Imagine walking into your working environment one morning and learning that your bank card services have been terminated overnight. They were take off not for lack of payment and not to be associated with an illegal business, but instead they certainly 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 in the event that you fabricated your application it can be quite 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 big trouble using their service provider Intuit? AMC is a business which offers consultations with doctors for the approval of medical cannabis use under Oregon law. Even though the clinic does not dispense or distribute medical cannabis, it’s lost its services.
Intuit states 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 exactly the same services, they stated that they’d not be terminating those accounts since they didn’t feature medical cannabis on the web pages. Jungle Boys marijuana AMC offered to remove the reference, but Intuit won’t reestablish the account because “now we know.”
PayPal, the internet payment service, in addition has terminated accounts associated with 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 actually medicinal. The DEA and the US government hold the position that smoking marijuana doesn’t have medical value. The American Cancer Society, the AMA and the AAP all agree that smoking is not an optimal method by which to gain any benefits, when they exist. Alternate types of ingestion are being investigated.
Even the large Institute of Medicine study frequently cited by proponents of medicinal marijuana actually opposes the use of smoked marijuana for medical benefits. The analysis 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 result in the IOM rejecting the thought of more studies.
Where Do We Go Next?
Just like a number of other hot potatoes, few people want to take care of this one. For people who have opened dispensaries, the challenges associated with obtaining traditional financing, accounts and services have sometimes become overwhelming. For others who remain in the commercial, alternatives are available.
While selling cannabis online remains illegal, the Internet is an excellent place to look for companies willing and even eager to enter the market. By searching especially for merchant account providers familiar with the risks associated with legal medical marijuana sales, entrepreneurs will get the services they might need without obfuscation.
With 15 states and the District of Columbia already de-criminalizing the sale of marijuana products for medicinal purposes it is likely that the issue can come to a head soon. Some states, such as for instance California, are planning to charge dispensaries sales tax on their transactions – leaving this kind of cash cow alone when state coffers are stripped bare is unimaginable. The question remains: how will the federal government answer the move?
Is it About Money or Perception?
It is simple to assume the us government moving in either direction.
Cannabis remains illegal in a lot of the world, and possession is known 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 given by legalizing a currently flourishing industry could reach $2-6 billion.
Unfortunately for merchants, there is 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 for a passing fancy page.