• Minn.: State seeks public input on adding qualifying conditions
    Please consider voicing your support for expanding Minnesota’s medical marijuana program!  On Wednesday, a medical marijuana review panel will meet to discuss the petitions to add opioid use disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, panic disorder, and psoriasis as qualifying conditions to the state’s medical cannabis program. What: Public meeting on adding conditions, including an opportunity for public comment When: Wednesday, October 24, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Where: Room 300N, State Office Building, 100 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155 You can check out MPP’s letter in support of adding opiate use disorder here, in case you want to make any of the same points. If you are unable to attend, you may also submit written comments in support of adding one or more conditions. Separately, Election Day is fast approaching! You can vote early in person until Monday, November 5. You can also register and vote on Election Day! Here’s a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana policy reform: Tim Walz (D) is supportive of legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use, while Jeff Johnson (R) opposes legalization but supports medical marijuana. Don’t miss this opportunity to voice your support for marijuana policy reform, and be sure to get out and vote! The post Minn.: State seeks public input on adding qualifying conditions appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-22
  • Colorado’s Nov. 6 general election is just 15 days away!
    The state’s choice of governor will likely have a huge impact on state cannabis policy Vote counting officially begins today, October 22, for the upcoming general election, which takes place on November 6. Many voters received ballots over the last several days by mail. The race for governor includes noted cannabis policy champion Congressman Jared Polis, whom MPP rates with an A+ grade. Current Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is term-limited and must step down, and between the major party candidates, Jared Polis (D) has the clear advantage when it comes for support for good cannabis policy. He is the only candidate who supported the legalization initiative in 2012 and has been a strong advocate for improving federal law as Congressman for U.S. House District 2. Among other achievements in Congress, he started the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. By contrast, current State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) offers only limited support at best for cannabis policy reform. He voiced support for stricter regulations for medical marijuana during a recent public forum and referred to Polis’ stance as a “radical extreme plan.” MPP gives him a C. The positions of two other candidates, Bill Hammons of the Unity Party of Colorado and Scott Helker of the Libertarian party, are unclear. Neither candidate has a prior voting record on cannabis legislation, nor public statements on cannabis policy. For more information on Colorado’s Election Day, be sure to visit the state’s elections website here. And most of all, be sure to vote this general election in Colorado! The post Colorado’s Nov. 6 general election is just 15 days away! appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-22
  • Idaho: Early voting begins October 22!
    The Idaho general election is set for Tuesday, November 6. Early voting begins today, October 22, and ends November 2. You can also register and vote on Election Day! Here’s a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana reform: Paulette Jordan (D) is supportive of decriminalization and medical marijuana, and is also supportive of moving toward legalization and regulation for adult-use. Brad Little (R) opposes legalization and opposes even a limited CBD medical marijuana bill. Here you can find more information on Idaho’s current marijuana policies. Check out the state’s website for more information on voter registration and where to cast your ballot. Please forward this message to your network, and be sure to get out and vote! The post Idaho: Early voting begins October 22! appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-22
  • Florida: Early voting begins October 22!
    In some parts of the state, registered voters can cast their ballot early beginning today! The early voting schedule varies by county and will end on Saturday, November 3. Florida’s general election is set for Tuesday, November 6. Here’s a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana policy reform: Andrew Gillum (D) supports legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use, while Ron DeSantis (R) opposes legalization but is supportive of implementing Florida’s medical marijuana law. You can find information on Florida’s current marijuana policies here. For more information on early voting and Election Day voting, including where you can cast your ballot and when voting locations will be open, check out the state’s elections website here. Please forward this to your network, and be sure to get out and vote! The post Florida: Early voting begins October 22! appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-22
  • Texas: Marijuana policy voter guide released, early voting begins October 22
