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I copy news articles pertaining to research, news and information for Parkinson's disease, Dementia, the Brain, Depression and Parkinson's with Dystonia. I also post about Fundraising for Parkinson's disease and events. I try to be up-to-date as possible. I have Parkinson's
diseases as well and thought it would be nice to have a place where
updated news is in one place. That is why I began this blog.
I am not responsible for it's contents, I am just a copier of information searched on the computer. Please understand the copies are just that, copies and at times, I am unable to enlarge the wording or keep it uniformed as I wish. This is for you to read and to always keep an open mind.
Please discuss this with your doctor, should you have any questions, or concerns. Never do anything without talking to your doctor. I do not make any money from this website. I volunteer my time to help all of us to be informed. Please No advertisers, and No Information about Herbal treatments. This is a free site for all.
Thank you.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

High Blood Pressure May Impair Cognitive Function and Pose Risk for Alzheimer’s

NEUROSCIENCE NEWS
Summary: A new study reports high blood pressure in middle age may lead to cognitive impairment and could be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.


Source: Loyola University Health System.

The effect of high blood pressure in late life is less clear. Some studies suggest it’s harmful, while other research suggests it may improve cognition. This highlights “the complexities of recommending uniform levels of blood pressure across the life course,” the expert panel wrote. NeuroscienceNews.com image is for illustrative purposes only.

High blood pressure in middle age can lead to impaired cognition and is a potential risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a statement from the American Heart Association co-authored by Loyola Medicine neurologist José Biller, MD.

Dr. Biller is a member of the multidisciplinary panel of experts that wrote the statement, published in the heart association journal Hypertension. Dr. Biller is chair of the department of neurology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. The panel is chaired by Constantino Iadecola, MD, of Weill Cornell Medicine and co-chaired by Kristine Yaffe, MD, of the University of California San Francisco.

Dementia affects an estimated 30 to 40 million people worldwide, and the number is expected to triple by 2050 due to an aging population and other factors.

An estimated 80 million people in the United States have hypertension, and the brain is among the organs most affected. Except for age, hypertension is the most important risk factor for vascular problems in the brain that lead to stroke and dementia.
There is consistent evidence that chronic high blood pressure during middle age (40 to 64) is associated with altered cognitive function in both middle age and late life (65 to 84). Cognitive abilities that are affected include memory, speed of processing and executive function (ability to organize thoughts, manage time, make decisions, etc.)

The effect of high blood pressure in late life is less clear. Some studies suggest it’s harmful, while other research suggests it may improve cognition. This highlights “the complexities of recommending uniform levels of blood pressure across the life course,” the expert panel wrote.
Observational studies have demonstrated that high blood pressure causes atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and other damage to the brain’s blood vessels, leading to reduced blood flow to brain cells. But evidence from clinical trials that treating blood pressure improves cognition is not conclusive.

After carefully reviewing available studies, the panel concluded there are not enough data to make evidence-based recommendations. However, judicious treatment of high blood pressure, taking into account goals of care and the patient’s individual characteristics, “seems justified to safeguard vascular health and, as a consequence, brain health,” the panel concluded.
The paper is titled, “Impact of hypertension on cognitive function: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association.”
ABOUT THIS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE RESEARCH ARTICLE
Source: Jim Ritter – Loyola University Health System 
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Abstract for “Impact of Hypertension on Cognitive Function: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association” by Costantino Iadecola, Kristine Yaffe, José Biller, Lisa C. Bratzke, Frank M. Faraci, Philip B. Gorelick, Martha Gulati, Hooman Kamel, David S. Knopman, Lenore J. Launer, Jane S. Saczynski, Sudha Seshadri, Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri and on behalf of the American Heart Association Council on Hypertension; Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research; and Stroke Council in Hypertension. Published online October 10 2016 doi:10.1161/HYP.0000000000000053


Abstract
Impact of Hypertension on Cognitive Function: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association

Background Age-related dementia, most commonly caused by Alzheimer disease or cerebrovascular factors (vascular dementia), is a major public health threat. Chronic arterial hypertension is a well-established risk factor for both types of dementia, but the link between hypertension and its treatment and cognition remains poorly understood. In this scientific statement, a multidisciplinary team of experts examines the impact of hypertension on cognition to assess the state of the knowledge, to identify gaps, and to provide future directions.

