuana cultivation and use.

Legal marijuana is protected by the “Cole memo”

The sale of recreational marijuana, in contrast, is loosely protected by the 2013 “Cole memo.” The memo, issued by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole during the Obama administration, instructs state law enforcement agencies not to use their resources to prosecute the authorized sale of marijuana in states where it is legal.

The vice president for regulatory compliance at the American Bankers Association says these protections are not enough reassurance for financial institutions. Banks are subject to federal regulation to prevent fraud, money laundering or breaches of privacy.

Because marijuana is illegal under federal law, banks accepting any money associated with its sale could be investigated for money laundering,” said Rob Rowe, the ABA executive, adding that many banks do not make a distinction between advocacy organizations and businesses that sell or grow marijuana.
But Field’s organization, the MPP, and many other advocacy groups, such as NORML, say banks’ concerns are overblown. The Justice Department has never investigated a bank for offering accounts to state-legal marijuana businesses. In addition, Field said, advocacy organizations are legal entities that are subject to strict scrutiny by the IRS.

“We are a registered 501(c)(3) and (c)(4). We have yearly audits. We are compliant with the IRS,” he said. “It doesn’t get any clearer than that.”

Field said the MPP is still seeking a new bank. John Hudak, an expert on marijuana policy and governance at the Brookings Institution, suspects that the MPP’s difficulty in finding another bank reflects banks’ fears that Sessions intends to roll back protections for the industry and enforce the federal Controlled Substances Act.
“It’s no secret,” Hudak said. “It’s a situation that is creating an increasingly uncertain policy environment.”

Amid the uncertainty, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) introduced a bill to ensure protections for banks providing “financial services to cannabis-related legitimate businesses.” The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act, introduced in April, has 44 congressional co-sponsors.

The first provision of the bill would prevent federal regulators from terminating banks’ federal deposit and share insurance “solely because the depository institution provides or has provided financial services to a cannabis-related legitimate business.”

Many marijuana advocacy organizations hope the bill will pass, offering the industry the banking security it seeks.
“It’s one thing to take a position about making marijuana legal,” said Mason Tvert, the MPP’s communications director. “It’s something different to say these businesses should be able to be bank legitimately.”

Originally published by The Washington Post

Abusive celebrities that use(d) marijuana

Brad Pitt stops using

Brad Pitt is one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood after being in the spotlight for the last couple of decades. What most people don’t know about him are the different struggles and periods of depression he went through early on in his acting career while using marijuana.

In the late 1990’s Pitt admitted to using marijuana heavily which, “almost turned me into a donut,” he recalls. His real life stoner persona was intensified when he was cast in the movie, True Romance, where his character spends his days watching cartoons blowing smoke all over the room.

“I spent the 90’s trying to hide out, trying to duck the full celebrity cacophony. I started to get sick of myself sitting on a couch, holding a joint, hiding out. I started to feel pathetic. It became very clear to me that I was intent on trying to find a movie about an interesting life, but I wasn’t living an interesting life myself” he says in an interview with Parade.

In 2000, he married co-star of the tv show friends, Jennifer Aniston, and began to start noticing that something was not right in his life. In an interview he said that, “I think that my marriage had something to do with it.

Trying to pretend the marriage was something that it wasn’t.” After the interview he clarified what he meant by his statement saying, “The point I was trying to make is not that Jen was dull, but that I was becoming dull to myself—and that, I am responsible for.” I can only speculate that this meant marijuana was making him into a person he nor his wife wanted to be.

Pitt’s life changed in 2003 while he was working on the film, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, with Angelina Jolie. Although he was still married to Jennifer Aniston, that did not stop the two from hitting it off and after.

Aniston divorced him in 2005 and Jolie came into the picture soon after. The couple got engaged in 2012 and after taking a trip to Morocco, Pitt found it within himself to stop using the drug marijuana. “I just quit,” he said, “I stopped grass then- I mean pretty much- and decided to get off the couch.”

