Convenience Store News

MAR 2017

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Cigarettes + Cigars + Smokeless + E-Cigs + Other OTP TOBACCO to other business; and • De-scheduling marijuana — removing it from the Controlled Substances Act, which would allow states to set their cannabis policies without inter- ference from the federal government, much as they currently do with alcohol. The new 115 th Congress is expected to introduce a large number of bills aimed at reforming various aspects of federal marijuana policy — from reducing interference with state laws, to allowing the use of banking services by marijuana businesses, to providing medical cannabis access to military veterans. Two members of Congress, one a Republican and the other a Democrat, have formed a Cannabis Caucus intended to improve the odds of passing bipartisan federal cannabis reform bills. CSN vive." He also noted President Donald Trump made a pre-election statement that cannabis belongs at the state level, which Taggert ultimately agrees with. Yet, Taggert and others say the biggest hurdle in the short-term for existing and new cannabis busi- nesses right now is that legalization is only on a state level. Pot-legal stores in any state are in direct conflict with the federal government, particularly the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which last sum- mer reaffirmed that marijuana was still a Schedule 1 drug, the same category as heroin. While the federal government announced in 2013 that it would not prosecute states for legalizing marijuana under certain conditions, it is still a federal headache for cannabis businesses, which have trouble opening bank accounts and accepting credit cards. This is the reason why one savvy tobacco-outlet business operating in Colorado — even a closer match to the cannabis industry than convenience stores are — recently decided against making the leap into can- nabis sales, at least for now. "If we are breaking the law federally, what might that do to our liquor licenses and tobacco licenses?" asked Terry Gallagher Jr., managing partner of Boulder, Colo.-based Smoker Friendly. "As long as it is not legal federally, we can't take that risk with our core business today. So, while the category is still very attractive to us, we haven't moved that way at this point." Instead, Smoker Friendly has approached the cannabis business from an accessories stance: the tobacco chain has a "glass" business under the name Glass Werx. STILL CHARGING AHEAD Efforts are ongoing to move forward to a new era of marijuana policy. The National Cannabis Industry Association has three priorities for congressional action on cannabis policy: • Protecting public safety and increasing trans- parency by opening up banking access for state-compliant mari - juana businesses; • Ending the "crippling effect" of federal tax code Section 280E, which the NCIA says was "intended for criminals, but taxes legitimate marijuana busi- nesses at triple the effective rate" applied States Where Cannabis Is Legal (recreational and medicinal): States Where Medicinal Cannabis Is Legal: States Where All Cannabis Is Illegal: Cannabis Legality in the U.S. The remaining states have varying degrees of cannabis decriminalization and/or allow cannabidiol/CBD oil only, but not medicinal marijuana. Alaska California Colorado District of Columbia Maine Massachusetts Nevada Oregon Washington Idaho Indiana Kansas South Dakota West Virginia Arizona Arkansas Connecticut Delaware Florida Hawaii Illinois Louisiana Maryland Michigan Minnesota Montana New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Dakota Ohio Pennsylvania Rhode Island Vermont 74 Convenience Store News | MARCH 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

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