Methods Authors with relevant expertise were selected to contribute to this statement in accordance with the American Heart Association conflict-of-interest management policy. Panel members were assigned topics relevant to their areas of expertise, reviewed the literature, and summarized the available data.

Results Hypertension disrupts the structure and function of cerebral blood vessels, leads to ischemic damage of white matter regions critical for cognitive function, and may promote Alzheimer pathology. There is strong evidence of a deleterious influence of midlife hypertension on late-life cognitive function, but the cognitive impact of late-life hypertension is less clear. Observational studies demonstrated a cumulative effect of hypertension on cerebrovascular damage, but evidence from clinical trials that antihypertensive treatment improves cognition is not conclusive.


Conclusions After carefully reviewing the literature, the group concluded that there were insufficient data to make evidence-based recommendations. However, judicious treatment of hypertension, taking into account goals of care and individual characteristics (eg, age and comorbidities), seems justified to safeguard vascular health and, as a consequence, brain health.

“Impact of Hypertension on Cognitive Function: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association” by Costantino Iadecola, Kristine Yaffe, José Biller, Lisa C. Bratzke, Frank M. Faraci, Philip B. Gorelick, Martha Gulati, Hooman Kamel, David S. Knopman, Lenore J. Launer, Jane S. Saczynski, Sudha Seshadri, Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri and on behalf of the American Heart Association Council on Hypertension; Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research; and Stroke Council in Hypertension. Published online October 10 2016 doi:10.1161/HYP.0000000000000053

http://neurosciencenews.com/blood-pressure-alzheimers-5386/

Transition From Daylight Saving Time To Standard Time Leads To Depressions

NEUROSCIENCE NEWS
Summary: A new study reveals an increase in depression diagnosis in Denmark following the transition from Daylight Savings time to standard time.


Source: Aarhus University.

The results have been obtained by comparing the development in the number of depressions in the periods after the transitions to standard time in the period from 1995 to 2012, with the predicted development calculated on the basis of the number of depressions up until the transitions. NeuroscienceNews.com image is for illustrative purposes only.


The number of people diagnosed with depression at psychiatric hospitals increases immediately after the transition from daylight saving time to standard time — this is the conclusion of a recent register-based study from Denmark.

“The year has 16 months: November, December, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, November, November, November,” writes the Danish poet Henrik Nordbrandt in a disheartening comment on the month we are about to enter.

And Nordbrandt is not the only one suffering in November. A recently published study documents that the number of people who are diagnosed with depression at psychiatric hospitals in Denmark increases immediately after the transition from daylight saving time to standard time. More specifically, the number of depression diagnoses during the month after the transition from daylight saving time is approximately eight per cent higher than expected based on the development in the number of diagnoses up to the transition.

The study is based on analysis of 185,419 depression diagnoses registered in The Central Psychiatric Research Register between 1995 and 2012.

According to Associate Professor Søren D. Østergaard from Aarhus University Hospital in Risskov, which is part of The Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University, the increase in depression rates is too pronounced to be coincidental.
Søren D. Østergaard is one of the five researchers behind the study, which is the result of a collaboration between departments of psychiatry and political science at the universities of Aarhus, Copenhagen and Stanford.

“We are relatively certain that it is the transition from daylight saving time to standard time that causes the increase in the number of depression diagnoses and not, for example, the change in the length of the day or bad weather. In fact, we take these phenomena into account in our analyses,” says Søren D. Østergaard.

He also points out that even though the study is based on analysis of relatively severe depressions diagnosed at psychiatric hospitals, there is no reason to believe that the time transition only affects the propensity to develop more severe forms of depression.
“We expect that the entire spectrum of severity is affected by the transition from daylight saving time to standard time, and since depression is a highly prevalent illness, an increase of eight per cent corresponds to many cases”, says Søren D. Østergaard.

