America's latest prejudiceon July 8, 2014 @ 6:20 am (Updated: 10:35 am - 7/8/14 )
Washington state is officially opening its first retail pot shops today. We now have two states where marijuana is just another legal intoxicant, like alcohol and caffeine.
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But while the new class of cannabis merchants is being warmly received by its customers, other businesses still seem a little canna-biased.
Most financial institutions want nothing to do with an industry that's still in violation of federal law. Some of them won't even accept personal accounts from people merely employed by a pot business.
An employee at a Seattle grow operation told the Denver Post that her broker closed her retirement account when he found out where she worked. Now she just lies about where she works.
Some landlords won't even rent to a pot employees- apparently because of the stoner image.
One marijuana worker said when she found a landlord who was willing to rent to her, he wanted a full year's rent up front.
Justin Hartfield, who founded an online directory of pot merchants called Weedmaps.com found that landlords would Google him and then just turn him down. Even though he says he earns about a million dollars a year.
But biases can be changed: Gay marriage seemed like crazy idea to most people until we saw how ordinary these couples looked and how monogamous they were.
If it happens that every time you walk into a pot shop you see a smart, well-dressed, friendly guy who looks like an anchorman, it'll change the image of the pot smoker too.
Actually there's a guy named Gil, the anchor of Weedmaps TV, who seems pretty mainstream.
"Hi, I'm Gil," he says as he introduces himself. "I'm a photographer. I'm a traveler. I'm a weed smoker. I'm searching for all the best our cannabis culture has to offer. So next time you roll one up, I hope you're ready to pass it this way."
He's affable, energetic, upbeat - maybe in five years, maybe ten, the bankers and the brokers will reconsider. Especially if these guys get really rich.
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