US cannabis industry’s big problem: Too much cash


Matthew Hatcher/Reuters

Marijuana can be sold legally in 36 US states and the District of Columbia (DC) for medical use and in 15 of them and in DC for recreational purposes. But it is still illegal on a federal level, meaning most banks refuse to service the industry in case they fall afoul of money laundering laws…

With the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing legalisation driving a surge in cannabis use, the sector’s producers, manufacturers and retailers are awash in cash, adding risk and costs to the most basic business transactions from paying employees and filing taxes to finding somewhere to store their income…

Legal US cannabis sales grew 30 percent to $22bn last year, more than the $17.5bn Americans spent on wine, according to data from Euromonitor. Sales are expected to jump more than 20 percent this year…

The House of Representatives passed a bill in April that would allow cannabis firms to have bank accounts, get loans and accept credit card payments but it may not make it to the Senate because Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to work instead towards lifting the federal ban on cannabis.

A full federal green light is the industry’s ultimate goal but it is not counting on Schumer’s pledge to make it happen by next year.

Ah, yes. Several solutions are at hand. All that is needed is decision, a vote, and implementation by Congress. And our politicians are so good at getting that part done, eh?

Philadelphia says remains of 1985 bombing victims were not destroyed … every time they said they were.

A day after the Philadelphia health commissioner was forced to resign over the cremation of partial remains belonging to victims of a 1985 police bombing of the headquarters of a Black organization, the city said those remains were never actually destroyed.

Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement late on Friday saying that remains of Move bombing victims thought to have been cremated in 2017, under orders from health commissioner Thomas Farley, had been located at the medical examiner’s office…

“I am relieved that these remains were found and not destroyed. However I am also very sorry for the needless pain that this ordeal has caused the Africa family,” Kenney said, adding that “many unanswered questions” surround the case – including why Farley’s order wasn’t obeyed.

Kenney compelled Farley to resign on Thursday, the 36th anniversary of the Move bombing, after consulting the victims’ family members. At the time, the mayor said Farley’s decision to order the cremation and disposal of the remains without notifying the decedents’ family members lacked empathy.

The medical examiner’s office has now pledged to turn over the remains once the investigation is complete. Watch this space! Someday, we’ll find out who’s in charge.

What will you do when your favorite gas station runs dry, this summer?

Millions of people stuck at home for more than a year are expected to hit the road for much-needed post-pandemic vacations this summer. Good luck finding gas.

Not that there’s a looming shortage of crude oil or gasoline. Rather, it’s the tanker truck drivers needed to deliver the gas to stations who are in short supply.

According to the National Tank Truck Carriers, the industry’s trade group, somewhere between 20% to 25% of tank trucks in the fleet are parked heading into this summer due to a paucity of qualified drivers. At this point in 2019, only 10% of trucks were sitting idle for that reason.

“We’ve been dealing with a driver shortage for a while, but the pandemic took that issue and metastasized it,” said Ryan Streblow, the executive vice president of the NTTC. “It certainly has grown exponentially.”…

Not just any truck driver is allowed to drive a tanker truck. It requires special certification, including a commercial driver’s license, and weeks of training after being hired. And while the jobs are more attractive than some long-haul trucking jobs that can keep drivers away from home for days or weeks at a time, it is strenuous, difficult work.

Holly McCormick, who runs the workforce committee for NTTC, said another problem was the shutdown of many driver schools early in the pandemic. The pipeline of new drivers those schools would have produced has yet to be filled, she said. And then there’s a new federal clearinghouse that went online in January 2020 to identify truck drivers with prior drug or alcohol violations or failed drug tests, which knocked about 40,000 to 60,000 total drivers out of the national employment pool.

Oops!

New Coppers often teamed with crap coppers. Guess what they learn?


YOU GUESSED IT! HOW TO BE CRAP COPPERS.

Police in the United States receive less initial training than their counterparts in other rich countries—about five months in a classroom and another three or so months in the field, on average. Many European nations, meanwhile, have something more akin to police universities, which can take three or four years to complete. European countries also have national standards for various elements of a police officer’s job—such as how to search a car and when to use a baton. The U.S. does not.