The study does not identify the underlying mechanism triggering the marked increase, but the researchers point to some possible causes. In Denmark, the transition from daylight saving time to standard time ‘moves’ one hour of daylight from the afternoon between 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm to the morning between 7:00 am – 8:00 am.

“We probably benefit less from the daylight in the morning between seven and eight, because many of us are either in the shower, eating breakfast or sitting in a car or bus on the way to work or school. When we get home and have spare time in the afternoon, it is already dark,” explains Søren D. Østergaard.

“Furthermore, the transition to standard time is likely to be associated with a negative psychological effect as it very clearly marks the coming of a period of long, dark and cold days,” says Søren D. Østergaard.
Why are the results of the study important? The researcher from Aarhus University is not in doubt.

“Our results should give rise to increased awareness of depression in the weeks following the transition to standard time. This is especially true for people with a tendency towards depression – as well as their relatives. Furthermore the healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat depression should also take our results into consideration,” says Søren D. Østergaard.
ABOUT THIS PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCH ARTICLE
Source: Søren Dinesen Østergaard – Aarhus University 
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Abstract for “Daylight savings time transitions and the incidence rate of unipolar depressive episodes” by Hansen, Bertel T.; Sønderskov, Kim M.; Hageman, Ida; Dinesen, Peter T.; and Østergaard, Søren D. in Epidemiology. Published online October 20 2016 doi:10.1097/EDE.0000000000000580


Abstract

BACKGROUND: Daylight savings time transitions affect approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide. Prior studies have documented associations between daylight savings time transitions and adverse health outcomes, but it remains unknown whether they also cause an increase in the incidence rate of depressive episodes. This seems likely because daylight savings time transitions affect circadian rhythms, which are implicated in the etiology of depressive disorder. Therefore, we investigated the effects of daylight savings time transitions on the incidence rate of unipolar depressive episodes.
METHODS: Using time series intervention analysis of nationwide data from the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register from 1995 to 2012 we compared the observed trend in the incidence rate of hospital contacts for unipolar depressive episodes after the transitions to and from summer time to the predicted trend in the incidence rate.
RESULTS: The analyses were based on 185.419 hospital contacts for unipolar depression and showed that the transition from summer time to standard time were associated with an 11% increase (95% CI: 7%, 15%) in the incidence rate of unipolar depressive episodes that dissipated over approximately 10 weeks. The transition from standard time to summer time was not associated with a parallel change in the incidence rate of unipolar depressive episodes.
CONCLUSION: This study shows that the transition from summer time to standard time was associated with an increase in the incidence rate of unipolar depressive episodes. Distress associated with the sudden advancement of sunset, marking the coming of a long period of short days, may explain this finding.
“Daylight savings time transitions and the incidence rate of unipolar depressive episodes” by Hansen, Bertel T.; Sønderskov, Kim M.; Hageman, Ida; Dinesen, Peter T.; and Østergaard, Søren D. in Epidemiology. Published online October 20 2016 doi:10.1097/EDE.0000000000000580

http://neurosciencenews.com/depression-time-change-5384/

Search and rescue training focuses on dementia

October 28, 2016 - by: 
Police tackle training exercise in partnership with Alzheimer's Society



Greater Sudbury Police Service Search and Rescue Team conducting their annual training scenario on Oct. 28 in partnering with the Alzheimer Society Sudbury-Manitoulin North Bay & Districts. Officers search for and rescued a person portraying a dementia patient. Photo by Arron Pickard. 


Wahnapitae resident Tammy Belamy was diagnosed with early onset Lewi Body dementia six years ago.
Lewi Body is a type of dementia that shares symptoms with both Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Belamy said is affects her auditory, visual and olfactory senses and causes hallucinations, along with the other dementia symptoms, and mobility issues associated with Parkinson's disease.
Belamy said when she started experiencing symptoms at the age of 47, she went to her doctor. 

