Maine Pot Growers, Bankers Skeptical of New Federal Guidelines

February 24th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

Pot plants 2

In October, the list of conditions which can be treated with medical marijuana was expanded to include post-traumatic-stress-disorder, Parkinson disease and others.  According to some estimates this could see the number of licensed marijuana caregivers in Maine more than double, to as many as 3,000.

Paul McCarrier is an advocate for the group Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, which represents the state’s estimated 1,300 caregivers. He says the situation is a problem.

“Caregivers are legitimate businesses here in the state and we’re continuing to try to work to make sure that we can serve more patients,” McCarrier says. “And as more patients come into the medical marijunana program, there’s going to be a need for caregivers to have access to banking.”

McCarrier’s says he dubious, however, about the effectiveness of new government-issued guidelines, because they do not represent a change in the law. “This is just a memo which has no legal standing in court,” he says.

The banking situation was highlighted recently by U.S. House Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon at a congressional hearing on federal marijuana policy.

“Federal law forces legitimate marijuana businesses to be entirely cash,” Blumenauer said. “They can’t get a bank account and delivering their tax payments with shopping bags full of cash – if you care about money laundering, if you care about tax evasion and theft – is crazy. It’s just crazy.”

“I was quite surprised when

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