Visa Cracks Down On Cannabis Dispensary ‘Cashless ATM’ Transactions

Credit card powerhouse Visa is cracking down on “cashless ATM” transactions processed by cannabis dispensaries and other retailers, saying the popular workaround for credit and debit card payments is prohibited and subject to unspecified penalties.

In a compliance memo sent this month to banks that process payment card transactions for merchants, Visa, the world’s second-largest payment card processing company, noted that it is “aware of a scheme” in which point-of-sale (POS) terminals known as cashless ATMs are used to process purchases. Instead of processing the sale as a purchase, however, the merchant codes the transaction as an ATM withdrawal.

“Cashless ATMs are POS devices driven by payment applications that mimic standalone ATMs. However, no cash disbursements are made to cardholders,” the December 2 memo obtained by Marijuana Moment explains. “Instead, the devices are used for purchase transactions, which are miscoded as ATM cash disbursements. Purchase amounts are often rounded up to create the appearance of a cash disbursement.”

Federal Banking Laws Pose Challenges for Cannabis Businesses

Due to federal banking and money laundering laws that leave traditional financial services largely unavailable to legal cannabis businesses, many marijuana dispensaries utilize the cashless ATM solution to accept credit and debit cards as payment for customers’ purchases. Instead of requiring customers to pay by cash, retailers who utilize the cashless ATM process can offer the convenience of accepting payment cards at the cash register. The option is also more secure for dispensaries than handling large amounts of cash, which puts them at greater risk of armed robbery and other crime.

Although Visa did not specifically mention cannabis dispensaries, the memo noted that cashless ATMs “are primarily marketed to merchant types that are unable to obtain payment services—whether due to the Visa Rules, the rules of other networks, or legal or regulatory prohibitions.”

Visa warned that miscoding POS purchases as ATM withdrawals violates requirements that all transactions processed through the company’s networks contain accurate data. Visa also noted that processing transactions with inaccurate information such as a misidentified merchant or incorrect business location is also prohibited. Although Visa was not specific about the repercussions of processing illegitimate cashless ATM withdrawals, the company noted that such transactions “will be subject to non-compliance assessments and/or penalties” or “subject to further compliance enforcement.”

Morgan Fox, media relations director for the National Cannabis Industry Association, says that it “is unfortunate that Visa is unwilling to work with the cannabis industry, which is legal in dozens of states and represents billions of dollars in economic activity, at a time when this country needs all the financial options it can use.”

But it is even worse that they are trying to discourage alternative solutions that are primarily utilized by small businesses to protect themselves and their customers from theft and violent crime,” Fox told Marijuana Moment.

“The announcement amounts to intimidation,” Fox added, “and will directly put cannabis businesses at even greater risk that could cost lives.”

Christian Sederberg, founding partner with the cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP, said that licensed cannabis companies “continue to lack consistent and affordable access to the basic financial services that other businesses enjoy.”  

“They are doing everything they can to ensure transactions are taking place safely and legally, but they keep running into these problems due to the illegal status of cannabis under federal law,” Sederberg wrote in an email to Cannabis Now. “Unfortunately, it is smaller businesses and social equity applicants who are at the greatest disadvantage.”

Cannabis Industry Seeks Congressional Help

To address the challenges accessing financial services faced by cannabis businesses, the industry has long sought a legislative solution from federal lawmakers. Under the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, federal banking regulators would be prohibited from penalizing banks that choose to serve cannabis firms doing business in compliance with state law. The legislation was initially introduced in the House of Representatives in 2013 by Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, who has reintroduced the bill each subsequent congressional cycle.

The SAFE Banking Act was passed by the House of Representatives in 2019 and again last year as part of COVID-19 pandemic relief legislation. The House passed the bill again in April of this year as a standalone bill and included the measure in this year’s defense authorization bill, but the version of the legislation passed by the Senate this week does not include the cannabis banking provisions.

Tom DiGiovanni, the chief financial officer for California vertically integrated cannabis company Harborside Inc., noted that a lack of access to traditional financial services has led the cannabis industry to create innovative workarounds for banking and payments. But often, the solutions are less secure for both businesses and customers.

“More credible fintech solutions than the ‘cashless ATM’ that have hit the market have been a step in the right direction, but this does not lessen the urgency of the need for the government to intervene and address the dire situation of cannabis banking,” DiGiovanni wrote in an email. “As we’ve seen in our hometown of Oakland, businesses like ours are at constant risk for burglary or shutdown (as Visa is suggesting) until a solution like the SAFE Banking Act is passed.”

