Medical Marijuana: A Real Hot Potato

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Imagine walking into your office one morning and discovering that your credit card services have been canceled overnight. They were excluded not for non-payment or for being involved in an illegal business, but rather for indeterminate “unacceptable business practices”. This is a reality faced by many medical marijuana dispensary owners who get “creative” with their applications; And if you built your application, it may be a legitimate termination, but it is not always the case.

Left without service

The above story is not uncommon. It recently happened to Alternative Medical Choice, Inc., an Oregon-based consultation service. What is AMC doing that got you in trouble with your Intuit service provider? AMC is a physician consultation company for the approval of medical cannabis use under Oregon law. Although the clinic does not dispense or distribute medical cannabis, it has lost its services.

Intuit claims services were terminated because AMC did not disclose its involvement with medical marijuana. When asked about the cancellation of another 3,000 accounts they have at clinics offering the same services, they stated that they would not cancel those accounts because they did not include medical cannabis on their web pages. AMC offered to remove the reference, but Intuit will not reset the account because “now we know.”

PayPal, the online payment service, has also terminated accounts associated with medical marijuana referrals.

DEA, FDA, IOM and other word searches

Part of the problem that companies face is due to the question of whether marijuana is really medicinal or not. The DEA and the United States government hold the position that smoking marijuana has no medical value. The American Cancer Society, the AMA, and the AAP agree that smoking is not an optimal way to gain benefits, if any. Alternative ingestion methods are being investigated.

Even the large Institute of Medicine study frequently cited by medical marijuana advocates actually opposes the use of smoked marijuana for medical benefits. The study found that there were some “potentially therapeutic” benefits to cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, but that other available drugs offered better results. Lack of standardization, dosing method, and other factors lead the IOM to reject the idea of ​​further studies.

Where do we go next?

Like many other hot potatoes, few people want to handle this one. For those who have opened dispensaries, the challenges involved in obtaining traditional financing, accounts, and services have at times become daunting. For others who remain in business, alternatives are available.

While selling cannabis online is still illegal, the internet is a good place to look for companies willing and even eager to enter the market. By specifically looking for business account providers who are familiar with the risks involved in legal medical marijuana sales, entrepreneurs can find the services they need without being obfuscated.

With 15 states and the District of Columbia already decriminalizing the sale of marijuana products for medicinal purposes, the problem is likely to come to a head soon. Some states, like California, are planning to collect sales tax from dispensaries on all their transactions; Leaving such a cash cow alone when state coffers are bare is unimaginable. The question remains: how will the federal government respond to the move?

Is it about money or perception?

It is easy to imagine the government moving in any direction.

Cannabis remains illegal in most parts of the world and possession is considered a capital offense in many countries. The United States government is unlikely to want world opinion to be affected in this way. On the other hand, the taxes provided by the legalization of an industry that is already flourishing could reach $ 2-6 billion.

Unfortunately for traders, there is no conclusive argument at this point. Obtaining business services will remain difficult and sudden layoffs are likely until all government, state, local and federal agencies are on the same page.

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