Hawaii Aims To Be First State To Go Cashless For Cannabis

All eight of Hawaii’s cannabis dispensaries have agreed to go cashless by October 1st.

Cannabis Business Licenses
Photos: jarmoluk via Pixabay, hmmunoz512 via Pixabay

To avoid cash related crimes such as robbery, Hawaii said on Tuesday that it hopes to be the first medical marijuana state to go cashless.

All eight of Hawaii’s cannabis dispensaries have agreed to go cashless by October 1st. A debit payment app that’s already being used in California and Colorado will be utilized by all patients. Whether patients with cash will be simply told no is yet to be discussed.

Helen Cho is the director of the Aloha Green Dispensary, and she believes that going cashless won’t be a requirement, per se, and they won’t have to turn away those without bank accounts. In the meantime, Hawaii is considering prepaid cards as an alternative.

The app is called CanPay and it’s based out of a Colorado credit union, Safe Harbor Private Banking, that expedites the transactions. The Hawaii dispensaries will set up the accounts with the credit union.

Using the cashless system, people simply use CanPay at the register and the moneys go to Safe Harbor.

Though there’s no question that avoiding having large amounts of cash on hand is a good thing, folks over at D.C.’s Marijuana Policy Project worry about putting all the eggs in one basket. They are concerned about hacks or companies going out of business.

Granted licenses last year, Hawaii has been waiting for its medical marijuana program to kick in since 2000. Now that it’s here, it’s revolutionizing the market already. Maui Grown Therapies was the first dispensary to open on the islands.

It’s tough to find banks that will work with cannabusinesses. Both parties become at risk if the pot operation isn’t dealing above the board. And though Obama era policies were put into place to ease concerns, most banks still think it’s not enough. Visa and Mastercard refuse to play at all.

There is also the question of how the current administration is going to behave. Though Trump said on the campaign trail that he’d leave cannabis alone, Attorney General Jeff Sessions still wants to “crack down” on legal marijuana.

And though it’s extraordinary, going cashless is likely not enough to sway a heart like Sessions’.

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