    Our allies at Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy released a voter guide for the upcoming election. Early voting starts today, so please check it out, spread the word, and head to the polls! Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy’s coalition partners surveyed state and federal candidates and provided their unedited responses. They also included voting records from the last two legislative sessions for state-level incumbents. Find out where your candidates stand. Early Voting: October 22 – November 2, 2018 Election Day: November 6, 2018 For more information on where, how, and when to vote, visit VoteTexas.Gov. Unfortunately, Texas doesn’t allow voters to collect petitions to put initiatives on the ballot. Only state lawmakers can initiate changes to the state’s marijuana policies. Who gets elected in November will be key to deciding when and if Texas enacts a medical cannabis law and stops criminalizing cannabis consumers. So, please get educated and get voting! Many thanks to Heather Fazio of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, Texas NORML, and everyone else who worked on the voter guide! The post Texas: Marijuana policy voter guide released, early voting begins October 22 appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-22
  • Paying Cannabis Workers Equally Under the Oregon Equal Pay Act: Part 2
    In 2017 Oregon passed sweeping Equal Pay Legislation. Towards the end of August, Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) issued draft rules implementing the Oregon Equal Pay Act. This series of post is exploring those new rules and how they will affect cannabis businesses. In my last post, I unpacked the definition of “compensation” under the Equal Pay Act and the proposed rules. This week I’ll discuss “work of a comparable character.” The Oregon Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying wages or other compensation to “any employee at a rate greater than that at which the employer pays wages or other compensation to employees of a protected class for work of a comparable character.” To put it simply, cannabis businesses need to pay employees doing the same work the same pay. But what is “work of a comparable character?” Work of a comparable character is not determined simply by job title alone. Two cannabis workers who have the same job title but perform different tasks are not necessarily performing “work of a comparable character.” Similarly, two cannabis workers that perform essentially the same tasks but have different job titles may be performing work of a comparable character. According to the BOLI draft rules, to determine if different jobs constitute “work of a comparable character” the employer must consider whether the jobs require “substantially similar knowledge, skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions.” No one factor is determinative. Meaning, an employer should balance the factors against each other to determine if employees are performing the same work and therefore should be receive equal pay. The proposed BOLI rules further define each factor. Knowledge. When considering whether two jobs require similar “knowledge,” the employer should consider whether the jobs require similar education, experience, or training. Skill. Things to consider to determine if two jobs require the same “skill” include the ability, agility, coordination, efficiency or experience required to perform the job. Effort. Considerations to determine the “effort” of a job include the “amount of physical or mental exertion needed; amount of sustained activity; or complexity of job tasks performed.” Responsibility. To determine if responsibility of two positions are “similar,” an employer should consider the “accountability, decision-making discretion, or impact of an employee’s exercise of their job functions on the employer’s business; amount, level, or degree of significance of job tasks; autonomy or extent to which the employee works without supervision; extent to which the employee exercises supervisory functions; or extent to which an employee’s work or actions expose an employer ... read more
    Source: Canna Law Blog – OregonPublished on 2018-10-20
  • Rhode Island: Dept. of Health approves medical marijuana for autism
    Great news! The Department of of Health has announced that Rhode Island families can now access medical marijuana to treat autism. The decision was issued this week after a petition was filed in April to add autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. The announcement imposes some stipulations for physicians interested in recommending medical marijuana for patients with ASD, including that they first try FDA-approved medications and CBD products. The statement can be read in full here. The Health Department held a public hearing on ASD and medical marijuana in August. At the hearing, Nicole Cervantes, a mother of a son with ASD, testified that CBD had significantly improved her child’s condition. “He has been able to focus more,” she said. “He no longer bangs his head.” In recent years, families across the country have spoken out about how medical marijuana has helped minimize the worst symptoms of ASD. Rhode Island now joins seven other states that make some allowance for medical marijuana in the treatment of autism. This is a great step forward for Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program. Let’s keep working to make further improvements to the state’s marijuana policies. The post Rhode Island: Dept. of Health approves medical marijuana for autism appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-18
  • The fight for Measure 3 is heating up in North Dakota
