Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

February 20, 2014

It's the green rush and munchies

Raging Moderate by Will Durst
The Daily Iowegian

---- — It’s easy to imagine an arena full of Phish fans raising and waving their lighters to honor U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for suggesting the feds might help states that legalize pot by allowing dispensaries to utilize banking services. Way to go, Super AG. That’s so incredibly righteous of you.

These days, everyone dealing with marijuana distribution is forced to use cash in financial dealings. To buy inventory, pay employees, stock up on munchies, tip the pizza dude, everything. Even cover their taxes. Problem is, those amounts of dead presidents tend to attract the sort of unsavory company you normally associate with orange jumpsuit-wearing, ankle-shackle sporting, border-tunnel digging, Vin Diesel movie-watchers.

Nineteen states have already approved medical marijuana and in 2014, the citizens of Oregon, Alaska, California, Arizona and DC will vote to legalize it for recreational use, joining Washington and Colorado in the “Pot Club.” The smoke, it is a wafting. Banks can smell the money and are itching for a taste of the action. Lawmakers themselves are jonesing for additional revenue. You’ve heard of squeezing blood out of a turnip? Think of this as scraping green off the green. A phenomenon that pot journalist, Jack Rikess, calls “Grassnost.”

Grass. Weed. Reefer. Mary Jane. Wacky tobaccy. Hemp. Chronic. Ganja. Doobie. Dope. Blunt. Spliff. Stank. Indica. Tetrahydrocannabinol. Hairy purple skunk balls. Whatever brand name you prefer, lines are forming at the trampoline for corporate America to jump on The Green Rush Bandwagon.

Even President Obama admitted marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol and he should know. As opposed to Bill Clinton, who never inhaled, some skeptics doubt the 44th POTUS ever exhaled. In high school, as a member of the Choom Gang, he was noted for cutting off passing joints, intercepting extra hits.

But brah’s right. Consider how many steps it takes to produce a bottle of whiskey. Not like you can walk into the backyard and pick a Daiquiri off the Cocktail Tree. Pot, however, grows right out of the ground. They don’t call it “weed” for nothing. You saying God made a mistake?

What’s the worst thing going to happen if you do run into a crazed pothead? You might get fleas. That’s about it. Okay, there’s Twinkie cream on your shirt, wipe it off. Can’t get the song “Stairway to Heaven” out of your head — deal with it.

All that said, legalizing the stuff on a federal basis is going to be trickier than rolling three joints while swinging by your knees on a trapeze in a high breeze. Plan for heavy pushback from a variety of vested interests: the cotton and oil industries. Big Pharma. Prison guard unions. Mexican drug cartels. Mexican politicians. Taco Bell. Bail Bondsmen. The Catholic Church. Zig Zag Papers. Liquor distributors. Law enforcement agencies. ATM manufacturers. ATV manufacturers. Phish.

Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world.