Eric Holder’s Pot Problem 
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Eric Holder’s Pot Problem 
Posted by CN Staff on February 03, 2014 at 07:00:41 PT
By The Editors 
Washington, D.C. -- Twenty states plus the District of Columbia now allow sales of medicinal marijuana, allowing pot prescriptions to treat pretty much any malady, from a headache to a hangnail. Colorado and Washington have legalized the drug for recreational use, too. Yet federal law still prohibits the possession, use and sale of marijuana for any reason. This dichotomy explains why some banks are reluctant to accept the large amounts of cash that pot purveyors generate -- even if the cash is legal under state law.
To redress this, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has promised to issue guidelines to make it easier for marijuana sellers who are operating in accordance with their state laws to use the banking system. Large amounts of cash “just kind of lying around with no place for it to be appropriately deposited,” Holder mused, “is something that would worry me, from a law enforcement perspective.” The fact is, Holder encouraged those bundles of unbanked cash to be assembled in the first place. Last year, perhaps in a nod to opinion polls showing that a majority of Americans favor marijuana legalization, he said the Justice Department wouldn’t seek to overturn the Colorado and Washington measures. Nor, he said, would Washington interfere with the 20 states that allow medicinal marijuana. Instead, federal drug agencies and prosecutors would leave it to local authorities to enforce marijuana laws. All of which raises the question: When did it become acceptable for the country’s top law-enforcement officer to decide which federal statutes to enforce and which to ignore? Even those who agree with the broader policy of marijuana legalization should be left uneasy by open defiance of the rule of law. Under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which means it has high potential for abuse, serves no medical purpose and isn’t safe even under a doctor’s supervision. As recently as 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, even in states that allow medical marijuana sales, sellers and users can be prosecuted. Whether or not a law is outmoded, unpopular or overtaken by cultural change, the attorney general doesn’t have the authority to ignore it altogether in half the country. To do so is wrong, and has practical consequences: Holder’s pronouncement caused a surge of cash to flow from the black-market weed business into the regular economy. His guidelines presumably will make it possible for buyers to use credit and debit cards now -- and for banks to accept those transactions -- without fear of reprisal. But some banks won’t go along. Banks are subject to federal banking laws, including the anti-money-laundering statute, which discourages large deposits of cash by requiring reams of paperwork to document where it came from and where it went. When regulators don’t enforce the rules, lawmakers haul them in, Holder’s blind eye notwithstanding. What’s more, in states that allow marijuana sales, a whole new pot economy has grown up, complete with cannapreneurs, growers, equipment makers, transporters and even private-equity financiers. The National Cannabis Industry Association estimates marijuana sales will exceed $2 billion in 2014 and $10 billion by 2019. Nevertheless, a future president could wipe the industry out by regarding the federal prohibition as wise and strictly enforcing the law. If that happens, the marijuana industry and thousands of employees would be put out of work or forced back underground. Banks would again refuse to accept their cash, dispensaries would have to unplug their ATMs, and Visa and MasterCard would refuse to process marijuana transactions. Sales of the drug would continue, of course, but they would again go untaxed and unregulated. At any rate, guidelines from Justice wouldn’t be enforceable in court, and therefore wouldn’t provide the legal defense bank lawyers must have before advising their clients there is a safe harbor against prosecution. It’s time Congress recognized reality. With 22 states openly in defiance of the federal statute, lawmakers should decide whether to keep the national ban or turn the question of marijuana decriminalization over to the states. Congress could, for example, withdraw marijuana from the Schedule 1 list, recognize that it has useful medical applications and let the states decide whether and where to allow its use. What shouldn’t be an option is for the Justice Department to look the other way. Source: (USA) Published: February 2, 2014Copyright: 2014 Bloomberg L.P.Contact: view bloomberg.netWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #13 posted by Universer on February 04, 2014 at 10:35:38 PT
Death By "Weed" In UK
We all know it's crap - the poor woman obviously died and obviously there was a sad reason behind it, but we all know that cannabis was at the absolute most merely a contributing factor - but this mainstream article straight out of the '80s just serves us notice that our fight to spread real knowledge against prohibitionist madness is far, far from over.We are winning, but because we're winning, the prohibitionists (and their monied media and corporate interests) will lash out viciously like any wounded animal would. Precisely because we're winning and they're on such offensively vitriolic defense, we need to keep it up keep it up keep it up up up.
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Comment #12 posted by Paint with light on February 04, 2014 at 00:04:48 PT
Amazing BS
Check out this story. poisoning?I just don't believe it.I should have been dead a long time ago.Legal like alcohol.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on February 03, 2014 at 20:23:54 PT
Personally I feel we do almost everything correctly. We don't tip toe around issues and we stay focused on what we feel is important. 