The 18,000 police departments in the U.S. each have their own rules and requirements. But although police reform is a contentious subject, the inadequacy of the current training provides a rare point of relative consensus: “Police officers, police chiefs, and everyone agree that we do not get enough training in a myriad of fields,” Dennis Slocumb, the legislative director of the International Union of Police Associations, told me…

…Few American officers receive much education about the history of policing or the role of police in a democratic society. “The officer coming out of one of the European training programs, he’s much more likely to have a much broader perspective on what the job is, what your role is, what your society is like, how do you fit into it,” says David Harris, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. “Those things are just not really part of what’s going on in most American police-training programs.”…

New officers are often paired with field-training officers, but many of those officers learned the wrong techniques themselves, and are passing them along to their trainees. Derek Chauvin, who was convicted on Tuesday of murder, was acting as a field-training officer when he killed George Floyd. Kim Potter, who shouted “Taser! Taser! Taser!” before fatally shooting Daunte Wright with her pistol last week, was also acting as a field-training officer at the time.

I think you get the idea. It makes a great deal of sense [to me] that folks who are actually trained to be professionals, meeting recognized standards of behavior…will turn out to be police professionals more often than not. That might even be a more useful place to spend tax dollars than urban assault tanks. Or picking up the tab for defending cops who murder civilians.

1st Amendment OK’s recording coppers — Suggestions for staying alive!

Recordings of police officers, whether by witnesses to an incident with officers, individuals who are themselves interacting with officers, or by members of the press, are an invaluable tool in the fight for police accountability. Often, it’s the video alone that leads to disciplinary action, firing, or prosecution of an officer.

This blog post provides some practical tips to record the police legally and safely, and explains some of the legal nuances of recording the police.

What to Know When Recording the Police

* You have the right to record police officers exercising their official duties in public.
* Stay calm and courteous.
* Do not interfere with police officers. If you are a bystander, stand at a safe distance from the scene that you are recording.
* You may take photos or record video and/or audio.
* Police officers cannot order you to move because you are recording, but they may order you to move for public safety reasons even if you are recording.
* Police officers may not search your cell phone or other device without a warrant based on probable cause from a judge, even if you are under arrest. Thus, you may refuse a request from an officer to review or delete what you recorded. You also may refuse to unlock your phone or provide your passcode.
* Despite reasonably exercising your First Amendment rights, police may illegally retaliate against you in a number of ways including with arrest, destruction of your device, and bodily harm. We urge you to remain alert and mindful about this possibility.

Don’t expect cops to obey the law or even know or understand the law. That’s a sad thing to have to say; but, it’s the truth. Staying alive … living to fight another day … gets a lot more done than a photo of your body on the front page of a newspaper.

Happy Weed Day!


Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

I was deeply proud to sign this bill into law because I know it will open up so many opportunities for New Mexico. Opportunities for workers and entrepreneurs to build prosperous careers. Opportunities to generate more revenue for state and local governments. And opportunities to mend the harm done by the failed war on drugs – which has taken a disproportionate toll on communities of color.

This is the kind of change I’m dreaming of when I talk about building a brighter future for New Mexico – a win-win that allows both individuals and communities to thrive. Together, we’ll keep fighting to make our bold agenda a reality. This session, we’ve proven that it’s possible.

If you search around the Web, no doubt you’ll find the occasional nod to the new law here in New Mexico. We’re all proud of the law and the governor who got it through the Roundhouse. I’ve already rec’d happy notes from friends back East who are ready to visit at the drop of a joint.

Funny thing is … I haven’t smoked ANYTHING since about 1960. Decided it wasn’t a healthy habit and quit. Probably got a bit of a contact high now and then the years I was singing. I really haven’t yet researched quite how I might introduce some flavor or other of New Mexico Home Grown into my daily calorie intake.

Probably try a brownie recipe or something like that … some Friday, my bread-baking day. 🙂