The Link of the Day

It’s in the NYTimes, which means paywall. But I’ll excerpt the most relevant parts. The article is on how the banking industry is using the “legalize pot” craze to weaken federal banking regulations.

Congress is considering the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would create a “safe harbor” against federal bank regulators in states where marijuana has been legalized. The bill has 206 co-sponsors and breezed through the House’s Financial Services Committee in March. Many members of Congress have rallied behind the SAFE Banking Act not because their voters care about pot but because their donors care about money. The old hippie who grows a couple of plants in his backyard in Santa Cruz is not the guy who is paying the former House speaker John Boehner to lobby on behalf of the National Cannabis Roundtable...

Adding sophisticated banking to the pot business will do more than make it more “logical.” It will also turn an artisanal space into a corporate one. It will change what we mean by “legalized marijuana.” In referendum questions over the past decade, Americans have been making big decisions based on such thoughts as, “Should my 19-year-old daughter be put at risk of prison because she was caught with a joint at the freshman mixer?” Voters in many states have seen legalizing marijuana as the prudent choice. Corporations didn’t enter into it.

But corporations bring to the fore questions of size, power and accountability. Do we want multinational businesses using vast marketing budgets and gifted creative teams to teach our children that smoking a lot of pot is somehow sexy, or manly, or sophisticated? Do we want labs to come up with new flavors and varieties that turn pot-smoking into an adventure in connoisseurship and a way of demarcating oneself by class? Would we be content with a Microsoft of marijuana?

No, we wouldn’t but, as happens so often these days, the corporate world has taught us to repeat robotically that “criminalizing pot is racist,” and we will eagerly welcome any abuse as long as we can posture as anti-racist.

The wail of “raaaaaaaacist” is the best marketing strategy ever invented.

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