“The first thing I remember her telling me, is that I would lose my driver's licence,” Belamy said. “I wanted a second opinion, so I went to a doctor in Toronto, and after a full day of testing, I was diagnosed with Lewi Body dementia, and told I would never work or drive again.”
And she hasn't.

“They took my licence right away, and that has been a huge problem. In the North, you need transportation. If you're under the age of 65, you're not eligible for Red Cross, and Handi-Transit is only for people with mobility issues. Sometimes, it feel like I'm trapped.”

Belamy was invited to watch Greater Sudbury Police Service's Search and Rescue team train on Friday morning. They focused their training on finding someone with dementia after they went missing. It's a scenario with which Belamy is familiar.

“It's happened to me,” she said. “We live in the bush. My husband has painted trees and put up orange flags, so that if I'm out there, I know that's the way home.”
She said she was excited to see the police training for this, “because it happens so easily, and sometimes, we don't even realize we're lost.”

Insp. Todd Zimmerman said training scenarios like this one happen often to ensure skills are current.
He said focusing on dementia patients helps officers to become familiar with the vulnerable persons registry. Alzheimer patients are encouraged to sign up for the registry, which provides important information like photographs, places they frequent or where they may have wandered before.

“It helps narrow the search,” Zimmerman said. “It's an emergency, and it's important we find the person as soon as possible and in the best condition.”
Greater Sudbury Police conduct numerous searches every year, Zimmerman said. Each platoon has search-trained officers, and the majority of those calls are resolved quite quickly. However, four or five calls a year require a lot more work, and can include dementia patients who have wandered, lost blueberry pickers, or people who are just unfamiliar with the area.

In this particular training scenario, a woman in her 40s wandered away from home when walking her dog. She ended up getting lost.
“It's far more common than a lot of people think,” said Jessica Bertuzzi, public relations director, Alzheimer's Society Sudbury-Manitoulin North Bay and Districts. “We need to stress that people with dementia aren't just those over the age of 65 and in long-term care. There are many people in their 40s, 50s and 60s living at home, and the chance of them wandering is quite high.”

To have the police focus their search and rescue training on those people was very important, she said. “The search and rescue team today was amazing,” she said.
“Every person with dementia is different. Most often, people who wander and get lost aren't dressed appropriately. They might leave their home in the middle of winter, and they might not have a coat on, so finding them as soon as possible is of the utmost importance.”
The reason for wandering is different for everyone, and they may not even consider themselves missing, which is why having the police trained on how to approach a person with dementia and how to communicate with them properly is vital.

There are about 5,000 people in the catchment area (Sudbury, North Bay, Manitoulin) diagnosed with dementia, Bertuzzi said. That being said, accurate numbers are difficult to get, because so many people don't report their disease.
“I would say the number is actually significantly higher.”

https://www.sudbury.com/police/search-and-rescue-training-focuses-on-dementia-450608

Friday, October 28, 2016

Genetic Links Found for Essential Tremor; Patients Needed for Clinical Trial

 OCTOBER 28, 2016  BY DANIELA SEMEDO, PHD IN NEWS.




