Bitcoin offers the cannabis industry an alternative to banks
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Although medical use marijuana is now legal in more than half the states and recreational use is in some others, the drug is still illegal on the federal level. As a result, most major banks shun the marijuana business. BLUE DREAM CARTRIDGE FOR SALE
The cannabis industry, projected to grow to $50 billion from $6 billion by 2026, has long been in need of a financial solution.
Many in the industry are hanging their hopes on cryptocurrencies.
Technology companies like SinglePoint and POSaBIT are working to generate a payment method for dispensaries and consumers using bitcoin. In recent years, some cryptocurrencies have cropped up specifically for cannabis transactions, like PotCoin and HempCoin.
Before bitcoin was dominating headlines with its spectacular runup, there were people using it to buy illegal drugs. But now, ironically, some people in the marijuana industry are hoping bitcoin will bolster its legitimacy.
“That reputation is being turned around,” said Wil Ralston, president of SinglePoint, which is creating an app called “SingleSeed” in which consumers and dispensaries can exchange bitcoins.
Some even say that the cannabis industry can lead other businesses to embrace virtual money.
While the number of banks that will work with medical marijuana companies is growing — estimated to be around 500 today — the majority still don’t. ORDER MARIJUANA WITH BITCOIN QUALITY WEED WITH CRYPTO ALL OVER EUROPE BUY WEED WITH BTC IN FRANCE….
Another complication for most dispensaries is that they can’t access typical merchant services, which companies need to accept credit or debit cards. There is no “cannabis” store identification, as there is with a flower shop or restaurant, and so most dispensaries remain cash only.
In 2014, SinglePoint, a mobile app payment company, placed terminals in medical marijuana dispensaries, in which people could use debit cards to make their purchases.
“They were going great,” Ralston said. “Then overnight the banks shut them all down. There were no guidelines about how banks were supposed to interact with the cannabis industry. They didn’t want to risk it.”
Ralston said the attitude around cannabis at most banks remains: “We don’t want to even bring up that word in our bank.”
And so, he said, “we had to stop, and say, what other solutions are we going to provide?”