    With less than three weeks until Election Day, efforts to pass Measure 3, which would legalize marijuana for adults in North Dakota, are ramping up. While opponents rely on the standard prohibitionist fear tactics, the Yes on 3 team is sharing a positive message of personal freedom and criminal justice reform with their neighbors across the state. Please contribute here to help them reach and educate more voters. And if you live in North Dakota, commit to voting for Measure 3 and encourage friends, colleagues, and neighbors to do the same. In a sign of growing support, state Republican legislative leaders Rep. Rick Becker and Rep. Luke Simons recently made public statements in favor of the legalization initiative. Legendary travel host and anti-prohibition activist Rick Steves also visited the state to tout the benefits of legalizing marijuana, which he’s seen in his home state of Washington. Thanks to the tireless efforts of volunteer advocates, North Dakota could become the next state to legalize marijuana for adults. Please donate to the campaign and give the Yes on 3 team the help they need to fight back against their opponents’ anti-marijuana propaganda. And follow the campaign by liking their Facebook page. With our help, they can win this. The post The fight for Measure 3 is heating up in North Dakota appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-17
  • Defunct Neo-Nazi Cannabis Lab Owner Sues 10 Anonymous Antifa Activists
    Suit filed in San Francisco and subpoena served on Weebly web-hosting service. A lawsuit was filed on September 5th in The post Defunct Neo-Nazi Cannabis Lab Owner Sues 10 Anonymous Antifa Activists appeared first on Oregon Cannabis Connection. ... read more
    Source: Oregon Cannabis ConnectionPublished on 2018-10-17
  • Vermont general election voter guide published
    Early voting is already underway for the Vermont general election, which is scheduled for Tuesday, November 6. Before you vote, please check out our legislative voter guide to learn where candidates for state representative and state senator stand on marijuana policy. Then, please read our guide on the candidates for governor and lieutenant governor. This year, we sent candidates a survey consisting of only one question: “Do you support regulating and taxing the production and sale of cannabis in Vermont for use by adults 21 and older?” Our voter guides include responses from candidates for state representative, state senator, and governor, in addition to public statements and incumbent legislators’ votes on the legalization bill. If a candidate in your district has not responded to the survey, we encourage you to reach out to them directly and ask their position! For information on where and how to vote in Vermont, click here. Again, please take time to read our voter guide for state legislative races and our gubernatorial voter guide before you vote in the November 6 general election. Please share the voter guides with your family and friends! The post Vermont general election voter guide published appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-16
  • South Carolina: November 6 is General Election Day!
    South Carolina’s general election, set for Tuesday, November 6, is just 21 days away. The governor’s race and every House of Representatives seat is on the ballot. This is a particularly important election as lawmakers are expected to vote on a medical cannabis bill in 2019, and it will likely need the support of the governor. Those in office will have a huge impact on the future of South Carolina’s patients and their treatment options. Our voter guide is now available online. It includes all House candidates who either co-sponsored the 2018 medical cannabis bill or who responded to our questionnaire on medical cannabis support. It also includes committee votes and the candidates for governor. While James Smith (D) is a strong supporter of allowing medical cannabis, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) said he would not sign a bill unless law enforcement signs off — which they show no inclination of doing. Voters’ choices this year will have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in the state. If you are registered to vote, know where your candidates stand, and be sure to vote! If you haven’t registered to vote yet, you have until October 17. For more information, including polling places and other key information, check out the state’s elections website here.   The post South Carolina: November 6 is General Election Day! appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-16
  • The Illinois general election is around the corner
    The Illinois general election takes place on November 6. It’s fast approaching, and voters this year will have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in Illinois. Lawmakers continue to look closely at ending marijuana prohibition and legalizing cannabis for adults 21 and over, and the differences between the two major party candidates for governor couldn’t be bigger on this issue: JB Pritzker (D) has come out in strong support of legalizing and regulating marijuana, while Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) remains opposed. Take a minute to check out our Illinois Voter Guide and see where the candidates on your ballot stand on cannabis reform. Not all the candidates have a voting history on cannabis bills in the state House or Senate, but for those that do, we’ve summarized the voting record on key cannabis-related bills over the past several years. If you haven’t registered to vote yet, you have until October 21 to register online. For more information, including where you can cast your ballot and when voting locations will be open, check out the state’s website here. In nearby Michigan, voters will have an opportunity to legalize marijuana themselves. But in Illinois, there’s no citizen initiative process, so only lawmakers can end the wasteful and cruel policy of prohibition. This year’s elections will likely have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in Illinois. Now is the time for voters who support a better path for Illinois to make their voice heard.   The post The Illinois general election is around the corner appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-16