The post Visa Cracks Down On Cannabis Dispensary ‘Cashless ATM’ Transactions appeared first on Cannabis Now.

24 Governors Call On Congress to Pass Cannabis Banking Bill

The governors of 24 states and U.S. territories sent a letter to congressional leaders on Thursday calling on lawmakers to pass legislation that would permit financial institutions to provide banking services to the regulated cannabis industry. The letter from the bipartisan group of two dozen governors seeks passage of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which was approved by the House of Representatives in September as part of a comprehensive defense spending authorization bill.

In the letter, which was sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress, the governors of 21 states, Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, call for provisions of the SAFE Banking Act to be included in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for the 2022 fiscal year.

Relief for a Cash-Heavy Industry

If passed by the Senate and signed into law, federal banking regulators would be prohibited from penalizing banks that choose to serve cannabis firms doing business in accordance with state law. Under current regulations, banks are subject to penalties under federal money laundering and other laws for servicing such companies, leaving the cannabis industry to operate in a risky environment heavy in cash. The legislation was initially introduced in the House in 2013 by Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, who has reintroduced the bill each subsequent congressional cycle.

The letter sent on Thursday, which was led by Democratic Governor Jared Polis of Colorado, notes that 37 states, four U.S. territories and the District of Columbia have passed recreational or medical cannabis legalization measures. But businesses in the regulated cannabis industry are still largely unable to access traditional banking services including deposits, payroll and checking accounts.

“Medical and recreational cannabis sales in the U.S. were estimated to total $17.5 billion last year, but because of antiquated federal banking regulations, almost all cannabis transactions are cash-based,” the governors wrote in their letter. “Not only are cash-only businesses targets for crime, cannabis businesses are further disadvantaged compared to other legal businesses by being unable to open bank accounts or obtain loans at reasonable rates.” 

The SAFE Banking Act was passed by the House of Representatives in 2019 and again last year as part of a COVID-19 pandemic relief bill. The House passed the bill again in April as standalone legislation and has included the measure in the defense authorization bill currently under consideration, but the bill has so far failed to be passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the president.

“It’s time for Congress to allow cannabis-related businesses to have better access to the banking system and operate with normal bank accounts,” Polis said in a press release on Thursday. “Thank you to Congressman Ed Perlmutter who has continually pushed for legislation to address this important issue. After years of cannabis being legal in a multitude of states, it is long overdue for cannabis businesses to finally financially operate alongside other businesses in the open national banking system.”

The governors also noted in the letter that while cannabis has been legalized in some form by a majority of U.S. states, the continued lack of traditional banking services and large amounts of cash throughout the supply chain leave legal marijuana businesses at increased risk of robbery and other crime. Additionally, the lack of access to loans inhibits the growth of the booming industry.

“The SAFE Banking Amendment will remedy these harms and help keep communities in our states and territories safe by allowing legitimate and legal cannabis companies to access banking services,” the letter continues. “Financial institutions will subject the funds and account holders to rigorous anti-money laundering and ‘Know Your Customer’ requirements that will further help states where cannabis has been made legal to keep bad actors out of the system.

“The SAFE Banking Act has more bipartisan support than ever before, and Congress must take steps to ensure that this measure is included in the final version of the NDAA that goes to President Biden’s desk,” the governors concluded.

In addition to Polis, the letter to Congress was signed by the leaders of Alaska, California, Connecticut, Guam, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Virginia, the state of Washington, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin.

In April, a bipartisan group of 21 governors from a nearly identical list of states and territories called on Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act after the measure was approved by the House of Representatives.

The post 24 Governors Call On Congress to Pass Cannabis Banking Bill appeared first on High Times.

Friday, April 30, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, April 30, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Key Senate Chair Shifts Stance On Tying Marijuana Banking Bill To Sentencing Reform (Marijuana Moment)

// Louisiana Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Licensing Bill In Anticipation Of Legalization (Marijuana Moment)

// Louisiana Governor Says He Has ‘Great Interest’ In Marijuana Legalization Bill Advancing In Legislature (Marijuana Moment)


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// Canadian Cannabis Sales Grow 74% in February to $263 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Maryland Cannabis Industry Grew By 40 Percent in 2020 (Outlaw Report)

// Legal pot in R.I. ‘inevitable’ but may not happen this year State House leaders say (Providence Journal)

// Ascend Wellness Raises $80 Million in IPO (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Gage Cannabis Turns In Solid Fourth Quarter Fiscal Year (Green Market Report)

// Bipartisan Lawmakers Want Federal Protections For Marijuana States In Next Spending Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// Maine Proposal Would Legalize Psilocybin Mushroom Therapy For Adults No Medical Diagnosis Needed (Marijuana Moment)

