Latest 'Billions' Season Features Cannabis Banking Green Rush Subplot

Left: "Billions" stars Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti. Right: Janeane Garofalo as the head of Fine Young Cannabis.

I just started watching Billions on Showtime because Season 5 had a pot subplot. I'm still trying to make sense of it.

Hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) and Michael Prince (Corey Stoll) are competing for the Fine Young Cannabis banking account. FYC is a legal cannabis company headed by Dawn Winslow (Janeane Garofalo).

In Episode 11, first she agrees to sign with Axelrod, then balks and goes with Prince, who's working with the Feds to take down Axelrod. It turns out FYC has been selling weed on the illicit market as well. In Episode 12, the season finale, U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) busts Winslow and Axelrod for his association with FYC.

There's a lot of talk about "services for the legal cannabis industry" and "processing cannabis money." That's where Axelrod's bank can help.

Clearly, the writers understand banking is an issue in cannabis. What they didn't realize is the Feds are not targeting cannabis companies who sneak around the rules, or at least seldom do. So, it's a red herring. 

Best line: When Axelrod's henchman Mike Wagner (David Constabile) tries to gain support from media mogul Franklin Sacker (Harry Lennix), Sacker says point blank: "Never been a tea smoker. Never loved the culture around it either. I can't see myself on the cover of High Times. I'd be a pariah among other networks."

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.