This was a good decision on his part because along with his Hollywood persona he needs to keep up with, he also has six children that he has either adopted or had with Jolie. “I’m a dad now, you want to be alert,” he said in an interview with Parade.

However, after Pitt quit his marijuana use, he continued using alcohol.  Heavy marijuana users are more likely than non-marijuana users.  Each addiction feeds on each other.

The abusive side of Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp is another famous actor who has had marijuana influence him in a negative way. His roles in movies are always drug addicts or gangsters from George Jung in, Blow, to his portrayal of journalist Hunter S. Thompson in, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, drugs always make it onto the set.

By the time Depp was 14 he admitted to trying every drug on the street as well as admitting that he used to self-inflict wounds, or cut himself to cope with stresses in his life. He first began by using marijuana followed by alcohol and the slope became very slippery after that for Depp.

During his early years on camera he was most recognized for his role in the TV show, “21 Jump Street” which was about a young adult who infiltrates a high school for the police to bust a drug ring. After this he started getting recognized for less popular roles in movies like, Sweeny Todd, Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland he began to get a little bit out of control with his life.

Depp referred to that time period as a “darker period” and started around the time he was dating Kate Moss. One such run in with the police happened after police found Depp, “in a state of possible intoxication” after they found his room at New York’s Mark Hotel trashed.

The judge who heard his case ordered him to repay damages done ($9,761.12) and that was that I guess due to his celebrity status. In December of 2015 there was one instance that was reported where Depp allegedly attempted to smother his ex-wife, Amber Heard, with a pillow and ended up attacking her.

Throughout the attack she sustained a bruised eye and a bloody lip after the star lost control. Heard filed for divorce in May of last year after only 15 months of marriage.

Depp was also spotted a couple years ago after dropping off his daughter, Lilly-Rose Depp, with musician, Marilyn Manson, smoking a marijuana pipe next to the school. What kind of message did that send to (at the time) his 14 year old daughter? Celebrities should not be advocating this type of behavior around their children or other peoples children.

These “role models” are not who we should be idolizing in the spotlight because of their actions towards family and other close friends. Although it is good that Pitt quit using marijuana, more celebrities should follow suit in order to set a good example for their fans and followers.

Top 8 Reasons 18-25 Year Olds Should Vote NO on Prop 64

Whether you smoke pot or not or believe in recreational legalization – Prop 64 is a long, poorly written bill that does not accomplish what pro-pot claims it will. Let’s count down to number one, the 8 reasons you should cast a No vote on marijuana legalization.

8. “Inevitability” has already happened – to the question, “aren’t we just postponing the inevitable, by voting no?” – Pot is legal in California today – everyone in California that wants to or believes they need to smoke can do so under our medical marijuana laws.

7. Small possession is only an infraction (less than a traffic ticket)- If your buddies can’t be bothered to spend the $25 for a medical marijuana card, they risk virtually nothing – California has had the most lenient possession laws in the country since 2010.

6. Prop 64 isn’t going to raise significant revenue. “Sin” taxes historically do not generate large sums. Look at alcohol and tobacco tax revenue last year – $367M and $84M, respectively. California has a $110+ billion budget – $451M is only .0041% of revenue –this is not a game changer. Also, Prop 64 allows regulators to reduce the tax rate it sets after one year; many will still buy with their medical marijuana card where no tax is collected; many will continue to buy from existing suppliers where no tax will be charged; some will grow their own.

5. Prop 64 is not about social justice – African American leaders in California are beyond insulted that the Marijuana Industry is trying to tie civil rights to legalization. See Bishop Ron Allen speak

4. Organized crime dominates the Marijuana Industry in every state. It’s fantasy to think the market leaders (organized crime) just pack it up and go home now that pot is legal – they thrive under the veil of legalization. They operate quite comfortably outside the new laws, just like they did with the old laws. It’s dangerous. If your employed by Organized Crime or a competitor they do carry guns, for real.

