by David Downs
Your Weekend Must-Reads: 1. The White House is sniffing around for dirt on crime related to medical cannabis dispensaries, the Denver Westword reports. Meanwhile a Denver Post analysis found pot shop robbery rates to be lower than banks'. More headlines after the jump.
2. Bank of America and Wachovia are laundering Mexican drug cartel funds, Bloomberg News reports. "San Francisco's Wells Fargo & Co., which bought Wachovia in 2008, has admitted in court that its unit failed to monitor and report suspected money laundering by narcotics traffickers — including the cash used to buy four planes that shipped a total of 22 tons of cocaine. ... Wachovia admitted it didn't do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for Mexican currency exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. That's the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history — a sum equal to one-third of Mexico's current gross domestic product. ... Since 2006, more than 22,000 people have been killed in drug-related battles that have raged mostly along the 2,000-mile border that Mexico shares with the United States.
3. Democratic political blog Firedoglake lashes out at Jerry Brown for linking legalized pot to cartel growth, when it's clear they aren't smuggling Southern Comfort across the Arizona's border. "Nobody profited more from alcohol prohibition or more wanted to see it stay illegal than the Mob and the bootleggers. Today, no one profits more from marijuana prohibition — and wants to see it stay illegal — than the drug cartels. ...There are only two options here: One is that Jerry Brown is sincere in his belief, and therefore lacks even a basic understanding of economics and drug policy. (If so, this would seriously put his qualifications for governor in doubt). The other option is that candidate Brown has other reasons for wanting to keep marijuana illegal (political, moral, a weird, deep-seated hatred of libertarians?). If so it is time for Brown to come clean and stop polluting the public debate about cannabis legalization with this nonsense."
4. A Santa Cruz Grand Jury says the government could benefit from legal pot and the county could see $7.5 million gain from new taxes and decreased costs, the Merc reports. “The report assumes pot would cost $100 an ounce, that 19 million ounces would be sold statewide, and that the county would impose a $50-per-ounce tax. Under that scenario the county would collect $129,200 in sales taxes and $6.46 million from its pot tax. The county also would lose about $400,000 in fines, seized property and enforcement grants, but would save $1.36 million in arrest, prosecution and incarceration costs, the report says.
5. Boing Boing reposts Nixon's famed dialogue with Art Linkletter on how alcoholic nations are stronger than cannabis-using ones, which are usually made up of brown people. Insightful policy makers we have. “I have seen the countries of Asia and the Middle East, portions of Latin America, and I have seen what drugs have done to those countries,” he says. "Everybody knows what it’s done to the Chinese, the Indians are hopeless anyway, the Burmese ... they’ve all gone down.”
6. San Francisco's independent film festival The Frozen Film Festival screens California: State of Confusion, a short documentary that examines the contradiction of state, federal, and local law as it pertains to the use and distribution of medical marijuana. Friday, July 2nd, Roxie Theater, 6:45 p.m.
7. Leading CelebStoner Kristin Stewart's new flick Twilight Eclipse, grossed more than $90 million this week.
8. And High Times has some requisite crazy 'Pics of the Crop'.