large genome-wide study discovered a strong association between essential tremor, commonly misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease, and a specific gene, and less strong associations with two other genes. This is an important finding for a movement disorderthat causes postural and kinetic tremor of the upper extremities, and that can have debilitating consequences.
Essential tremor is a “bilateral, largely symmetric postural or kinetic tremor,” a common movement disorder. Essential tremor has a reported prevalence of 0.9 percent, increasing to 4.6 percent in people over the age of 65. The disease is progressive and significant disabilities occur. Hands and arms are predominantly affected, but head, voice and leg tremor also occur.
Essential tremor has less severe health impacts than Parkinson’s, but does get worse over time. The disease has a large genetic component and it is common to see large families with several members affected. However, the underlying genetic mechanism of essential tremor needs more exploration.
Now, a team of researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University in Canada and Kiel University in Germany have led a large international collaborative genome-wide association study that included 2,807 essential tremor patients and 6,441 controls of European descent.
The researchers found a strong relationship between essential tremor and the gene STK32B (serine/threonine kinase 32B). A relationship between essential tremor was also observed in two other genes, but to a lesser extent.
The team will now conduct studies in a larger patient group, aiming to better understand the role played by these genes in essential tremor, as well as to discover other genes that are predisposed to the disease. More understanding of the genetic basis of disease may lead to better diagnostic tools and treatments.
“We have the first clue now, but we want to expand on that because we still have much to learn,” Simon Girard, a professor at the Université du Quebec à Chicoutimi and the paper’s lead author, said in a news release.
To follow up this study, the researchers need to examine more than 10,000 individuals with essential tremor. Finding this many participants will be challenge, Girard said, in part because many people with the condition do not seek medical care.
“Essential tremor is the most common movement disorder, but many sufferers don’t seek medical help,” he said. “People suffer from the tremor, but they tend to make do as best they can. Some people have had a tremor for 10-20 years or more. They know they have a tremor and they live with it.”
People interested in taking part in the study should contact Vessela Zaharieva, the research coordinator, by email at vessela.zaharieva@mcgill.ca.
If they meet the study inclusion criteria, they will be contacted by telephone to answer more questions and may be invited to take part in this important study.
“People suffering from essential tremor have a chance to help us better understand this complex disease,” said Guy Rouleau, director of the MNI and the study’s senior author. “The findings will improve the chances of developing drugs to lessen or halt the symptoms, a benefit not only to today’s sufferers but those of the future.”
http://parkinsonsnewstoday.com/2016/10/28/genetic-links-found-essential-tumor-patients-needed-clinical-trial

Collaboration leads to new treatment for Parkinson’s disease

October 28, 2016



In two articles published in Cell Stem Cell, scientists from Karolinska Institutet and Lund University present results that warrant a modification of the protocol for making dopamine. The new protocol is now ready for clinical use.
One of the challenges facing future medical research is to be able to use cell therapy to treat Parkinson’s disease, the severe symptoms of which are caused by the degeneration of the dopamine-producing cells in the brain. The key to success for future cell therapy is the ability to generate new cells from stem cells, and the aim is to be able to transplant the new dopamine cells to patients with Parkinson’s disease.

In the papers now published in Cell Stem Cell, researchers from Karolinska Institutet and Lund University present the results of a collaboration between a group led by Thomas Perlmann (KI/Ludwig Cancer Research) and a group led by Malin Parmar (Lund).

Research result is extremely relevant to cell therapy

The first paper presents the results of single-cell RNA sequencing, which the researchers conducted to study the early development of dopamine cells in detail. Using pregnant transgenic mice containing a fluorescent marker, they purified and sequenced the most relevant cells from the embryos. This allowed them to reconstruct with extremely high resolution the total gene expression during the development of dopamine cells and closely related cell types.
“We found, completely to our surprise, that during their early development, dopamine cells are very closely related to a type of cell that forms close to the area in which dopamine cells are normally formed,” says Professor Perlmann. “The closely related cell type develops into what are called STN cells, which are neurons that use glutamic acid to transmit their signals and that don’t degenerate during Parkinson’s disease. This result is extremely relevant to cell therapy research since all important markers previously used as a guide for making dopamine cells have now proved common to both nerve cell types.”
New knowledge modified the protocol for making dopamine cells
In the other paper, the authors describe how RNA sequencing was used to analyse global gene expression in over 30 batches of human cells prepared from stem cells, which were then transplanted into a rat model for Parkinson’s disease.
Their analysis showed that the markers that are normally used are not at all predictive of good clinical outcomes. However, the results from the first paper showing that the markers are not actually unique to dopamine cells but are also expressed in STN cell explain this lack of predictability. The transplants did indeed often contain many STN cells in addition to the clinically effective dopamine cells. With this knowledge, the protocol for making dopamine cells could then be modified. The new protocol proved superior to the old one and is now ready for clinical use.
“Both these papers are excellent examples of how important advances can be achieved when groups engaged in both basal and clinical/translation research collaborate. For Swedish research, productive interaction across university boundaries, which in this case has led to important advances for translational stem cell research, is also highly gratifying,” says Professor Perlmann.

