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Illinois Cancer Patient Denied Bank Account For Using Medical Marijuana

A medical marijuana patient has been refused service at an Illinois bank because of his status as a legal medical marijuana patient.

Darren Steven Miller suffers from terminal lung cancer and stage three multiple sclerosis (MS). When Illinois began implementing their medical marijuana program, he was one of the first patients to register.

“This is between me and my doctor, not between me and my bank.” – Darren Miller

According to Miller, The Bank of Edwardsville in Granite City, IL has refused to allow him to open a new bank account simply because he listed “marijuana activist” as his occupation on his application.

“When I walked in the bank, the bank manager pulled me aside and said because of my cannabis use that I could not have a signature card with their bank,” Miller told KMOV-TV.

thebankAccording to KMOV, The Bank of Edwardsville passed a resolution in 2015 saying that as a, “federally-regulated institution, and because of the disconnect between federal and state law and regulatory requirements, the bank will not engage in banking relationships with the medical marijuana industry at this time.”

The problem is Miller does not work in the medical marijuana industry and was not looking to open a bank account for a marijuana industry business. Instead, Miller says he was simply trying to open an account for the Masonic Lodge in Granite City, where he is the treasurer.

Banks refusing to conduct business with state-sanctioned cannabis businesses or those associated with the developing industry is nothing new. However, refusing to allow a medical marijuana patient a new bank account because of their status as a legal medical marijuana patient is, at best, an overreaction to the conflict between state and federal laws and at worst, discrimination. Despite medical marijuana being allowed in 28 states and the District of Columbia, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, which inevitably leads to unnecessary confusion and controversy.

“This is between me and my doctor, not between me and my bank,” Miller says.