Obama administration takes more steps to legitimize marijuana
by Don McKee
February 16, 2014 11:23 PM | 1945 views | 2 2 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
The Obama administration continues its efforts to legitimize marijuana with new rules allowing banking institutions to finance and do business with legal marijuana sellers — even as medical experts urge scientific studies of the effectiveness and safety of marijuana for medical uses.

The latest pot-favoring move follows the decision by the Obama administration in August to not prosecute legal dealers who met eight requirements, including not selling to minors — even though marijuana was and still is illegal under federal law.

Under the Friday rules issued by Obama’s Treasury Department, “the administration went a step further by laying out a path for banks to bring marijuana commerce out of the shadows and into the mainstream financial system … a move that could further legitimize the burgeoning industry,” the Washington Post said.

Now, for the first time, “legal distributors will be able to secure loans and set up checking and saving accounts with major banks that have largely steered clear of those businesses,” the Post said, explaining that the “decision eliminates a key hurdle facing marijuana sellers, who can now legally conduct business in 20 states and the District (of Columbia).”

In what was described as separate guidance, the Obama Justice Department “directed U.S. attorneys not to go after banks that do business with legal marijuana dispensers as long as the dealers adhere to” the guidelines issued last August.

But, the Post reported, federal officials said the latest decision was not “a change in the law itself. Marijuana was still illegal, as far as the federal government was concerned, in all 50 states. Instead, it was just a declaration that the Justice Department had bigger things to worry about.” Obviously, there’s no need to change laws when they can be nullified by this imperial president’s wave of his scepter.

There was a dissenting voice, for what it’s worth. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said both marijuana trafficking and banking of pot sale proceeds violate federal law. “Only Congress can change these laws,” he said. “The administration can’t change the law with a memo.” Again, no need to change the law. Just don’t enforce it and issue a rule that nullifies it. The question is: Will Congress do anything about it?

Consistent with the “follow the money” principle, the Post said “Financial firms could be handsomely rewarded for banking legal marijuana business.” The legal pot industry in this country is expected to hit $2.34 billion in sales this year, according to ArcView Market Research, an investment group promoting marijuana.

Meanwhile, some leading epilepsy physicians warn that more studies are needed on medical marijuana, legalized in many states and proposed in Georgia and other states. The director of the epilepsy center at New York University and a colleague point out that evidence is lacking for both the efficacy and safety of marijuana. They say the issue is of special significance for children, “for whom there is good evidence that marijuana use can increase the risk of serious psychiatric disorders and long-term cognitive problems.” More on this later.


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Kevin Foley
February 17, 2014

Judge Richard A. Posner of the influential Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago "is an intellectual giant who is the most-cited judge in America," reports Larry Bodine at Lawyers.com. "His call for legalization is considered significant because Posner is considered a legal conservative," Bodine wrote.

"I don't think we should have a fraction of the drug laws that we have," Posner said. "I think it's really absurd to be criminalizing possession or use or distribution of marijuana. I can't see any difference between that and cigarettes."

Posner, who was called a "genius" by Judge William J. Bauer by way of introducing him, has written hundreds of court opinions and 40 books. Entire classes at law schools are devoted to his legal rulings.

A Reagan appointee, he attended Yale College, was valedictorian of his class at Harvard Law School and started his career as a clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Posner said he was also skeptical about laws regarding other drugs besides cannabis.

"The notion of using the criminal law as the primary means of dealing with a problem of addiction, of misuse, of ingesting dangerous drugs -- I don't think that's sensible at all," Posner said.

According to Posner, drug laws are "responsible for a high percentage of our prisoners. And these punishments are often very, very severe. It's all very expensive."

Posner pointed out in 2010 that legalizing marijuana and other drugs would save federal, state and local governments an estimated $41.3 billion a year.
Chas Holman
February 17, 2014
"Meanwhile, some leading epilepsy physicians warn that more studies are needed on medical marijuana, legalized in many states and proposed in Georgia and other states."

Wouldn't that be nice.. Too bad the Nixon administration decided by executive order to not only create the DEA, but to schedule marijuana as having ZERO medical value, so testing is darn near impossible.

In the meantime, some of these parents can't wait and are finding GREAT EARNEST relief for their children with the low THC, high CBD elixers and they don't have 'time' to wait.
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