Letters + Opinion » The Week in Weed

Boring Stuff about Banks and Laws


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Industrial sites are the hot real estate commodities in Colorado, as would-be pot barons are snatching up warehouses and other properties suitable for indoor marijuana growing. A Bloomberg news story this week led with an anecdote about a Denver broker who offloaded a leaky, 40,000-square-foot warehouse in less than a day to a cash-paying client seeking farm space.

"He's also leased about 15 buildings since October for cannabis-related uses at more than double the market rate," the report reads. The hunger for marijuana production space is driving up rent on industrial space, the story goes on to say.

Humboldt County residents are known for squeezing grows into odd spaces: closets, sheds, garages, storage units. When California's pending legalization blooms, will our residential rates return to more normal numbers, with demand turning to larger industrial sites where growers needn't be so inconspicuous? Ahem, pulp mill?

Colorado lawmakers are blazing new trails in marijuana banking, concerned that the lack of financial services for legal marijuana businesses puts the cash-only institutions in danger of robbery, while making it more difficult for the state to track sales. The federal government has eased up on the prohibition of bank services for the marijuana industry, but many are still wary of federal prosecution, leading Colorado Rep. Jonathan Singer to propose "cannabis credit co-ops," according to Reuters. [UPDATE: The bill passed the legislature and is headed to the Colorado governor for approval.]

The Colorado House passed the bill despite reservations from some lawmakers — it wasn't introduced until last week, and some say House committees weren't given enough time to review the law. Skepticism about the law's chance of approval is high, according to the Denver Post; the credit union-like establishments would still need Federal Reserve approval. Still, some said passage would be a call for the feds to take up the issue of marijuana and banking as medical and recreational legalization spreads.

Meanwhile, a bill designed to punish marijuana DUIs in California died in a state assembly committee on April 29. The "Sober DUI Bill," as the East Bay Express labeled it, would have defined "under the influence" as testing positive for 2 nanograms of THC. That range of intoxication is "not based on science," according to the Express' David Downs. "Federal traffic safety officials state that it's hard to correlate THC levels to impairment."

Critics of the bill also said the level of THC in a driver's bloodstream could linger for days after marijuana use — "well after deleterious effects have faded," according to a press release from the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Oh, and just for a head-scratch or a chuckle, here's some of this week's context-free pot-related headlines, ranging from "no duh" to "uh, no":

Police: Teen brought marijuana on school bus

Marijuana food truck debuts in Denver, could be headed for Washington

Willow Smith Wears Socks with Marijuana Leaves on the Front

USCG to Offload USD 1.9 Million Worth of Marijuana

Marijuana to be sold for less than $1 a gram in Uruguay


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