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Comment #10 posted by Universer on February 03, 2014 at 20:05:32 PT
If by posting that there piece on Lakoff, you mean to persuade us that we should make the moralistic argument for the Correction of Cannabis Prohibition, I flatly agree with you.But, not to tangent into a more general discussion on political framing: Lakoff's position (as presented by the AlterNet columnist), that it's the fault of liberals/progressives/democrats (those terms are wrongly used interchangeably) for not fighting the rightwing's emotion-charged framing masquerading as virtue with their own emotion-charged framing masquerading as virtue ... is a grotesquely oversimplified stance with no real practical value in a mediascape dominated by rightwing monied interests. It pretends that the playing field is level, and that it is justifiable to fight bullcrap with bullcrap.Not to tangent. Though I totally did.Yes, absolutely, in our neverending quest to make overwhelming numbers of people see what we see as an overwhelming truth, we ought to incorporate the moral argument -- that it is a better thing for society, and for the individuals which make it up, that an innocuous and beneficial plant be prohibited from being prohibited (for all the reasons each of us on this site could recite by heart), and because it's better, it should be codified as such.But contrary to Lakoff, we needn't stoop to the rightwingnut's level in so doing.The death of the left has been greatly exaggerated. Will Rogers is still true: If you don't want to be a member of an organized political party, consider being a Democrat.
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Comment #9 posted by runruff on February 03, 2014 at 19:24:48 PT
"Liberals Do Everything Wrong"//
I wouldn't say that,...exactly.We are kicking rosie pink butt in the war on cannabis!
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Comment #8 posted by The GCW on February 03, 2014 at 16:25:35 PT
Immoral cannabis prohibition is vile for families.
I read this the other day. Good for helping Our issue, whether writing or talking about it. The concept may help expedite. -I think it will help Me, help Us.George Lakoff on Communication: "Liberals Do Everything Wrong"
Progressives have got it wrong — and if they don't start to get it right, the conservatives will maintain the upperhand.
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Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on February 03, 2014 at 15:03:15 PT:
It's not the local swine at the trough that
Obama must placate. This goes much higher up the food chain. Higher than Obama, in fact.Google the following:Clinton Obama June 6 2008 Chantilly Virginia and keep in mind that those whom they met with in secret behind the American people's backs that day were and are the same banksters that have gotten filthy rich off of the illegality of drugs courtesy of laundering the ill-gotten, bloodstained proceeds of that particular 'commerce'. The same ones that trashed the worlds economy. The dirty money was all that kept them afloat as they handed the rest of lead-filled life-preservers. You don't think they'd give up that cash cow without a fight, do you?That's why all this kabuki over who has the power to end the madness. But it will only go on for as long as the voters allow it to.Voters who increasingly are younger, cannabis-savvy (and history of prohibition savvy) and are no longer willing to put up with machine politics slowing progress on this issue.It's put-up-or-shut-up, and the people who really run things know it. The time to end cannabis prohibition has come. Period. And nothing, but nothing, can stop it now. Not with most of the voting public in favor of it. The pressure from below to end cannabis prohibition is meeting and will soon exceed the pressure to retain it from above. And Obama's masters know it.
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Comment #6 posted by The GCW on February 03, 2014 at 11:57:45 PT
Racial disparity 
Obama could not connect cannabis and racial disparity in His 1st term.But now He can and does.I don't think We've heard the last of this with Obama and Holder.
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Comment #5 posted by Oleg the Tumor on February 03, 2014 at 11:11:00 PT:
Don't Make Us Laugh!
"When did it become acceptable for the country’s top law-enforcement officer to decide which federal statutes to enforce and which to ignore?"How far back can we go with this one?J. Edgar Hoover, for example, would never have stood for this sort of thing, would he?The Government itself has been stirring up the strangest batch of kool-aid for the last 100 years. Take the illegal prohibition of a petroleum substitute by a eugenics-driven group of investors, add in a worldwide (read: BRITISH) banking industry to receive "US dollars only" for oil, and stir it up with a liberal portion of "Globalism".Wait until the foam subsides (eye protection is recommended as currencies tend to collapse with a certain irrational exuberant effervecense), next, dump in the effects of trillions in "Quantitative Easing" - then chug it down because its the only game in town!
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Comment #4 posted by schmeff on February 03, 2014 at 10:49:04 PT
Right on runruff. If I could whisper in Obama's ear, I would tell him that his detractors scream because that's what they do - they detract. It really has no relationship to what you DO Mr. President, and will continue regardless. You have nothing to lose, and your people (all of US) have a lot to gain. You will be remembered for something much more significant than chopping down a cherry tree.
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on February 03, 2014 at 09:53:32 PT
He can make history
or try to please the naysayers.History will give big kudos, even make him a hero.It could even turn out that by ending prohibition he saved the planet?The trade off is; he will catch a scathing by his detractors.
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Comment #2 posted by schmeff on February 03, 2014 at 09:37:47 PT
As Plain as Black and Black
Just as there is racial disparity in the way anti-drug laws are enforced, there will be racial disparity in the way history treats two black men: Holder and Obama.If those two black men initiate the beginning of the end of the Drug War, the same set of folks who will expound at length about what a great President "The Gipper" was will insist that America went to hell when those n*****s were in office. Yup, things were just fine and dandy before Amos and Andy turned our children into drug addicts.I think both Eric Holder and Barack Obama would love to make some positive changes in drug policy, but also feel how much easier such a change would be coming from a white President.
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on February 03, 2014 at 07:49:55 PT
It's Up To Obama Not Congress...
I am surprised that Bloomberg publishes this article in error. It is president Obama who can make the change with a stroke of a pen!Please Mr. president, do it now!
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