  • Cannabis Tax Crimes: Don’t Even Think About It
    Today let’s talk about Matthew Price, the Oregon marijuana businessman headed to jail for tax crimes. This story got a lot of coverage when it broke last month, partly because it was the first known tax-related prosecution for a licensed pot business owner, and partly because Price was fairly well known in Oregon. He once sat on an Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) rules advisory committee for cannabis retail, and he owned three dispensaries. Seems like he was off to a pretty good start. Well, not any longer. In addition to the seven-month lockup, Price was ordered to pay the I.R.S. $262,776 in restitution on the nearly $1 million in taxable income he raked in from 2011 to 2014. He will probably never be allowed to participate in the OLCC program again, given the agency’s recent tightening of the screws, and its authority to bar anyone with a federal conviction “substantially related to the fitness and ability of the applicant” to obtain a license. Generally speaking, marijuana businesses are liable for lots of tax under IRC 280E. As cannabis business lawyers, we work with CPAs and others to attempt to mitigate our clients’ tax liability, but at the end of the day, that liability is always there. Tax obligations do not end at the federal level, of course: Most states have income tax programs, and all states with legal cannabis programs seem to collect additional taxes on the sale of marijuana. In Oregon, for example, that sales tax must be escrowed by OLCC retailers and paid to the state Department of Revenue. As to Matthew Price, the news reporting was silent on whether he was also shirking those payments. Having advised state-legal cannabis businesses since 2010, we have seen a lot of monkey business when it comes to tax. We have seen bad lawyers advise clients not to pay taxes, on the theory that tax programs violate business owners’ rights against self-incrimination. We have seen businesses attempt to claim “non-profit” status and avoid taxes in that manner, despite the impossibility of receiving an I.R.S. exemption. And we’ve seen lots of “management company” schemes, most of which are nonsense. At the end of the day, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, death and taxes are certain. Interestingly and appropriately, the judge in this case didn’t seem to treat Price differently because his income derived from cannabis sales. It was reported that federal prosecutors petitioned the judge to go hard on Price, in order to send a message to the marijuana industry. The judge ... read more
    Source: Canna Law Blog – OregonPublished on 2018-10-15
  • Paying Cannabis Employees Equally Under the Oregon Equal Pay Act: Part 1
    Back in 2017, the Oregon legislature passed equal pay legislation prohibiting employers from asking applicants about compensation history. The law is known as the Equal Pay Act. This law, like other employment laws, applies to cannabis businesses. The equal pay provision of the law goes into effect on January 1, 2019. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) was tasked with drafting rules implementing the Equal Pay Act and recently released draft rules. This series of posts will unpack the new rules and explain the impacts on your cannabis business. The Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying disparate compensation for work of a comparable character. The Equal Pay Act defines compensation as “wages, salary, bonuses, benefits, fringe benefits and equity-based compensation.” What this means is each of these taken in total is an employee’s compensation. The proposed BOLI rules provide clarification to each of the words that make up “compensation.” BOLI defines benefits as: “the rate of contribution that an employee makes irrevocably to a trustee or to a third person under a plan, fund or program; or the rate of costs to the employer in providing benefits to an employee beyond what is required by federal, state or local law pursuant to an enforceable commitment to carry out a financially responsible plan or program which is committed to the employee affected including but not limited to the following: medical or hospital care; pensions on retirement or death; compensation for injuries or illness resulting from occupational activity; insurance to provide any of [the above]; unemployment benefits; life insurance; disability insurance; sick leave pay; accident insurance; vacation or holiday pay; or defraying costs of other bona fide fringe benefits.” But what does this long-winded definition actually mean? As an example, if you have two extraction technicians that perform substantially the same work, you need to provide them the same benefits, otherwise you will be in violation of the equal pay laws. If you provide one health insurance, you need to provide the other the same level of health insurance. Etc. Bonus, similarly has been given a long definition. Bonus is defined as: “an amount that is paid or something of monetary or quantifiable value that is given to an employee by an employer in addition to the employee’s regular rate of pay, typically as a means of encouragement or in recognition of superior performance. Bonuses include but are not limited to the following: signing or job acceptance bonuses; attendance bonuses; loyalty bonuses; performance bonuses; and productivity bonuses.” Again, if ... read more
    Source: Canna Law Blog – OregonPublished on 2018-10-14
  • Oct. 17: You’re invited to a special event for Michigan’s YES on 1 campaign!