Publications

Nigel Kee, Nikolaos Volakakis, Agnete Kirkeby, Lina Dahl, Helena Storvall, Sara Nolbrant, Laura Lahti, Åsa K. Björklund, Linda Gillberg, Eliza Joodmardi, Rickard Sandberg, Malin Parmar, Thomas Perlmann5
Cell Stem Cell. Published online 27 october 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2016.10.003

Agnete Kirkeby, Sara Nolbrant, Katarina Tiklova, Andreas Heuer, Nigel Kee, Tiago Cardoso, Daniella Rylander Ottosson, Mariah J. Lelos, Pedro Rifes, Stephen B. Dunnett, Shane Grealish, Thomas Perlmann, Malin Parmar
Cell Stem Cell. Published online 27 october 2016.  DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2016.09.004

http://www.healthcanal.com/brain-nerves/brain-diseases/parkinson/75343-collaboration-leads-to-new-treatment-for-parkinson’s-disease.html

Millions more voters legalizing marijuana won’t clear up regulatory haze

October 27, 2016




Congress continues to resist decriminalizing marijuana even as a popular crusade to legalize its use state by state may soon mean almost a quarter of Americans can smoke up at will, not including the many more who can use the drug medicinally
This has resulted in a patchwork of state laws alongside federal ones that have put the nascent industry in legal and financial limbo. 
Despite attempts to remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act, the government continues to define it as a dangerous drug with no proven medical uses. 
Voters in many states disagree. Presently, Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska permit the sale and consumption of social marijuana, Washington, D.C. allows its consumption but not its sale, and 25 other states have legalized its medical use. 
On Election Day, many more may follow their lead. Voters in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada will decide whether to legalize marijuana, while four other states will decide whether to allow medical use or ease restrictions. If the results of the legalization initiatives are all “yes,” about 23 percent of the U.S. – or 75 million Americans – will be able to use marijuana socially, up from 5.6 percent, or 18 million citizens, currently. 
This conflict between state and federal law creates an unstable financial environment for producers and retailers of marijuana.
To get a better picture of the industry and the burdens imposed as a result of schizophrenic policies, a team of researchers from the University of Utah and the University of Michigan are conducting a survey of businesses that grow, process and sell marijuana in several states that have legalized it.
Preliminary results from Colorado suggest the conflict between state and federal policies is taking a severe toll on the industry
Petition signature gatherer Peter Keyes, right, discusses a petition to legalize marijuana in Sacramento, California. 
Taxed through the nose
How the federal government taxes cannabis companies is one of the biggest burdens the marijuana industry must bear in the current environment. 
In particular, section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code prevents companies from taking any deduction or credit from a trade or business that consists of “trafficking in controlled substances.” In other words, they pay far more than other businesses because they can’t deduct most legitimate business expenses such as labor, materials and other costs of production. They can, however, take a small deduction for “cost of goods sold.” 
Preliminary results from the survey suggest that businesses are paying effective combined tax rates of 40 percent to 75 percent. The wide range is likely due to the sophistication of the larger, more established companies that can afford both an aggressive tax-planning strategy and set aside money for a likely IRS audit. Smaller businesses, on the other hand, lack such resources and are more likely to self-file, which means the companies least able to afford the high tax rates are the ones paying them. 
This exceedingly high tax burden leads to operating losses, discourages reinvestment and expansion and results in artificially depressed industry wages. 
In addition, the level of taxation dampens the industry’s natural growth rate and distorts market transactions from customers in the form of higher prices, from businesses in the form of reduced profits and from states in the form of reduced tax proceeds due to reduced sales because of inflated prices. 
Overall, the current federal tax design results in a large deadweight loss to all stakeholders in a state’s economy.


