Reports: Mich. governor signs bill allowing medical marijuana at pharmacies, conditional on federal approval

Dispensaries face difficulties handling money due to legal limbo, according to reports

NEW YORK — Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan has signed into law a bill that will allow medical marijuana to be sold in pharmacies if the federal government legalizes it for that purpose, according to published reports.

As 2013 drew to an end, both houses of Michigan's state legislature passed a bill that would allow pharmacies to sell medical marijuana, but only if the federal government allows it. Currently, the Drug Enforcement Administration classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it is an illegal drug with no officially recognized medical purpose. Nevertheless, 21 states and the District of Columbia have laws allowing it for medical purposes, while Colorado and Washington have legalized it for recreational use as well.

Legalization of the federal level would address the precarious legal limbo in which legal medical marijuana dispensaries dwell. A New York Times report published Saturday examined one major issue that dispensaries face, which is how to handle money. The dispensaries are forced to store their money in cash on the premises and also do all their business in cash, as banks — even state-chartered ones — generally refuse to give them accounts for fear of being accused by the federal government of money laundering, thus making it difficult for the dispensaries to accept credit cards.


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