Are marijuana clinics legal in Venice Beach
In Shawn Scoleri's pharmacy in the middle of Seattle you can get a gram for eight to eleven dollars, depending on the quality. There are plastic boxes with green-brown marijuana flowers on his counter, there are hemp hand creams and cannabis chocolate bars that taste like mint or peanut butter. Scoleris business is legal, customers only need confirmation from a doctor or naturopath that they are smoking weed on prescription. And such confirmation is easy to come by. Still, the 42-year-old says, he sometimes feels like a criminal.
There are currently around 280 marijuana stores in Seattle, and Washington State on the west coast has completely legalized marijuana. Legislators are still fine-tuning the rules - until the city issues official trading licenses, there will only be medical pharmacies like Scoleri's. It's a gray area business because marijuana is still federally banned and listed in the most dangerous drugs category. Put simply: Washington State allows everything, the government in the capital Washington, DC, allows nothing. One of the consequences of this so far has been that the marijuana industry was not allowed to open accounts, otherwise the banks could face money laundering proceedings. This is exactly what is about to change.
The federal government recently issued guidelines to banks allowing them to work with licensed marijuana providers from now on. As long as the stores haven't sold marijuana to minors, partnered with drug cartels, or sold merchandise outside of state lines, banks can allow them to open an account, apply for a credit card, and take out loans. So all that legal companies are allowed to do.
"They want my money, that's for sure"
So far, the owners of the shops in a country where credit cards are used to pay for a packet of chewing gum have accepted almost exclusively cash. Scoleri reports how scary it is to walk around with cash, he is afraid of robberies. Two thick steel doors block its entrance. Every few months he goes to the tax authorities with an inconspicuous brown paper bag. "The first time it took them an hour and a half to count the $ 12,000," he says. "They made me feel like I was the last thing and annoyed me with stupid questions the whole time." In the meantime, however, the officers have got used to him and his notes and only need ten minutes to count. "They want my money, that's for sure," says Scoleri.
That's exactly what it's all about: the money. There is now consensus that the "War on Drugs", the raging war on drugs since 1971, has failed. It has cost taxpayers nearly a trillion dollars in 40 years - yet the drug trade has continued to expand. Proponents of cannabis legalization say: Marijuana is socially acceptable, 58 percent of Americans are now in favor of full legalization. Several states, such as California, are currently examining whether to allow consumption for non-medical purposes such as Washington and Colorado. There is open discussion in the NFL football league about approving marijuana as a pain reliever. And President Barack Obama recently said he didn't think marijuana was more dangerous than alcohol.
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