This week, the business side of cannabis got a token of relief from Attorney General Eric Holder, who said that legal marijuana operations should have access to the national banking system. Currently, many dispensaries are turned away from banks who fear the unclear legal guidelines on the handling of weed money. This leaves weed business to run a cash business, and Holder agrees that it’s way too much cash to have sitting around in a store, stating, “Huge amounts of cash, substantial amounts of cash just kind of lying around with no place for it to be appropriately deposited, is something that would worry me, just from a law enforcement perspective.” Though he didn’t provide specifics, his intention is to deprioritize investigations of banking by such businesses in legalized states. That will mean dispensaries can stop Febrezing their cash before depositing it, as Denver’s Medicine Man has had to.
Holder’s new groove comes shortly after President Obama made statements to the New Yorker suggesting he doesn’t believe cannabis should be illegal, citing the disproportionate prosecution of minorities for weed-related crimes. Obama’s moment of clarity required some damage control from Press Secretary James Carney, who told CNN that the President’s stance on pot has not changed. That means no upcoming federal moves on decriminalization. Despite Obama admitting that he doesn’t believe weed is more dangerous than alcohol, it looks like there are no moves to get the plant out of its current Schedule I classification alongside heroin. Alcohol remains fully legal to all 21 and over, and accessible to people of any age whose parents have a liquor cabinet.
As the President cautiously broaches the issue of marijuana every time it comes up, Texas Governor Rick Perry is threw caution to the wind. The staunchly conservative Republican irked his deep red constituency by coming out in support of decriminalization at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Moreover, he said that states should have the right to pursue legalization if they wish to, and that people can always choose which state they want to live in. As the Governor of a state where judges are handing out life sentences to folks convicted of selling weed, Perry’s mellowing could mean a little less of a mess in Texas.
Another traditionally conservative state is taking its fourth stab at medical legalization. West Virginia Delegate Mike Manypenny does not expect the bill to pass this year, but is hopeful that one of these years it just might go through. A marijuana bill in any conservative state is not expected to perform well in an election year because lawmakers don’t want to pick the wrong side on a hot button issue. Their perception of right and wrong may be incongruent with their constituencies, however, seeing that 56% of West Virginia voters support medical legalization.
The medicinal benefits of cannabis have also reached the ears of NFL commissioner, who publicly stated that he is open to allowing medical marijuana if it does indeed turn out that it can effectively treat concussions. NFL players can sustain a huge amount of head trauma in a single game, an issue for which the NFL has come under increasing scrutiny. From the league’s standpoint, it’s probably better to allow players to consume a quickly assimilating substance than pad up their players any more than they already have.
Though weed may be good for football players, it appears it can be pretty bad for your pet. There are an increasing number of reports that pets have consumed cannabis, in edible or other form, resulting in apparent distress. According to Dr. Tina Wismer of Animal Poison Control Center, “Animals don’t react the same way as humans. They may become sedated, act drunk and wobbly, but about 25 percent go the other way. They become agitated, have high heart rates, they’re in distress.” No one has yet informed the organization that in many cases, this is exactly how humans react to cannabis.