    Proposal 1, the Michigan legalization ballot initiative, is up in the polls, but it’s still too close for comfort. The opposition campaign is just a couple of big checks away from being able to launch a large misinformation campaign. We’re in the final weeks of the election, and we need to make sure the Yes on 1 campaign has the resources it needs to educate voters about the benefits of legalizing marijuana. Next week, I hope you’ll join me in Ann Arbor for a special evening to support this important campaign. RSVP via phone (517-974-2265) or email (robin@regulatemi.org). If you can’t attend, please consider making a contribution directly to the campaign here. And please share the word with other supporters. Let’s win this! The post Oct. 17: You’re invited to a special event for Michigan’s YES on 1 campaign! appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-12
 
  • Minn.: State seeks public input on adding qualifying conditions
    Please consider voicing your support for expanding Minnesota’s medical marijuana program!  On Wednesday, a medical marijuana review panel will meet to discuss the petitions to add opioid use disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, panic disorder, and psoriasis as qualifying conditions to the state’s medical cannabis program. What: Public meeting on adding conditions, including an opportunity for public comment When: Wednesday, October 24, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Where: Room 300N, State Office Building, 100 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155 You can check out MPP’s letter in support of adding opiate use disorder here, in case you want to make any of the same points. If you are unable to attend, you may also submit written comments in support of adding one or more conditions. Separately, Election Day is fast approaching! You can vote early in person until Monday, November 5. You can also register and vote on Election Day! Here’s a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana policy reform: Tim Walz (D) is supportive of legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use, while Jeff Johnson (R) opposes legalization but supports medical marijuana. Don’t miss this opportunity to voice your support for marijuana policy reform, and be sure to get out and vote! The post Minn.: State seeks public input on adding qualifying conditions appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-22
  • Colorado’s Nov. 6 general election is just 15 days away!
    The state’s choice of governor will likely have a huge impact on state cannabis policy Vote counting officially begins today, October 22, for the upcoming general election, which takes place on November 6. Many voters received ballots over the last several days by mail. The race for governor includes noted cannabis policy champion Congressman Jared Polis, whom MPP rates with an A+ grade. Current Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is term-limited and must step down, and between the major party candidates, Jared Polis (D) has the clear advantage when it comes for support for good cannabis policy. He is the only candidate who supported the legalization initiative in 2012 and has been a strong advocate for improving federal law as Congressman for U.S. House District 2. Among other achievements in Congress, he started the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. By contrast, current State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) offers only limited support at best for cannabis policy reform. He voiced support for stricter regulations for medical marijuana during a recent public forum and referred to Polis’ stance as a “radical extreme plan.” MPP gives him a C. The positions of two other candidates, Bill Hammons of the Unity Party of Colorado and Scott Helker of the Libertarian party, are unclear. Neither candidate has a prior voting record on cannabis legislation, nor public statements on cannabis policy. For more information on Colorado’s Election Day, be sure to visit the state’s elections website here. And most of all, be sure to vote this general election in Colorado! The post Colorado’s Nov. 6 general election is just 15 days away! appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-22
  • Idaho: Early voting begins October 22!
    The Idaho general election is set for Tuesday, November 6. Early voting begins today, October 22, and ends November 2. You can also register and vote on Election Day! Here’s a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana reform: Paulette Jordan (D) is supportive of decriminalization and medical marijuana, and is also supportive of moving toward legalization and regulation for adult-use. Brad Little (R) opposes legalization and opposes even a limited CBD medical marijuana bill. Here you can find more information on Idaho’s current marijuana policies. Check out the state’s website for more information on voter registration and where to cast your ballot. Please forward this message to your network, and be sure to get out and vote! The post Idaho: Early voting begins October 22! appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-22
  • Florida: Early voting begins October 22!
    In some parts of the state, registered voters can cast their ballot early beginning today! The early voting schedule varies by county and will end on Saturday, November 3. Florida’s general election is set for Tuesday, November 6. Here’s a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana policy reform: Andrew Gillum (D) supports legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use, while Ron DeSantis (R) opposes legalization but is supportive of implementing Florida’s medical marijuana law. You can find information on Florida’s current marijuana policies here. For more information on early voting and Election Day voting, including where you can cast your ballot and when voting locations will be open, check out the state’s elections website here. Please forward this to your network, and be sure to get out and vote! The post Florida: Early voting begins October 22! appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-22
