Credit unions step up for cannabis entrepreneurs

The OlympianApril 14, 2014 

A worker marks bins of plants in the vegetative room.

KAI-HUEI YAU — Tri-City Herald

YAY: CANNABIS BANKING

State Liquor Control Board Chair Sharon Foster told the Olympia Rotary Club last week that at least one, and maybe two, credit unions will offer financial services to marijuana growers, processors and retail store owners. That’s good news because otherwise those state-licensed businesses would have to operate on a cash basis, exposing themselves to violent crimes.

BOO: NO MERGED MARKETS

The Legislature failed to merge the medical and recreational cannabis markets during the 2014 session, as the federal Department of Justice has demanded. But getting the unregulated medical market under control is a top priority for the 2015 session. Otherwise, it puts the state legal market in jeopardy.

For example, there are 240 medical pot dispensaries in Seattle, and there will only be 21 licensed retail stores. In Olympia, there are 13 medical outlets, and the LCB has approved only two for recreational pot.

 

YAY: DRIVING CRACKDOWN

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission said law enforcement would crack down on distracted drivers last week. Police would ticket drivers caught texting, holding phones or answering emails.

Distracted drivers are often easy to spot. They drive too slowly, weave in their lane or don’t notice traffic light changes. Getting these people off the road makes it safer for the rest of us.

BOO: STATE GETS A B

Washingtonians consider themselves high achievers, so why didn’t the state earn an A grade from the Washington Public Interest Research Group on disclosure of government spending? We could “ace” this test if the state’s fiscal web site detailed the impacts of public tax exemptions, such as how many jobs the business or industry created. Taxpayers would like to know that information, too.

YAY: RUNNING FOR OFFICE

So far, it’s been quiet on the election front in Thurston County. But candidate filing week – May 12-16 – is coming up fast. The auditor’s office can accept filings for office by mail as early as April 28. Time is running out if you plan to run for one of the many county or state offices on this year’s ballot.

 

BOO: SPOILING THE FUN

Sixteen residents of a New York state nursing home voted unanimously to hire a male stripper to dance for them. But a lawsuit was initiated by the son of one 85-year-old resident who found a photo of his mother stuffing cash in the entertainer’s waistband. All of the residents are in the 80s. Was it so bad?

BOO: CONGRESS, AGAIN

We’ll give the U.S. Senate a thumbs-up for finally voting to extend unemployment aid to millions of Americans struggling to find work, including more than 40,000 in our state. Congress should never have let the benefits expire last December. But U.S. House Republicans have already said they won’t even consider the matter. They are heartless.

HUH: LOSING ITS STATUS

Getting into an Ivy League college isn’t so special anymore, at least not compared with landing a job with Walmart or Google. This Week magazine reports Ivy League schools accepted 8.9 percent of applicants. Walmart hired just 2.6 percent and Google only 0.5 percent.

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