I promised my readers that my next article would be on the risks associated with being in the legal (by state) marijuana business. Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug (having no medical efficacy, so they say) and illegal by federal laws. One of the consequences of that is that marijuana, be it medical or recreational is a cash business. This means growers and dispensaries need security measures like the Pentagon. To boot, I found out at a conference recently, families of marijuana business owners have been held hostage until thieving gangster types have gotten into the safe or vault to collect money. Scary!
Why, you might ask is this a cash business? Well, few banks will accept money, open checking accounts or process credit cards for these businesses. You might agree or not about the morality of being in the pot business but here’s a tasty bit of information. A Huffington Post article in January 2014 pointed out some discrepancies in the moral issues of the banks (Banks Launder Billions of Illegal Cartel Money While Snubbing Legal Marijuana Businesses). Bank America, Western Union and JP Morgan were alleged participants in the money laundering. HSBC admitted their dirty deed but got off with a fine of $2billion (this sounds a lot like the usual Wall Street big money gets to walk) Try receiving a get out of jail card if you are a minority caught with a very small stash of pot. Kiss your ass good-bye, do not pass go and do go straight to jail. There is something terribly wrong with this picture. Frankly I think any minority person who thinks keeping marijuana illegal and allowing thousands of young minorities to be locked up, stripped of their rights, unable to find a job when they do get released or unable to vote a good idea, should be declared incompetent and forced to watch 1000 straight hours of Bill Maher. That ought to teach them something.
Before I get too far in the discourse about banking, I need to travel back to the idea that marijuana has NO MEDICAL EFFICACY. Really, then how come Unimed Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Solvay Pharmaceuticals produces MARINOL®. This little wonder drug happens to be a synthetic version of a naturally occurring compound known as delta-9-THC. In the local vernacular, basically it’s pot. Its uses? It gives you the munchies which are good for patients with reduced appetite and weight loss. It calms nausea and vomiting. It has side effects like giggling, elation and heightened awareness. It has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration since 1985. However, MARINOL® is OK because it is synthetic. This is typical of our corporate culture. Genetically modify everything, make it out of chemicals, process the hell out of it and approve it by the FDA. That way the corporations are in a better position to cash in on it. Wait just a few minutes more and big pharmaceutical companies will grow all the medicinal marijuana. Big tobacco will have the recreational market and all the banks will be more than happy to open accounts. Least I forget, Monsanto will have all the rights to the seeds and if a flower happens to colonize in your yard or field and a plant grows, you will be sued. If the strains that Monsanto produces are found to cause two headed babies to be born our laws (H.R. 933) protect Monsanto and other biotech companies from litigation. The provision was buried within a bill signed by Obama (someone should have been sent to Guantanamo for letting that squeak through). We shouldn’t worry because US Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) who introduced the bill says it only protects the agri-giants for one year. In other words if your two headed kid is born after you ingested a GMO product that produced the deformity in year one, you can’t sue but if the unfortunate birth occurs with the second planting and sale of the tainted crop, you can sue. Why in all that is deemed holy would we want these companies producing anything we consume?
I tell you one thing; raising marijuana is a risky business. You can lose your property; get called a bunch of names by people who think weed is from the devil. You can be robbed. There are any number of unfortunate events that may occur. I don’t think any of them are as scary as young people being incarcerated for having small amounts of what the Unimed company has found medically efficacious. I don’t think trusting an industry like Monsanto, known for growing pesticide ridden, GMO crops, to become the major producers is a good idea. I don’t think letting big banks that are laundering money from major drug cartels walk the streets free and easy is just. That is my opinion.