Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Wed, Jan. 22

Friday Catchall: Marijuana, Iran have cash in common

The Friday Catchall:

• IRISH POT OF CASH — I do not have a problem with people who use medical marijuana for a legitimate reason. Still, the drug is illegal, according to the federal government, particularly when it comes to personal use.

That is why the dispensaries and their companies have to do business in cash; banks are federally insured (“FDIC” is on the plaque you see when visiting one). So, in every practical sense, the banks are federal; thus, marijuana not being legal federally, the dispensaries can’t use banks.

A creative solution is in the offing by none other than our state attorney general, Mark Brnovich, who has reportedly agreed to allow one company to form what it calls a “digital payment club.”

Calling a spade a spade, it will allow dispensaries and others in that business to convert their cash to a digital “token” and use them to pay suppliers and others willing to accept them.

I don’t like it. Marijuana should either be illegal or legal.

It cannot be both.

I will put my opinion about which one I favor in reserve (you may know how I feel from prior columns); we may see action on this topic in the next Legislature or on the 2020 ballot. We’ll see.

It is like a leprechaun and his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It is elusive though, and the marijuana industry has figured out how to get to the gold.

• WHOSE GOLD? — As an aside, this is the same thing that’s happening with Iran. Seriously.

The United States has enacted sanctions because Iranian leaders want nuclear weapons. The sanctions, or some of them, prohibit Iran from selling oil in dollars. The U.S. also has blocked Iran from using Euros.

It is crippling the Middle East country.

Long story short, Russia, China and others (Iran) have formed a sort of bank with their own digital coin (like bitcoins). It is a bank through which the member countries settle up in gold.

It has nothing to do with U.S. dollars. In fact, it is backed by Russian and Chinese gold; collectively they own one-sixth of the world’s gold.

Sorry, I don’t like this either. Pretty ingenious, but it is an end-run.

• BACK TO SCHOOL — It has been great to read about the districts and companies in the Prescott area collecting and distributing school supplies leading up to the start of the 2019-20 school year.

Prescott Unified is the first out of the gate on Aug. 1, followed by pretty much everyone else on Aug. 5.

A lot exists to talk about and learn as we close in on this school year. Pick up the Courier next week for a multi-day series of articles.

And watch out for kiddos while driving. Not all children use sidewalks and crosswalks.

• PICK OF THE WEEK — (Proving there’s always something good to do in the Prescott area that’s cheap or free): I love history – check out the free lecture at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 27, at Sharlot Hall Museum. It will be about the Hance Brothers in Yavapai County!

Tim Wiederaenders is the senior news editor for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or

Editor's Note - This column has been updated to correct that I meant to refer to Iran.

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