Get your shovel ready — the days of buried cannabis cash may soon come to an end.
Congress is set to consider a bipartisan amendment that would allow federally regulated banks to do business with marijuana companies without fear of regulators cracking down. The amendment, authored by Florida Republican Matt Gaetz and Democrat Darren Soto, is tacked onto the Financial Choice Act, which guts many of the Dodd-Frank regulations ushered in by the Obama Administration in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, and would prohibit federal agencies from discouraging or penalizing banks taking deposits from cannabis businesses that are legal under state law.
If passed, the bill would be a huge win for the cash-heavy cannabis industry, which for decades has grappled with the banking prohibition due to marijuana's status as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act. In addition to making it very difficult for growers and operators of cannabis businesses to get loans, buy homes and the like, the prohibition also comes with a host of security concerns, necessitating armored trucks, guarded warehouses and buried loot.
The bill may get a vote in the House as soon as June 8.
It looks like the Cleveland Cavaliers might not be the only thing getting smoked in the NBA Finals.
Multiple media reports broke after Game 2, which saw the Golden State Warriors drub the Cavaliers and mighty Lebron James by 19 points to take a 2-0 lead in the best of seven series, that the visiting locker room of Oakland's Oracle Arena had a pungent and unmistakable smell. "It wasn't a dead skunk," tweeted a senior writer with ESPN. "I grew up in Northern California and Hawaii. I know what cannabis smells like."
The source of the aroma is unclear — it could have been a Cavs player, a team staffer or a member of the media. But with the Warriors' sparkling 42-4 home record since Election Day, some are surmising this is all part of the team's home-court advantage.
Speaking of home-court advantages, it seems Eureka is considering ceding its.
As the Journal went to press, the council was set to discuss a staff recommendation that the city ban recreational use cannabis dispensaries within city limits once they become legal next year. The recommendation is a bit of a head-scratcher, as staff is recommending that the council OK manufacturing, testing and transportation within city limits. So it's clearly not a moralistic stance.
But why ban dispensaries and the sales tax revenue that comes with them, especially if you're the seat of a county universally renowned for its marijuana that's constantly talking about boosting tourism?
In the latest sign that marijuana has gone yuge, a cannabis joke has landed on a McDonald's billboard in New Mexico. Seriously.
The billboard, positioned alongside Interstate 25, boasts an image of the fast food giant's new egg and chile stuffed breakfast burrito with the quip, "Usually, when you roll something this good, it's illegal."
Media reports have not indicated who owns the particular McDonald's franchise in Raton, New Mexico, or if said owner has faced a corporate backlash. But it seems a pretty brilliant marketing ploy. The billboard is located just about 10 miles south of the Colorado state line, ensuring that all those New Mexicans who daytrip it north for a legal puff return to an image of a gigantic burrito and a pithy pot joke.
Thadeus Greenson is the Journal's news editor. Reach him at 442-1400, extension 321, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @thadeusgreenson.