New guidelines have been established by President Barack Obama’s White House to allow banks to work with legal pot growers in the United States, sources have reported.
The Federal Treasury and Justice Departments have laid out the rules and regulations that allow the government to keep its power to enforce prohibitive drug laws while helping the legal marijuana business operate legitimately, the Washington Post reported. Marijuana has been prohibited in the U.S. since the mid-1930s.
Alcohol was strictly prohibited prior to that, but criminal gangs like the Chicago Outfit soon ran the market and dealt with opposition by use of extreme violence, similar to situations currently in parts of Mexico including Juarez, Tijuana and Mexico City. These are areas where the cartels run the illegal drug business that is fueled by American lust for drugs. Big banks have been fined for doing business with the drug cartels. Political corruption runs rampant in Mexico just as it did in the American prohibition era.
Now the banks in the U.S. are going to be able to get in on the latest in legal drug dealings. You might wonder why, since medical marijuana has been legalized in several states, banks couldn’t already handle transactions for legal pot dealers. Well, this is because it puts them at risk for racketeering charges under federal law. Now banks in the U.S. will have the safe option of working with legitimate weed operations.
The cultural revolution in the United States (not to be confused with the Maoist period of Communist China) was a radically changing time in America. It was full of turbulence, rebellion and drugs too. Since time, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, both Bushs and Bill Clinton (who said he didn’t inhale) have all played part in fighting pot in the war on drugs. Obama, a candidate whose support came from many young liberals who have both experimented with pot and would like see it legalized (for medical reasons at the least), has had a much looser attitude toward the drug and has said that it is not more harmful than alcohol. Obama also said that the poor are more likely to be arrested for using it, even though about as many affluent people have admitted to using it.
States including Massachussets, California and New Mexico vied for legal medical marijuana use as recommended by the Drug Policy Institute (DPA). In 2012, the states of Washington and Colorado passed recreational marijuana use laws, defying federal laws and classifications of the substance. Alaska may soon pass similar laws.
The Los Angeles Times offered a bit of political insight into the politics of pot. Law enforcement lobbyists continue to decry legalization and oppose it ardently. Though, there are some groups like Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), they are the minority. Within the ranks, it is a different ball of wax. The Obama administration, and most of Congress for that matter, is very reluctant to get too loose.
Banks and prosecutors have been given direction on how to work with legal pot growers, but it is undetermined how this may impact the future of the federal attitude toward marijuana and the larger scale drug war in the U.S.
By Rob Lawson