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Friday, March 19, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, March 19, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Marijuana Banking Bill Reintroduced In Congress With Broad Bipartisan Support From More Than 100 Lawmakers (Marijuana Moment)

// Schumer Marijuana Bill Will Stop Big Alcohol And Tobacco From Dominating Market He Says (Marijuana Moment)

// ‘It’s inevitable’: Delaware lawmakers introduce bill once again to legalize marijuana (WDEL News)


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// California’s provisional marijuana licensing crisis resurfaces possibly disrupting thousands of MJ companies (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Cresco to Buy Massachusetts Cannabis Operator Cultivate for $90 Million With Additional Potential Earnout (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Ontario Cannabis Store appoints sixth president in three years raising industry concern (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Hexo Turns In Solid Quarter As Stock Jumps On The Earnings (Green Market Report)

// Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth borrows $750 million (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Marijuana real estate merger creates firm worth $435 million in assets cash (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Bipartisan Senate Bill Would Give Marijuana Businesses Access To Insurance Coverage (Marijuana Moment)

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Thursday March 18, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, March 16, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Congressional Marijuana Banking Bill Will Be Reintroduced On Thursday (Marijuana Moment)

// New Mexico Marijuana Legalization Bill Heads To Senate Floor Following Contentious Committee Hearing (Marijuana Moment)

// Schumer Weighs In On New York Legal Marijuana Talks Applauding Legislature And Snubbing Cuomo (Marijuana Moment)


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// Montana’s legalization plan: Homegrow bans THC caps 20% taxes. Yay? (Leafly)

// Regulators crack down on Michigan credit unions marijuana banking (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Field Trip Closes On $95 Million Supersized Offering (Green Market Report)

// Sundial Reports Full Year and Fourth Quarter 2020 Financial and Operational Results (Cision PR Newswire)

// Green Thumb Industries Reports Solid Quarter Beats Estimates (Green Market Report)

// GrowGen Makes Seventh Acquisition And It’s Only March (Green Market Report)

// New Hampshire’s Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Now Support Letting Patients Grow Their Own (Marijuana Moment)

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Wednesday March 17, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, March 16, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Connecticut House Speaker Says ‘Optimism Abounds’ As Marijuana Legalization Negotiations Proceed (Marijuana Moment)

// Legalizing Marijuana Has Been A ‘Uniformly Positive’ Move In Washington State Governor Says (Marijuana Moment)

// Oregon Governor Appoints Panel To Implement Historic Legal Psilocybin Therapy Measure (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by Agilent, a Fortune 500 company known for providing top-notch testing solutions to cannabis and hemp testing labs worldwide. Are you considering testing your cannabis in-house for potency? Agilent is giving away a FREE 1260 HPLC system for one year! If you are a Cultivator, processor, or cannabis testing lab you may qualify for this giveaway. Open up bitly.com/cannabis-contest to answer a few quick questions to enter to win!


// California awards $15 million more in cannabis social equity grants (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Ann Arbor to put $476K in new marijuana revenue to social equity programs (Michigan Live)

// Majority Of Florida Voters Back Marijuana Legalization And Oppose THC Limits, New Poll Finds (Marijuana Moment)

// Columbia Care Beats On Revenue, Misses On Earnings (Green Market Report)

// Village Farms Cannabis Sales Grow 2% Sequentially to $17.3 Million in Q4 (New Cannabis Ventures)

// It’s completely legal, but still the hemp industry has trouble finding banks – here’s why (Columbus Dispatch)

// State’s first on-site consumption cannabis bar set to open (KFVS 12 CBS)

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Tuesday, November 24, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, November 24, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Canadian Cannabis Sales Increase 108% in September to C$256 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Virginia Will Be A Leader On Marijuana Legalization In The South Governor Says (Marijuana Moment)

// Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr: Boxers will take drug tests but not for Iron Mike’s favourite marijuana (Give Me Sport)


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// Number Of Banks Working With Marijuana Industry Continues To Drop Amid COVID Federal Report Shows (Marijuana Moment)

// Cannabis MSO Jushi plans $50 million expansion in Pennsylvania (Marijuana Business Daily)

// South Dakota’s recreational marijuana law to be challenged in court (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Longtime California cannabis czar Lori Ajax is stepping down (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Canadian Officials Respond To Psychedelics Decriminalization Petition Saying No Legal Changes Needed (Marijuana Moment)

// Report: Canadian cannabis firms received millions in pandemic subsidies (Marijuana Business Daily)


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