Matthew Huron, owner of two medical marijuana dispensaries and an edible marijuana company in Denver, examines a plant in his grow house. 

The perils of banking
The other main burden for marijuana businesses is banking. And unfortunately, there’s even more uncertainty here.
The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 prevents federally chartered banks and credit unions from providing financial services to the cannabis industry, which is considered money laundering. 
While the Department of Justice and U.S. Treasury have tried to establish some guidelines for financial companies, the CEO of the Colorado Bankers Association warned its membersthat only “an act of Congress” will allow banks to work with the industry without fear of criminal prosecution. 
Preliminary survey results show that fewer than half of cannabis businesses in Colorado are involved in banking, which deprives them access to the normal services companies rely on to grow and operate efficiently. The banks and credit unions working with the industry tend to be small and local and doing business cautiously. In order to navigate working with a marijuana-related enterprise, the individual banks are responsible for making sure that a business is fully compliant with state law. Even then, banks may run afoul of federal regulations. 
For example, in January a federal district court ruled against a credit union – set up to provide banking services to cannabis businesses – seeking access to the Federal Reserve banking system. Even though the guidelines suggested marijuana businesses might not be prosecuted by federal officials, the bank necessarily would be involved in illegal activities. 
Although sympathetic to the dilemma of marijuana business owners without banking privileges, the judge said that courts couldn’t simply ignore federal law. 
“In short, these guidance documents simply suggest that prosecutors and bank regulators might ‘look the other way’ if financial institutions don’t mind violating the law. A federal court cannot look the other way. I regard the situation as untenable and hope that it will soon be addressed and resolved by Congress.” 
Congress, of course, has resolved the issue by not resolving it, and looking the “other way” is a poor substitute for policy in any case.
Cannabis businesses lucky enough to find a financial institution willing to work with them end up paying extremely high fees for an account that generally only allows them to issue checks or direct deposits to merchants and employees. They remain unable to apply for loans and access other financial services. This results in a high cost of business capital. 
The unlucky ones without a relationship with a financial institution are either entirely cash-based or work with a payment processing company willing to provide services through its networks. 
Those that deal only in cash, however, have become easy targets for criminals.
A customer pays cash for retail marijuana at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver

Building a pro-pot business environment

Given the legal incoherence surrounding marijuana, producers and retailers of the drug are stymied by two related dilemmas: They have no access to legitimate banking channels and they are denied equitable federal tax treatment compared with other businesses. 
Despite that, marijuana makes up a substantial and rapidly growing segment of the economy. A single state, Colorado, generated nearly a billion dollars in revenues in 2015 – and US$135 million in states taxes and license fees – up from $669 million in 2014. Revenues of that magnitude should be promoted rather than seriously wounded by tax policy.
The obvious solution to the federal-state conflict is to modify the drug schedules under the Controlled Substances Act by changing cannabis from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule IV or below. Schedule IV states that “the drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” and may result in “limited physical dependence or psychological dependence.” Under Schedule I, a listed drug has “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”
Federal action is unlikely in the foreseeable future. According to a recent study by pro-pot advocacy group NORML, “support for substantive marijuana law reform is far less pronounced among elected officials than it is among the voters they represent.” About 60 percent of American adults believe that marijuana should be legal, but only four percent of Congressional members received NORML’s “A” grade on the issue.
For the moment, sadly, the 1936 cinematic melodrama “Reefer Madness” – which depicted marijuana use as the pathway to rape, murder and insanity – is still playing at selected theaters inside the Beltway.

https://theconversation.com/millions-more-voters-legalizing-marijuana-wont-clear-up-regulatory-haze-66950?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20October%2027%202016&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20October%2027%202016+Version+A+CID_181887840147b1f436fe05db9bf45345&utm_source=campaign_monitor_us&utm_term=Millions%20more%20voters%20legalizing%20marijuana%20wont%20clear%20up%20regulatory%20haze