Cash-Only Pot: Credit Cards No Longer Accepted at Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Categories: Marijuana
Thumbnail image for california-medical-marijuana.png
Cash rules everything around here
High FICO score be damned: Your credit is no longer any good at California medical marijuana dispensaries, whose accounts with credit card processors have been canceled, thanks to pressure from the federal government.

Merchant services providers -- the intermediaries between retailers and credit card companies who process customers' payments -- began informing their medical marijuana dealing clients that cannabis credit card transactions would not be processed after July 1, according to Stephen DeAngelo, Executive Director of Oakland's Harborside Health Center.

No government agency is taking credit for making marijuana a cash-only business. But the "factual pattern" is as follows, DeAngelo said: Officials from the Treasury Department flexed on credit card companies, who then informed merchant services providers that they'd be "dropped from Visa and MasterCard forever" unless they stopped processing medical marijuana payments.
This is a safety concern for medical marijuana seekers, who must now tote around wads of bills in order to purchase their preferred medicine. It's also part of a larger federal "multi-agency campaign" to marginalize medical marijuana, said DeAngelo, whose dispensary is also fighting the IRS over business taxes.

Harborside first announced the cash-only move with a tweet and online posting last week. Other dispensaries, including Haight Street's Vapor Room, also announced via the web that they'd gone cash-only.

DeAngelo declined to reveal the name of his dispensary's merchant services provider, but the dispensary did as of Thursday still take debit cards.

Harborside, the nation's largest dispensary, is also fighting the IRS over business tax deductions. The IRS claims that Harborside and other dispensaries owe back taxes because costs made for employee, healthcare, and other deductions are invalid under a section of tax code, 280E, intended to punish cocaine traffickers.

Some unscrupulous merchant services providers have already contacted Harborside, offering to process credit cards in return for a 5, 7, or 10 percent processing fee, but "we don't want any part of that," DeAngelo said.

In San Francisco, some dispensaries have always been cash-only. Some, like HopeNet on Ninth Street, continue to accept debit. At least one rented an ATM machine and set it up at the counter. "It [the machine] is really ugly," said one employee, not authorized to speak with the media. "It's like we're in a cheap convenience store."

It appears a few other dispensaries are working around the feds, using devices like the iPad-equippable Square to process card transactions. It's possible those Square accounts are connected to "sharks" that are either using a different business name or category to hide the marijuana sales from the feds, or using an off-shore bank, DeAngelo surmised.

Being unable to use a credit card to pay for medical cannabis hurts low-income patients, according to Americans for Safe Access: someone on a fixed income wishing to buy, say, an ounce for the month at $270 must now spend $320 in $40 eighths.

Not to mention the crime aspect -- a medical marijuana customer is now a guaranteed cash-carrying target for petty criminals.

Not to mention that getting away from the cash-only lifestyle, having a bank account and paying taxes was what going legal was supposed to be all about, DeAngelo said.

Shutting off cannabis buyers' credit is "a crazy policy," he said. "And it only helps criminals."

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33 comments
johnm
johnm

Its the beginning of the process to have these stores closed by the feds and big pharma pushing their pill form of thc to help these patients with the feds help .... its a shame

jazzalbart
jazzalbart

As I know, Credit Cards are acceptable at every places now a days, but I'm amazed to hear this that it is not allow at Medical Marijuana Dispensaries. Well, there may be some restriction behind it or may be any other reason would be there but I personally feel that it would be acceptable everywhere.

http://www.total-apps.com/

Grabthis
Grabthis

Thats rude " Jr", & that's why You R......a Hater-

Laura Sousa
Laura Sousa

wish i had friends like yours!!my "friends" charge $45 an 8th,i can get a 8th at harborside for the same price,maybe even $5 less if they have mega mix special...harborside does charge more,but they also offer free services like accupuncture,reiki,counseling and more.and all cannabis is tested for thc content and toxins,so you know exactly what you are buying.you don't get that from your friends....

Snowplowguys
Snowplowguys

This is why we have no choice but to vote Ron Paul Mr. President you lied 4 years ago and Romney is against medical marijuana (period)

Jebalert
Jebalert

 "Fed" can refer both to the federal government or the federal reserve, in this case the former would make sense.

Ice Pick
Ice Pick

you will go out of business since nobody has any idea where to buy bullion.

Ice Pick
Ice Pick

yea, they should take bitcoin.. I was just thinking that.

Ice Pick
Ice Pick

The cost to grow is $300/lb in an efficient operation.  Charging anything above $500 per pound is outright thievery.

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

Anyone who doesn't know the difference between the Fed and the Treasury shouldn't be commenting on political issues, period.

smith support
smith support

Great write-up, maintain up the excellent operate.

Keith
Keith

The Federal Government is acting like a strong-armed THUG. We have to stand up to this monster and assert our rights as citizens. "The Republic" for which it stands? yeah right

Erik Voorhees
Erik Voorhees

Bitcoin + Silk Road = get around all the dispensary and drug laws in the first place. 

Andy
Andy

Yeah if you like spending 80$ an eighth. No thanks I'll stick to my friends who charge $20. Silk roads prices are ridiculous I would have to be real desperate to buy anything there.

Coufe, David
Coufe, David

this is disgusting!!! the obama administration is actually actiong worse than any other administration before, and that's after he promised not to get involved in this sh*t

Jose Gonzales
Jose Gonzales

Street prices do not include insidious taxes.

Cayenne Jan
Cayenne Jan

It is very obvious that this is another attempt to stop MMJ users from getting their meds from a "Legitimate" location. It sounds like they want us to be either criminals or associate with street dealers. By taking away the bank function you are essentially shutting down these businesses, by slow death. No one including myself (with a legal CA permit) wants to walk around with cash in any town! This is a very insidious way of dealing with their problem.

Erudite Premonitory
Erudite Premonitory

frozen turd dildo...shitty cuntcockass...bloody Recto-Vaginal Fistula... /mocking/: 'garbageman...ha.'

Muzzy Lu
Muzzy Lu

The Feds still trying to stop medical marijuana are causing all this trouble. Marijuana is a very healthy food if taken as an edible, not smoked. There is a great $2.99 e-book on medical marijuana: MARIJUANA - Guide to Buying, Growing, Harvesting, and Making Medical Marijuana Oil and Delicious Candies to Treat Pain and Ailments by Mary Bendis, Second Edition. This book has great recipes for easy marijuana oil, delicious Cannabis Chocolates, and tasty Dragon Teeth Mints. 

Jkliii
Jkliii

This move proves beyond any doubt what liars Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder really are!  But, what can be done about it...

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

This has been the case in Colorado for a while.  Some dispensaries have placed ATMs in their lobbies so that customers need not carry large amounts of cash..

Flatty311
Flatty311

why if it is legal in my state i would purchase it like any other product . remember your a registered marijuana patient they already know who you are ! doesn't matter if you use your credit card or not 

Ripit
Ripit

cash only should be the preferred method no matter what the item/material being sold! imho.

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

Wow, talk about shooting yourselves in the foot!  With no paper trail, who wants to bet that pot clubs will suddenly have a major dip in reported revenue, therefore sending less tax money to the feds?

Andy
Andy

Good the idiots in the Fed deserve to be ripped off.

Tjames
Tjames

Sorry but only a true moron would use ANY form of electronic currency for a weed transaction.

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