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Todd Harrison, CEO and founder of financial media company Minyanville, thinks marijuana "will be the single best investment idea for the next 10 years." He says that a lot of the penny stocks are volatile and are best left alone. The two companies that are established and that are worth looking into are GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) and Advanced Cannabis Solutions (CANN) both of these marijuana related companies have had tremendous upside in the last year. The marijuana industry is being described as the next dot.com boom. Long story short, there is a lot of money to be made in this industry if you invest wisely.

Read more about marijuana investment opportunities at  www.minyanville.com. 

By David Ingram and Jason Lange

At Reuters

The Obama administration on Friday sought to lessen the fear of prosecution for banks doing business with licensed marijuana companies, further encouraging U.S. states such as Colorado and Washington that are experimenting with legalizing the drug.

The Justice and Treasury departments outlined the policy in writing to federal prosecutors and financial institutions nationwide. The guidance stopped short of promising immunity for banks, but made clear that criminal prosecution for money laundering and other crimes was unlikely if they met a series of conditions, officials said.

The guidance was intended to increase the availability of banking services, such as savings and checking accounts, to marijuana shops that typically deal in cash.

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By Katy Steinmetz

At Time.com

More than a dozen members of Congress called on President Barack Obama on Wednesday to remove marijuana from the federal government’s list of hard drugs, seizing upon his own comments in a recent interview that pot is no more dangerous than alcohol.

“We were encouraged by your recent comments,” the letter from 17 Democrats and one Republican said. “We request that you take action to help alleviate the harms to society caused by the federal Schedule I classification of marijuana. … You said that you don’t believe marijuana is any more dangerous than alcohol: a fully legalized substance. …. Marijuana, however, remains listed in the federal Controlled Substances Act at Schedule I, the strictest classification.

“This makes no sense,” the lawmakers added.

Obama recently told the New Yorker that marijuana isn’t more harmful than alcohol when it comes to “its impact on the individual consumer.” Legalization advocates quickly jumped on those remarks and started a petition on Change.org, saying Obama should put his money where his mouth is and remove pot from Schedule I list of drugs, where it currently resides alongside substances like heroin, LSD and ecstasy.

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By Heesun Wee 

At CNBC.com 

As legalized marijuana sales take off in Colorado , here's what a pot business model and mature marketplace might look like.

Twenty states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana-and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a medical marijuana plan in his State of the State speech last week.

But voters in Colorado and Washington state went a step further in 2012, becoming the first in the nation to legalize small plant amounts for adult recreational use and to regulate it like alcohol. Colorado sales began on New Year's Day. Marijuana retailers are scheduled to open in Washington state later this year.

Amid this historic backdrop, a small merchant -focused pot industry is growing, alongside forerunners to national-potentially public-cannabis companies. The legal marijuana sector could unfold and function like the beer industry, with small batch varieties nabbing market share amid larger brands.

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By Peter Hecht
At The Sacramento Bee

On New Year’s Day in Colorado, state-licensed marijuana stores will begin selling pot purely for pleasurable consumption.

Colorado, already home to the nation’s most regulated medical marijuana industry, expects to open its first two dozen stores selling recreational cannabis users up to an ounce of pot each. Another 400 applications are pending for retail marijuana shops, commercial cultivators or pot product producers.

In Washington, where voters also legalized recreational marijuana use in November 2012, the state is reviewing a flood of applications for 340 state licenses for marijuana stores expected to begin opening this spring.

Now in California, where a recent Field poll showed 55 percent voter support for marijuana legalization beyond medical use, four pot legalization ballot initiatives have emerged as contenders for the November ballot.

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By Jane Wells

At CNBC.com

As legalization of marijuana grows, so too is the outlook of companies catering to the pot business.

One such firm, WeedMaps.com, a website that allows users to rate and review medical marijuana dispensaries, expects to post $30 million in revenue this year and increase that by 20 percent next year.

The company was started five years ago by Justin Hartfield, a pot smoker who also has a degree in computer science from the University of California at Irvine.

"I started it because I wanted to find where the medical marijuana dispensaries were in my area," said Hartfield. "It was a very selfish thing for me and my friends, and it turned into a business."

WeedMaps makes money by charging dispensaries for access to certain information, the ability to respond to reviews and getting professional photos and videos posted. Hartfield said he expects sales of $30 million this year to grow at least another $6 million next year now that the company has rolled out a new Groupon-style "Deals" option.

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By Stephen Fishman, J.D.

At Nolo.com

What happens, legally speaking, when a group of people get together and decide to perform some task without filing any legal paperwork or establishing any formal legal structure? Whether they know it or not, they have formed an unincorporated association. “Unincorporated association" means an unincorporated group of two or more persons joined by mutual consent for a common lawful purpose, whether organized for profit or not.

Now, if the lawful purpose they’ve joined together to accomplish includes earning a profit, their association is automatically a partnership or joint venture for tax and most other legal purposes. For example, if two people get together and decide to operate a food truck, they’ve formed a partnership, even if they file no paperwork.

But, if the purpose for the association is to benefit the public some way, and does not include earning a profit, the association’s members have formed an unincorporated nonprofit association. People form nonprofit unincorporated associations all the time; often without being aware of it. For example, if you and several of your neighbors get together to help raise funds to keep your local library branch open, you’ve formed an unincorporated nonprofit association.

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By Aldo Gamboa

Washington (AFP)

In a country known for its drug war and where Bill Clinton once caught hell for admitting to smoking pot, new ground is being broken: legal marijuana markets in two states.

The pioneers of this sea change are out west, in Colorado and Washington, and grassroots support for their experiment is strong.

Marijuana consumption is legal and regulated for medical purposes in 19 US states, in some cases for the past 20 years. And in most of them, private consumption of pot is not classified as a crime.

But Colorado and Washington are taking a big jump forward. They are creating a pot market in which local authorities will oversee growing, distribution and marketing — all of it legal — for people to get high just for the fun of it.

In Colorado, famous for its Rocky Mountain ski resorts, at least 130 licenses have been issued for small shops which, starting January 1, will be able to sell up to 28 grams of marijuana to people aged 21 or older. Another 300 applications for licenses are pending. The pot sold in shops will come from private, licensed growers.

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By DAVID DOWNS

At East Bay Express

Activists are worried about a new California Appellate Court ruling over the Thanksgiving break that appears to give cities and counties the okay to ban all medical marijuana cultivation – even a single plant, in a closet, for personal, medical use.

The case revolves around the City of Live Oak, which passed an ordinance in 2011 banning medical marijuana cultivation. Patients there sued and a local judge sided with the city. Patients then appealed and the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Sacramento upheld the ban last week, according to reports, and said state law and previous court decisions "do not pre-empt a city's police power to prohibit the cultivation of all marijuana within that city."

There is no "unfettered right to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes," the appeals court said.

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 By Carr Smith

At The Associated Press

With the death of Cleveland billionaire and philanthropist Peter B. Lewis, the push for relaxed U.S. marijuana laws lost its most generous supporter. That's left supporters wondering what comes next.

Lewis, chairman of Progressive Insurance, died Saturday at age 80. Since the 1980s, he had donated an estimated $40 million to $60 million to marijuana law reform — including underwriting ballot campaigns, research, political polling and legal defense efforts.

Largely through Lewis' efforts, and those of several other billionaires, 20 states since 1996 have passed medical marijuana laws, 17 have decriminalized the drug and two have passed legalization language.

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