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Business and Economy

Maine Medical Marijuana Businesses Often Forced to Run on Cash

UNITY, Maine — Medical marijuana caregivers and dispensaries in Maine say they're often forced to do business in cash because of a disconnect between state and federal law.

The Portland Press Herald reports medical marijuana businesses can't accept credit or debit cards from their customers, often can't write checks and can't borrow money through banks. That's because federal laws treat the drug as a prohibited substance, exposing federally chartered banks to penalties.

Officials from the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine say the group couldn't issue paychecks when its bank account was suddenly dropped in 2013 because it had the word "marijuana" in its title.

Catherine Lewis, the group's board chairman and director of education, says federal law is making criminals out of people who are trying to do business the right away.