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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Dazed and confused

Could someone explain this to me?

On Friday, as J.D. Tuccille noted, the Treasury Department and the Justice Department issued guidelines for banks that do business with state-licensed marijuana suppliers. According to Attorney General Eric Holder, the aim of the memos is to reassure financial institutions that are leery of accepting cannabusinesses as customers because they worry it will attract unwanted attention from federal regulators and prosecutors. But as with the August 29 memo in which Deputy Attorey General James Cole said that prosecuting properly regulated marijuana growers and sellers would not be a high priority, there are no guarantees, and that fact is likely to deter traditionally cautious banks more than plucky cannabis entrepreneurs.

Marijuana sale and use is still a violation of federal law, so, really, all these states that have legalized marijuana, either for medicinal or recreational use, should be smaked down by Washington. Yet here is Washington issuying guidelines for banking marijuana money.

When those on the right criticize the "lawlessness" of the Obama administration in picking and choosing which regulations to enforce and which to ignore, Obamacare gets most of the attention. But we should be watching this one closely, too. It's getting to the point where no one can say from one day to the next what the feds will do or how they will act. The law above all should be clear and direct. Increasingly, it's neither.