  • Texas: Marijuana policy voter guide released, early voting begins October 22
    Our allies at Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy released a voter guide for the upcoming election. Early voting starts today, so please check it out, spread the word, and head to the polls! Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy’s coalition partners surveyed state and federal candidates and provided their unedited responses. They also included voting records from the last two legislative sessions for state-level incumbents. Find out where your candidates stand. Early Voting: October 22 – November 2, 2018 Election Day: November 6, 2018 For more information on where, how, and when to vote, visit VoteTexas.Gov. Unfortunately, Texas doesn’t allow voters to collect petitions to put initiatives on the ballot. Only state lawmakers can initiate changes to the state’s marijuana policies. Who gets elected in November will be key to deciding when and if Texas enacts a medical cannabis law and stops criminalizing cannabis consumers. So, please get educated and get voting! Many thanks to Heather Fazio of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, Texas NORML, and everyone else who worked on the voter guide! The post Texas: Marijuana policy voter guide released, early voting begins October 22 appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-22
  • Paying Cannabis Workers Equally Under the Oregon Equal Pay Act: Part 2
    In 2017 Oregon passed sweeping Equal Pay Legislation. Towards the end of August, Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) issued draft rules implementing the Oregon Equal Pay Act. This series of post is exploring those new rules and how they will affect cannabis businesses. In my last post, I unpacked the definition of “compensation” under the Equal Pay Act and the proposed rules. This week I’ll discuss “work of a comparable character.” The Oregon Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying wages or other compensation to “any employee at a rate greater than that at which the employer pays wages or other compensation to employees of a protected class for work of a comparable character.” To put it simply, cannabis businesses need to pay employees doing the same work the same pay. But what is “work of a comparable character?” Work of a comparable character is not determined simply by job title alone. Two cannabis workers who have the same job title but perform different tasks are not necessarily performing “work of a comparable character.” Similarly, two cannabis workers that perform essentially the same tasks but have different job titles may be performing work of a comparable character. According to the BOLI draft rules, to determine if different jobs constitute “work of a comparable character” the employer must consider whether the jobs require “substantially similar knowledge, skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions.” No one factor is determinative. Meaning, an employer should balance the factors against each other to determine if employees are performing the same work and therefore should be receive equal pay. The proposed BOLI rules further define each factor. Knowledge. When considering whether two jobs require similar “knowledge,” the employer should consider whether the jobs require similar education, experience, or training. Skill. Things to consider to determine if two jobs require the same “skill” include the ability, agility, coordination, efficiency or experience required to perform the job. Effort. Considerations to determine the “effort” of a job include the “amount of physical or mental exertion needed; amount of sustained activity; or complexity of job tasks performed.” Responsibility. To determine if responsibility of two positions are “similar,” an employer should consider the “accountability, decision-making discretion, or impact of an employee’s exercise of their job functions on the employer’s business; amount, level, or degree of significance of job tasks; autonomy or extent to which the employee works without supervision; extent to which the employee exercises supervisory functions; or extent to which an employee’s work or actions expose an employer ... read more
    Source: Canna Law Blog – OregonPublished on 2018-10-20
  • Rhode Island: Dept. of Health approves medical marijuana for autism
    Great news! The Department of of Health has announced that Rhode Island families can now access medical marijuana to treat autism. The decision was issued this week after a petition was filed in April to add autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. The announcement imposes some stipulations for physicians interested in recommending medical marijuana for patients with ASD, including that they first try FDA-approved medications and CBD products. The statement can be read in full here. The Health Department held a public hearing on ASD and medical marijuana in August. At the hearing, Nicole Cervantes, a mother of a son with ASD, testified that CBD had significantly improved her child’s condition. “He has been able to focus more,” she said. “He no longer bangs his head.” In recent years, families across the country have spoken out about how medical marijuana has helped minimize the worst symptoms of ASD. Rhode Island now joins seven other states that make some allowance for medical marijuana in the treatment of autism. This is a great step forward for Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program. Let’s keep working to make further improvements to the state’s marijuana policies. The post Rhode Island: Dept. of Health approves medical marijuana for autism appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-18
  • The fight for Measure 3 is heating up in North Dakota
