A number of dispensaries won’t accept credit cards anymore, according to a report from the Associated Press this week. “Several dispensaries,” the report says, “have been notified to disconnect their credit card machines,” leaving some of their customers fumbling for cash when picking up their medicine.
“My customers are outraged,” an unnamed dispensary owner told Denver’s 9News. And rightfully so: Many people don’t carry cash these days, relying instead on credit and debit cards to make purchases. This trend has forced some dispensary owners, like the woman in the 9News report, to install ATMs on their premises.
The owner of a dispensary in Fort Collins, who wished to remain anonymous, said that “people live in a plastic world.” He thinks not being able to accept credit cards would directly affect revenue, considering how widely cards are used. His business has an ATM to help patients who don’t carry cash; however, he is in the process of getting a credit card machine for his customers. Some dispensaries still accept plastic, but a growing number are being asked to pull their machines or getting turned down when applying for new ones.
This trend will prove to be a problem for dispensaries not just in Colorado, but around the country. Having more cash in-store makes a business a stronger target for potential thieves. Businesses no longer taking cards will likely see a decrease in business from those patients who typically pay for medical marijuana on credit rather than through their bank accounts or with cash.
So why are credit companies pulling these machines from dispensaries? Visa and Mastercard have given little comment on this issue to any reporter, but it may have to do with a letter sent to district attorneys by U.S. Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole in June. The letter said that anyone “in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law.”
The letter continues the Obama administration’s stance on medical marijuana at the state level: These policies are in violation of national law and thus are not protected under the Tenth Amendment. It’s time to end the War on Drugs. We need to repeal prohibition. It’s time to let the states decide when it comes to cannabis.
If states can’t decide what’s best for them, then who can?