Despite being one of the first states to legalize medical cannabis in 2000, Hawaii only began the process of setting up the infrastructure of cannabis sales last year. Now the state is taking a radical leap forward in the way that banking is conducted in the industry. Starting October 2nd, the state will outlaw the use of cash to pay dispensaries. The decision is based on a desire to protect dispensaries from robberies and crimes that could occur in what would otherwise be a cash industry. Now patients will have to pay using an app on their mobile device. For those who don’t have smart phones, accounts can be created using an email and computer tablets will be available so that patients can still sign in at the dispensary and pay.
How Hawaii is Sidestepping Cash Transactions Without Big Banks
According to Pacific Business News, a division of Partner Colorado Credit Union called Safe Harbor Private Banking is offering its banking services alongside CanPay, a debit based payment company which will allow patients the use of the app, to purchase their cannabis. 6 states are already using the app including Colorado and California. The banking solution has become necessary due to federal law, which still considers cannabis illegal. Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, placing it in the highest risk categories with the strictest laws. Banking institutions are generally too afraid to do business with cannabis related businesses due to the risk involved if there is a federal crackdown. Even credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard have outlawed the use of their cards to pay for cannabis or cannabis related products.
A Hostile Political Climate for Cannabis
During the Obama administration, the Department of Justice helped banks avoid federal prosecution by creating guidelines for banking institutions in states where cannabis has been legalized. The Trump administration, however, has shown a lot of hostility towards the cannabis industry, including medical cannabis, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime opponent of the plant, threatening a crackdown of both medical and recreational marijuana. Sessions has implied the threat, regardless of state laws on the plant.
The Situation in Hawaii
Hawaii currently only has 2 dispensaries up and running, although the state has licensed 8 dispensaries to operate. Maui Grown Therapies was the first to start running after receiving approval last month from the Department of Health. As a cash only industry, cannabis dispensaries face great danger. The threat of robbery is high and taxes have to be delivered in cash which puts multiple parties at risk. The app offers a much safer solution for all involved with the industry.
29 states have currently legalized medical marijuana and 8 states have legalized recreational marijuana for personal use. As this trend continues to grow across the country, CanPay offers a much needed and valuable solution to cannabis related businesses. The latest polls indicate that 60 percent of the country believes that cannabis should be legalized for personal use. 85 percent believe it should be legalized for medical use. With statistics like these reflecting public sentiment, it’s likely that the trend towards legalization will only continue to grow.