    With less than three weeks until Election Day, efforts to pass Measure 3, which would legalize marijuana for adults in North Dakota, are ramping up. While opponents rely on the standard prohibitionist fear tactics, the Yes on 3 team is sharing a positive message of personal freedom and criminal justice reform with their neighbors across the state. Please contribute here to help them reach and educate more voters. And if you live in North Dakota, commit to voting for Measure 3 and encourage friends, colleagues, and neighbors to do the same. In a sign of growing support, state Republican legislative leaders Rep. Rick Becker and Rep. Luke Simons recently made public statements in favor of the legalization initiative. Legendary travel host and anti-prohibition activist Rick Steves also visited the state to tout the benefits of legalizing marijuana, which he’s seen in his home state of Washington. Thanks to the tireless efforts of volunteer advocates, North Dakota could become the next state to legalize marijuana for adults. Please donate to the campaign and give the Yes on 3 team the help they need to fight back against their opponents’ anti-marijuana propaganda. And follow the campaign by liking their Facebook page. With our help, they can win this. The post The fight for Measure 3 is heating up in North Dakota appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-17
  • Defunct Neo-Nazi Cannabis Lab Owner Sues 10 Anonymous Antifa Activists
    Suit filed in San Francisco and subpoena served on Weebly web-hosting service. A lawsuit was filed on September 5th in The post Defunct Neo-Nazi Cannabis Lab Owner Sues 10 Anonymous Antifa Activists appeared first on Oregon Cannabis Connection. ... read more
    Source: Oregon Cannabis ConnectionPublished on 2018-10-17
  • Vermont general election voter guide published
    Early voting is already underway for the Vermont general election, which is scheduled for Tuesday, November 6. Before you vote, please check out our legislative voter guide to learn where candidates for state representative and state senator stand on marijuana policy. Then, please read our guide on the candidates for governor and lieutenant governor. This year, we sent candidates a survey consisting of only one question: “Do you support regulating and taxing the production and sale of cannabis in Vermont for use by adults 21 and older?” Our voter guides include responses from candidates for state representative, state senator, and governor, in addition to public statements and incumbent legislators’ votes on the legalization bill. If a candidate in your district has not responded to the survey, we encourage you to reach out to them directly and ask their position! For information on where and how to vote in Vermont, click here. Again, please take time to read our voter guide for state legislative races and our gubernatorial voter guide before you vote in the November 6 general election. Please share the voter guides with your family and friends! The post Vermont general election voter guide published appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-16
  • South Carolina: November 6 is General Election Day!
    South Carolina’s general election, set for Tuesday, November 6, is just 21 days away. The governor’s race and every House of Representatives seat is on the ballot. This is a particularly important election as lawmakers are expected to vote on a medical cannabis bill in 2019, and it will likely need the support of the governor. Those in office will have a huge impact on the future of South Carolina’s patients and their treatment options. Our voter guide is now available online. It includes all House candidates who either co-sponsored the 2018 medical cannabis bill or who responded to our questionnaire on medical cannabis support. It also includes committee votes and the candidates for governor. While James Smith (D) is a strong supporter of allowing medical cannabis, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) said he would not sign a bill unless law enforcement signs off — which they show no inclination of doing. Voters’ choices this year will have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in the state. If you are registered to vote, know where your candidates stand, and be sure to vote! If you haven’t registered to vote yet, you have until October 17. For more information, including polling places and other key information, check out the state’s elections website here.   The post South Carolina: November 6 is General Election Day! appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-16
  • The Illinois general election is around the corner
    The Illinois general election takes place on November 6. It’s fast approaching, and voters this year will have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in Illinois. Lawmakers continue to look closely at ending marijuana prohibition and legalizing cannabis for adults 21 and over, and the differences between the two major party candidates for governor couldn’t be bigger on this issue: JB Pritzker (D) has come out in strong support of legalizing and regulating marijuana, while Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) remains opposed. Take a minute to check out our Illinois Voter Guide and see where the candidates on your ballot stand on cannabis reform. Not all the candidates have a voting history on cannabis bills in the state House or Senate, but for those that do, we’ve summarized the voting record on key cannabis-related bills over the past several years. If you haven’t registered to vote yet, you have until October 21 to register online. For more information, including where you can cast your ballot and when voting locations will be open, check out the state’s website here. In nearby Michigan, voters will have an opportunity to legalize marijuana themselves. But in Illinois, there’s no citizen initiative process, so only lawmakers can end the wasteful and cruel policy of prohibition. This year’s elections will likely have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in Illinois. Now is the time for voters who support a better path for Illinois to make their voice heard.   The post The Illinois general election is around the corner appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-16
  • Cannabis Tax Crimes: Don’t Even Think About It
