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US banking laws could hinder Uruguay's legal marijuana program

Uruguay's biggest bank is shuttering accounts linked to pharmacies that are legally selling marijuana due to concerns about running afoul of US laws regulating financial institutions, presenting a potentially significant obstacle to the advancement of Uruguay's historic marijuana legalization experiment.

A little more than a month after pharmacies around the country began legal sales of government-regulated marijuana, the state-owned Bank of the Republic (Banco de la República Oriental de Uruguay - BROU) has closed private accounts related to the sale of the substance, El Observador reported on August 17.

The BROU, the country's largest financial institution, announced it will not maintain commercial relations with any pharmacy selling marijuana because doing so could "lead to the financial isolation of BROU and its clients, preventing it from carrying...

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