Marijuana Laws Collide

marijuana leaf and gavel

The media is finally addressing one of the most important and interesting societal changes happening in our country today.  When we are not reading about the violence our society has encountered, the whole world is changing its mind about marijuana. Just last month Dr Sanjay Gupta, medical expert for CNN, broadcast his special about “Why I Changed My Mind on Weed”. Conservative Senator John McCain said this week that perhaps he had been wrong about medical marijuana use.  Just last night, Sixty Minutes, the longest running TV news program, also did a segment on what is happening in Colorado as the deadline of October 1, 2013 looms ahead for recreational use of marijuana.  One of the segments on Sixty Minutes interviewed an entrepreneur who was producing various flavors of chocolate and fruit flavored marijuana.

October 1 is the beginning date for applications for license to grow, sell, and  distribute marijuana, not for medical use, but for recreational use. The state of Colorado intends to regulate recreational use of marijuana the same as they regulate alcohol.  Colorado also allowed local cities and counties to pass ordinances if they did not want these dispensaries, outlets, manufacturers, processors or other businesses in their municipalities.

Colorado is moving ahead, even though the laws and regulations are opposite what federal law demands.  Just this month, a deputy attorney general told the Senate Judiciary committee that the Justice Department had begun working with Treasury officials and financial regulators to clarify how banks and other institutions would work with marijuana dispensaries and growers.

At the present time, under federal law, financial institutions, landlords, and others can be prosecuted for racketeering, money laundering, and trafficking in drugs.  Last month, the Justice Department indicated that it would not seek to override state laws as long as the regulations kept the marijuana operations out of the eye of enforcement.

So maybe the marijuana growers and distributors will have to hide their money under the mattress.  But, the great experiment will be starting soon. Keep tuned and watch the fun!

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