3. Anyone interested in the pot industry, should focus on perfecting the medical marijuana laws passed by congress October 2015 –called MMRSA (Medical Marijuana Regulation & Safety Act) – it provides a real (and bi-partisan) framework for potentially bringing pot out of the shadows and making it a legitimate player. To date, no state including California has gotten organized crime out of the Marijuana Industry. Perhaps California can, with MMRSA, enough money and the will and support of our state legislature. Further, Prop 64 scrambles portions of MMRSA – making pot more unmanageable.

2. Marijuana potency is getting stronger every day. This is not a debate about whether marijuana is good or bad for you, but science is settled on the fact that it’s bad for younger developing brains. The younger one starts using marijuana, the greater potential this increase in potency has to inflict harm and addict.

1. The number one reason to vote no on Prop 64 – is because it is not fair. Yes, you could find pot when you were younger, but you had the privilege of growing up in communities that were not awash with marijuana. No constant skunky-garlicky smell wafting from home grows. No marijuana advertisements – on TV, Radio, Instagram or Twitter. No huge companies telling you to “just do it” or that “you’ll never smoke alone with x-brand of pot.” You never went to homes where pot was growing or the candy could actually hurt you – permanently. It’s too selfish – don’t inflict this horrible living environment on your little brothers and sisters or the generations to follow.

Watch these 18-25 year old film-makers in So Cal – who understand what the proliferation of edibles means to them and their friends.

Please Support Grassroots Anti-Pot Groups

Billionaires have created the marijuana ballots, and marijuana businesses are donating money to create  a nationwide addiction industry.  This campaign of moneyed interests will be a nightmare for mental health. There are many other groups in California, Colorado, and around the nation, fighting against big marijuana. Check them out, “like” and follow to help spread the word!  We are the building the grassroots community of opposition.   We have provided links for the most important ones.   Smart Approaches to Marijuana  and Parents Opposed to Pot are national and concentrate on marijuana.   The Marijuana Report has a newsletter delivered each Wednesday with up-to-date news about marijuana.

Other California Grassroots Anti-Pot Groups:

Ban Commercial Cultivation                                                                                    Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana
CalmCA Yucca Valley                                                                                            Moms Strong
No on Prop 64 – They Got it Wrong Again
RAM – Rethinking Access to Marijuana
STOP Commercial Pot (California)

 State Groups Where Marijuana is on the Ballot
(Please suggest these websites to friends and family in these states)

Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, AZ PAC

Be Smarter Massachusetts
Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts

No on 2

Not on Maine Street

Vote No on 2 Nevada

Keep Arkansas Safe Campaign

Safe Montana

Emphasis on Youth Prevention for Parents:

Mothers Opposed 2 Marijuana
Parents of Colorado Against the Normalization of Dope
Parents for a Healthy Colorado
Parents Opposed to Pot
Smart Colorado
Keeping Missouri Kids Safe
Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities

Auntie Cannabis in Anti-Pot                                                                             Citizens for a Healthy Pueblo
CLEAR Alliance
Don’t Roll Up Roll Out
Drug Free America Foundation
Grass is Not Greener
I Hate Marijuana
LegalLies
Marijuana Harms Families
Marijuana Issues in Tennessee
MarijuanaX
National Families in Action
No2Pot
No on 2   (Florida)                                                                                                          The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
People Against Retail Marijuana in Manitou Springs (PARMMS)
Prevention Council of Roanoke County
Pueblo for Positive Impact                                                                                     Safe Montana                                                                                                                SAM Taskforce
Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada                                                   Smart Approaches to Marijuana, Maine                                                            Stop the Legalization of Marijuana                                                                            Take Back America Campaign
TEXAS Alarm

We are sorry to have left out some groups, but time is limited.  We all depend on each other to get out the message.   Please write to have your name added by writing media@stoppot2016.org.

There are many other community, county and groups affiliated with CADCA.  This list emphasizes groups that concentrate on marijuana prevention.