Imagine walking into your office one morning and learning your charge card services had been terminated overnight. They were take off not for lack of payment and not for being involved with an illegal business, but rather these were take off for indeterminate “unacceptable business practices.” This is a reality facing many owners of medical marijuana dispensaries who get “creative” using their applications; and if you fabricated your application it can be a legitimate termination – but that isn’t always the case.
Left Without Service
The story above isn’t uncommon. It just happened recently to Alternative Medical Choice, Inc., a consultation service based in Oregon. What does AMC do that got them in some trouble using their service provider Intuit? AMC is a small business that provides consultations with doctors for the approval of medical cannabis use under Oregon law. Even although clinic doesn’t dispense or distribute medical cannabis, it’s lost its services.
Intuit states which they terminated services because AMC didn’t reveal its involvement with medical marijuana. When further questioned about terminating some 3000 other accounts they hold with clinics offering the same services, they stated that they would not be terminating those accounts simply because they didn’t feature medical cannabis on their web pages. AMC offered to get rid of the reference, but Intuit won’t reestablish the account because “now we know.”
PayPal, the internet payment service, has also terminated accounts related to medical marijuana consultation references.
DEA, FDA, IOM and Other Alphabet Soup
The main problem businesses face stems from the question of whether or not marijuana is in fact medicinal. The DEA and the US government hold the position that smoking marijuana does not have any medical value. Jungle boys clothing The American Cancer Society, the AMA and the AAP all agree that smoking is not an optimum manner in which to achieve any benefits, should they exist. Alternate types of ingestion are now being investigated.
Even the large Institute of Medicine study frequently cited by proponents of medicinal marijuana actually opposes the utilization of smoked marijuana for medical benefits. The study unearthed that there were some “potentially therapeutic” benefits to cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, but that other available medications offered better results. Having less standardization, the technique of dosage and other factors all lead to the IOM rejecting the thought of more studies.
Where Do We Go Next?
The same as many other hot potatoes, few people want to take care of this one. For people who have opened dispensaries, the challenges involved with obtaining traditional financing, accounts and services have sometimes become overwhelming. For other people who remain in the business, alternatives are available.
While selling cannabis online remains illegal, the Internet is a good place to look for companies willing and even wanting to enter the market. By searching designed for merchant account providers knowledgeable about the risks involved with legal medical marijuana sales, entrepreneurs will get the services they need without obfuscation.
With 15 states and the District of Columbia already de-criminalizing the sale of marijuana products for medicinal purposes it is probable that the problem will come to a head soon. Some states, such as California, are preparing to charge dispensaries sales tax on all of their transactions – leaving this type of cash cow alone when state coffers are stripped bare is unimaginable. The question remains: how will the us government react to the move?
Is it About Money or Perception?
It is straightforward to imagine the us government moving in either direction.
Cannabis remains illegal in all of the world, and possession is recognized as a capital offense in many countries. The US government is unlikely to want global opinion to be so effected. On the other hand, the taxes supplied by legalizing a currently flourishing industry could reach $2-6 billion.
Unfortunately for merchants, there’s no conclusive argument at this time. Obtaining business services will remain difficult and sudden terminations likely until all government agencies, state, local and federal are on the same page.