Medical cannabis is not just about patients anymore, said Mark Slaugh, CEO of iComply, an organization that works on compliance and regulations with medical marijuana businesses. The $1.7 billion medical marijuana industry is about economics, medicine, politics, business and law.
The forum features speakers discussing the current trend in medical cannabis industrialization and its impacts on Colorado, Slaugh said.
“Almost everyone knows someone who has benefited from the medicinal use of cannabis as a treatment for chronic conditions,” he said. “Everyone is also aware of the mounting pressure from governments in favor of continued prohibition and criminalization of cannabis patients.”
In August, Colorado dispensaries received notice from Colorado Springs State Bank that it would no longer accept its accounts. As one of the last Colorado banks that publically accepted dispensary accounts, the moved forced many dispensaries to operate cash-only businesses, which is both cumbersome and dangerous, Slaugh said. While use of medical marijuana and dispensaries are legal in Colorado, the federal government does not recognize state’s authority and considers it illegal business.
Slaugh said the forum aims to discuss possible strategies the industry can take at the federal, state and local level.
In May, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced the “Small Business Banking Improvement Act of 2011” which would allow financial institutions to work with medical marijuana businesses without fear of running afoul of federal banking regulations. It is one of three bills introduced that specifically address banking and taxation for the medical marijuana industry.
The forum features speakers James Lembeck, president of Colorado Therapeutic Enterprises; Dr. Robert Melemeade, internationally known biologist in the field of cannabinology; Clifton Black, lawyer and expert on medical cannabis law; and Tanya Garduno, owner of Medical Cannabis Center.
“During America’s great recession, medical marijuana is helping society despite countless obstacles – by providing jobs, public revenue, and economic growth on an unprecedented scale,” Slaugh said. “Business opportunities are growing and many sub industries also benefit from this industry.”
For details on the luncheon, visit www.complywithme.com/events