    Today let’s talk about Matthew Price, the Oregon marijuana businessman headed to jail for tax crimes. This story got a lot of coverage when it broke last month, partly because it was the first known tax-related prosecution for a licensed pot business owner, and partly because Price was fairly well known in Oregon. He once sat on an Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) rules advisory committee for cannabis retail, and he owned three dispensaries. Seems like he was off to a pretty good start. Well, not any longer. In addition to the seven-month lockup, Price was ordered to pay the I.R.S. $262,776 in restitution on the nearly $1 million in taxable income he raked in from 2011 to 2014. He will probably never be allowed to participate in the OLCC program again, given the agency’s recent tightening of the screws, and its authority to bar anyone with a federal conviction “substantially related to the fitness and ability of the applicant” to obtain a license. Generally speaking, marijuana businesses are liable for lots of tax under IRC 280E. As cannabis business lawyers, we work with CPAs and others to attempt to mitigate our clients’ tax liability, but at the end of the day, that liability is always there. Tax obligations do not end at the federal level, of course: Most states have income tax programs, and all states with legal cannabis programs seem to collect additional taxes on the sale of marijuana. In Oregon, for example, that sales tax must be escrowed by OLCC retailers and paid to the state Department of Revenue. As to Matthew Price, the news reporting was silent on whether he was also shirking those payments. Having advised state-legal cannabis businesses since 2010, we have seen a lot of monkey business when it comes to tax. We have seen bad lawyers advise clients not to pay taxes, on the theory that tax programs violate business owners’ rights against self-incrimination. We have seen businesses attempt to claim “non-profit” status and avoid taxes in that manner, despite the impossibility of receiving an I.R.S. exemption. And we’ve seen lots of “management company” schemes, most of which are nonsense. At the end of the day, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, death and taxes are certain. Interestingly and appropriately, the judge in this case didn’t seem to treat Price differently because his income derived from cannabis sales. It was reported that federal prosecutors petitioned the judge to go hard on Price, in order to send a message to the marijuana industry. The judge ... read more
    Source: Canna Law Blog – OregonPublished on 2018-10-15
  • Paying Cannabis Employees Equally Under the Oregon Equal Pay Act: Part 1
    Back in 2017, the Oregon legislature passed equal pay legislation prohibiting employers from asking applicants about compensation history. The law is known as the Equal Pay Act. This law, like other employment laws, applies to cannabis businesses. The equal pay provision of the law goes into effect on January 1, 2019. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) was tasked with drafting rules implementing the Equal Pay Act and recently released draft rules. This series of posts will unpack the new rules and explain the impacts on your cannabis business. The Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying disparate compensation for work of a comparable character. The Equal Pay Act defines compensation as “wages, salary, bonuses, benefits, fringe benefits and equity-based compensation.” What this means is each of these taken in total is an employee’s compensation. The proposed BOLI rules provide clarification to each of the words that make up “compensation.” BOLI defines benefits as: “the rate of contribution that an employee makes irrevocably to a trustee or to a third person under a plan, fund or program; or the rate of costs to the employer in providing benefits to an employee beyond what is required by federal, state or local law pursuant to an enforceable commitment to carry out a financially responsible plan or program which is committed to the employee affected including but not limited to the following: medical or hospital care; pensions on retirement or death; compensation for injuries or illness resulting from occupational activity; insurance to provide any of [the above]; unemployment benefits; life insurance; disability insurance; sick leave pay; accident insurance; vacation or holiday pay; or defraying costs of other bona fide fringe benefits.” But what does this long-winded definition actually mean? As an example, if you have two extraction technicians that perform substantially the same work, you need to provide them the same benefits, otherwise you will be in violation of the equal pay laws. If you provide one health insurance, you need to provide the other the same level of health insurance. Etc. Bonus, similarly has been given a long definition. Bonus is defined as: “an amount that is paid or something of monetary or quantifiable value that is given to an employee by an employer in addition to the employee’s regular rate of pay, typically as a means of encouragement or in recognition of superior performance. Bonuses include but are not limited to the following: signing or job acceptance bonuses; attendance bonuses; loyalty bonuses; performance bonuses; and productivity bonuses.” Again, if ... read more
    Source: Canna Law Blog – OregonPublished on 2018-10-14
  • Oct. 17: You’re invited to a special event for Michigan’s YES on 1 campaign!
    Proposal 1, the Michigan legalization ballot initiative, is up in the polls, but it’s still too close for comfort. The opposition campaign is just a couple of big checks away from being able to launch a large misinformation campaign. We’re in the final weeks of the election, and we need to make sure the Yes on 1 campaign has the resources it needs to educate voters about the benefits of legalizing marijuana. Next week, I hope you’ll join me in Ann Arbor for a special evening to support this important campaign. RSVP via phone (517-974-2265) or email (robin@regulatemi.org). If you can’t attend, please consider making a contribution directly to the campaign here. And please share the word with other supporters. Let’s win this! The post Oct. 17: You’re invited to a special event for Michigan’s YES on 1 campaign! appeared first on MPP Blog. ... read more
    Source: Marijuana Policy ProjectPublished on 2018-10-12