Pot Becomes a National Industry

The transformation of America is proceeding apace this week, with the Obama Administration clearing the way for banks to legally get involved with drug dealers.

The Justice Department and Treasury Department on Friday issued guidelines for banks and other financial service companies to get involved with marijuana growers and distributors in states where the drug is legal.

Washington and Colorado in January became the first two states to completely legalize pot. Other states, such as California, have legalized “medicinal” marijuana.

The new guidelines were intended to allow banks to serve pot distributors while still ensuring the legitimacy of the businesses and reporting any possible criminal activity.

But considering the trend toward decriminalizing one of the most popular gateway drugs, and the support of our formerly pot-smoking president, it seems unlikely that the Administration really plans on much more enforcement of drug and money laundering laws, at least where marijuana is concerned.

The American Bankers Association seemed to shy away from celebrating, however. In a statement, it said, “Guidance or regulation doesn’t alter the underlying challenge for banks. As it stands, possession or distribution of marijuana violates federal law, and banks that provide support for those activities face the risk of prosecution and assorted sanctions.”

The group suggested that the federal government’s regulations of the drug need to be changed in law, not just via agency procedure, which is a favorite tactic of the Administration for skirting Congress.

A Treasury Department representative, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that smaller and local banks were more likely to begin taking marijuana business accounts before the big banks get involved.

“This is a decision that each financial institution needs to make on its own,” the official said. “We feel quite comfortable that we have acted within the scope of our authority.”

Banks are champing at the bit to get a piece of the marijuana industry action, but they are unlikely to risk their business until federal law is changed.

Ultimately, that’s the goal, in case anybody hasn’t recognized the pattern yet: “medical” marijuana, state-level legalization, easing of federal rules, national legalization, booming business, big money, stoned nation, more Democrat voters, consolidated liberal power.

A regularly stoned or otherwise drugged populace is easier to manipulate, and marijuana has the added bonus of causing permanent brain damage.

It’s just one more step on our road to a “Brave New World.”