Maine Pot Growers Cheer New Federal Banking Guidelines

February 15th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

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In October, the list of conditions which can be treated with medical marijuana was expanded to include post traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s 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.

One major problem, though, says marijuana caregiver advocate Paul McCarriers, is that anyone involved in this particular brand of horticulture is barred by federal law from having a bank account.

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

Federal law has prevented federally-insured financial institutions like banks and credit unions from handling money linked to marijuana – which remains a controlled substance at the national level. The 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,” he 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 my bank account got shut down,” says

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